Male victims of sexual assault are also victims of toxic masculinity, sexism


Though the contestant said he did not feel harassed, Perry has come under fire for her actions.

“American Idol” hasn’t really been relevant in a while, but it has recently stirred up a little bit of controversy in its latest season, and not for anything good. Katy Perry, whose career is so lackluster at this point she feels the need to judge “American Idol,” recently kissed a contestant, 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze, on the lips without his permission.

Immediately after he stated to the judges he wouldn’t feel comfortable kissing someone outside of a relationship. While this is only one of many bad takes by Katy Perry, and while Glaze has since quieted critics and stated he did not feel assaulted, only uncomfortable, the issue still brings up a much needed conversation about male victims of sexual assault and harassment.

The #MeToo movement is still fresh in the public’s mind, but even so, there is a rather distinctive trend that can be noticed within it, primarily that the majority of those speaking out as survivors have been women. This isn’t particularly surprising; after all, women are, on a whole, more likely to be sexually assaulted than their male counterparts.

However, that does not imply that men are incapable of being victims of abuse or harassment, as seen with actor and former American football player, Terry Crews. In October 2017, Crews came forward about being groped by Adam Venit, who heads the motion picture department of the talent company William Morris Endeavor. There was, however, a lot of criticism facing Crews, primarily by general fans and the like, who chose to belittle his experience, one particular Twitter user asking him why he simply didn’t punch the guy.

Not only is this victim blaming, but it illustrates quite readily the way toxic masculinity silences survivors. Crews, as a black man, was expected to respond with violence, rather than legal action, and the fact that it had even happened to him was ridiculed as well.

Even though men can and are sexually assaulted, the dialogue surrounding it is so unhealthy and damaging that male survivors feel they can’t come out and talk about their issues without also sacrificing an aspect of their masculinity in the process. It’s a damning notion that limits justice and the safety of so many people.

However, while it is important that we talk about the issues of male victims of sexual assault, we must be able to do it without also dismissing the female victims in the process. While the #MeToo movement has been a wonderful opportunity for survivors to speak about their experiences, women have been trying to talk about assault for years only to be dismissed or demonized in the process. In other words, misogyny is hurting all survivors not just women, and it’s important that we recognize the role it has in silencing assault victims if we want to be able to help them and find an even ground for justice.

No one deserves to be a victim of sexual assault or harassment, regardless of their gender, and we want to be able to protect victims, be good allies and make an effort to change the conversation. If someone speaks out about their experience, listen to them. Be respectful and considerate, and realize the bravery that it takes to be able to speak about their experiences.