Boys Raping Boys….The New Epidemic

I have been extremely disturbed by the recent number of reports of young men being raped by other young men. For months, I have been trying to come to terms with why boy on boy rape is more the norm than the exception. Do these young men not understand that their actions are indeed the definition of RAPE? Why are these young men so inclined to torture and injure another human being with little to no remorse when the victim screams out in excruciating pain and agony? Why are our young men so eager to commit attempted murder on the masculinity of another male? Why is there such an insatiable need to control or dominate another young man to the extent that you would traumatize him in the most brutal ways while others stand around and watch? And, how can so many others be so cowardly that they can hear the screams of the victim, see the agony that he is in, and yet they turn and walk away or stand there and secretly give thanks that they’re not the one being victimized? As we tackle the answers to these questions, I can tell you unequivocally that IT’S OUR FAULT and until we take responsibility, this behavior will continue!

A recent article published on www.timefreepress.com about the rape of an Ooltewah High School basketball player really angered me, but more than that, it disturbed my soul. According to the report, a 15 year old boy was sodomized with a pool cue during a team trip for a basketball tournament. The boy had to undergo surgery to repair his bladder and colon. The incident occurred in a cabin that was rented by the team after several of the players had already complained to the coaching staff about being bullied by older teammates. One mother reports that her son told her he “will never forget his teammate’s piercing scream and opening the door to the sight of him lying on the floor bleeding”.

Another article published on www.dailycaller.com suggested that anal hazing among high school boys is officially an epidemic! The article recounts several recent incidents of anal hazing that included the rape of a La Puente High School soccer player with a javelin and a broken flag pole; the use of rebar and a broom handle to sodomize students in Fontana, CA where a teacher was actually present, the rape of a Nodaway Valley wrestling student in Iowa with jump rope handles, and the repeated rape of a Bronx, NY track team member by three of his teammates. Additionally, we also learned of the rape of several Maine West High School soccer players in a Chicago suburb; the rape of multiple JV soccer players at Somerville High School in Boston, and the rape of football and basketball team members at Plano High in Chicago.

If all of these accounts aren’t enough to bring tears to your eyes, the article also recounted another incident that occurred in 2012 at a wrestling meet involving the 13 year old son of a Norwood, CO principal. The boy was bound with duct tape and anally penetrated with a pencil by two other teammates who were the sons of the wrestling coach! The boys were given a one day IN SCHOOL suspension and when the principal confronted the coach about the incident, it is reported that the coach blew it off as something that occurs daily amongst US students. The citizens of this small town in Colorado reportedly sided with the attackers as well and chalked it up to boys being boys as they recounted their own childhood memories of assault and spoke in amazement that the behavior is now being prosecuted as a crime.

So, is this just child’s play or boys being boys and going “a little too far?” Absolutely not! This is the rape of young men at the hands of other young men. This is what rape culture and years of slavery have produced, and before you shut down at the site of the word SLAVERY, please take a minute to open your mind to the possibility that history has shaped us in ways we never imagined. The term Buck Breaking was when male slaves were brutally raped in front of their wives, children, and other slaves by White slave masters and overseers in attempt to completely emasculate them and control them. This savagery also served notice to the onlookers that they would undoubtedly share the same fate if they tried to rebel or disobeyed the master in any way. Albeit a rather hard pill to swallow, these acts of violence, control, and savagery have been passed down in the DNA and nurtured by relabeling behaviors instead of calling them out for what they are.

A child learns right from wrong by what is modeled in front of them. Therefore, when boundaries aren’t properly taught, they never learn self-control and impulse control. When they are exposed to acts of violence and aggression, they learn that aggression is power. When they are bombarded with images of misogyny and sexual violence through social media, video games, music, and other forms of entertainment, they not only become desensitized to the reality of the brutality they are consuming, but they somehow buy-in to the belief that it is normal or in some small way acceptable. What other explanation can there be for a 15, 16, 17 year old to rape another child because they were “late to practice” or “needed to know who was in charge”?

The other aspect of this directly ties into why kids are paralyzed with fear or casually overlook the brutality against other kids when it’s occurring. As previously mentioned, Buck Breaking was also about warning others not to step out of line, so when a young man is watching his classmate being anally sodomized by another classmate, I imagine the need for self-preservation kicks in with a vengeance. But, this is where we must demand more of our kids and challenge them to be leaders and not followers. In every incident that was previously mentioned, there were countless other teammates that either watched or knew what was going on….that is completely unacceptable. We have to teach personal sacrifice and risk as a virtue worth achieving in an effort to change the status quo.

Ok….so why is it our fault? When I say it is our fault, I am referring to the adult population as a whole. Rape Culture is often defined as the normalization of sexual violence against women. It includes trivializing sexual assault, victim blaming, scrutinizing what women wear as if to say they are asking to be assaulted, excusing sexual harassment, and giving passes to inappropriate and even criminal behavior using excuses like boys will be boys. I personally believe the definition should be broadened to include sexual violence against men as well. Moreover, as a society, our indoctrination into rape culture causes us to routinely excuse sexual abuse, assault, and violence, which has resulted in the lack of prosecution and punishment for these types of crime and is clearly a primary contributor for why the problem persists.

So, while history and DNA are definitely contributors to the problem, it is our current response, or lack thereof, to the problem that gives these young men license to continue with this type of behavior. In some cases, the boys are getting a slap on the wrist, while in other cases they are being prosecuted, but not necessarily to the full extent of the law. And even with prosecution, you still have adult supporters who are pleading their cause by trivializing their actions. We are also placing the reputation of athletic programs over the safety and well-being of our children. Sadly, the victim is routinely asked to quietly carry the shame of what was done to them so the program isn’t shut down and a fellow teammate doesn’t lose the opportunity to further their athletic career.

Society also tends to defend the rapist and places the undue burden of proving the assault on the victim. Even when DNA evidence is present, the victim is almost always questioned about how they ended up in the situation that led to their assault, and hit with a barrage of accusations about how they were in some way responsible for it. Without DNA evidence or significant injury being present following an assault, the victim is rarely believed and if the accusation is taken seriously, his/her entire life and sexual history is dragged through the muck and mire in an effort to discredit the accusation. So once again, we are sending a dangerous message to our young men that there is no real penalty for committing sexual assault.

As a society, we are also guilty of not really educating our kids about what sexual assault is; what consent is, and the importance of respecting boundaries. In a recent survey conducted on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, the administration learned there was a higher percentage of the student body that had been sexually assaulted than they were aware of. After speaking with students about the survey’s findings, one of the school’s administrators concluded that increased sexual assault rates on college campuses could be directly attributed to a lack of education and understanding about what sexual assault is. In addition, many students also needed a better understanding of the concept of consent. To their credit however, the school is now engaged in creating a comprehensive educational campaign that provides a definitive understanding of sexual assault; consent and prevention.

We have to understand the complexities and the many layers that are involved in identifying and explaining this new epidemic among adolescent males. The trauma that sexual assault causes is life-long and we must start to take the problem seriously. There are far too many dysfunctional men, and women for that matter, in our society who are trying to hold it together every day because of an act of sexual violence that they experienced during childhood and adolescence at the hands of another child. And if I’m to remain true to the cause and sound the alarm as loudly as it needs to be, I must admit that there were many other instances of child on child sexual violence involving children under the age of 10 that I didn’t reference because I know it is a heavy subject and I didn’t want to overwhelm you.

Stop making excuses for sexual assault by relabeling it as boys being boys….IT’S RAPE. And in order to fully address the problem, some parents need to come to terms with the fact that their children are indeed rapists! Otherwise, you become complicit in allowing a sexual predator to run free into adulthood where the desire to rape will become an insatiable addiction that will cause undue pain in the lives of their victims.

 

Sidenote….some will attribute this behavior to issues of homosexuality, and for some of these boys, there may be some repressed desires that the child may not know how to deal with. However, this is not the case in most instances so please do not be so quick to say “my son isn’t gay so he would never do this.” It’s not about sexual preference…..it is about violence, domination, and power.

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