Polimicks

Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Sexual Abuse is Not Just a Women’s Issue

Sugar Ray Leonard, one of the greatest boxers of all time, and a sexual assault victim.

In his upcoming book, champion boxer Sugar Ray Leonard talks about his sexual abuse at the hands of a boxing coach.  This, if nothing else, should dispel the myth that men who are sexually abused are weak.  Leonard had a career as a professional fighter.  At the time of his assault, he was training to represent the US in the Olympics, at the peak of his form.  Having not read the book, I do not know the circumstances of the abuse, but I don’t think that really matters.

What matters is that he is speaking out about the abuse, even if he refuses to name names.  At this point, naming names won’t do a lot.  The statute of limitations has surely long expired.  So, even if he did name his attacker, likely all that would happen would be a suit against him for libel or slander, since there most likely would be no charges.

According to RAINN, about 3% of men have been a victim of sexual assault.  Odds are good that only 3% of men would be willing to report being raped.  I’m reasonably sure the rate of actual assaults on men is much higher.

There’s this perception of sexual assault as a crime inflicted on the weak.  A common refrain to victims is “Why didn’t you fight?” or “Why didn’t you fight harder?”  People assume that it will never happen to them because they will A. follow all the the Rules to keep themselves safe (none of which work) or B. will fight back hard “enough.”  I can speak to the fact that when your rapist is someone you know and care for, that fighting back thing is not so easy.  To begin with, you’re often stunned into inaction.  There’s often a sense of disbelief that this person you know and who purportedly cares for you would do this to you.

I don’t know the particulars of Leonard’s assault, but I’m going to guess it had something to do with his relationship with the person who abused him.  Sometimes you don’t even realize what’s going on until you’re in the thick of it.

I’m grateful that Mr. Leonard has opted to speak up.  And I’m hoping that many other men famous for being some sort of masculine ideal will speak up in order to help destigmatize the male victims of sexual assault.  Anyone can be sexually assaulted, regardless of their gender, or how well they follow the “rules.”  Anyone.

ETA:  So, the victim blaming has started.  And from someone who should fucking well know better.  I am disgusted. BigThink.com has more.

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One comment on “Sexual Abuse is Not Just a Women’s Issue

  1. Jenna
    June 14, 2011

    “I can speak to the fact that when your rapist is someone you know and care for, that fighting back thing is not so easy. To begin with, you’re often stunned into inaction. There’s often a sense of disbelief that this person you know and who purportedly cares for you would do this to you.”

    “Sometimes you don’t even realize what’s going on until you’re in the thick of it.”

    I just wrote something for the Seattle SlutWalk that should be up soon where I tried to explain this. It was NOT easy.

    Like

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2011 by in Abuse, Featured Articles, Rape.

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