Guest post By: Kevin Mofokeng (Botswana)
Like every other victim of sexual abuse, the boy child does not seek to be sexually abused or exploited. They also are vulnerable and can be manipulated into experiences they do not like or might not even understand. They can also be betrayed by someone who selfishly exploits the boy’s need for attention and affection to use him sexually.
Many boys suffer harm because adults who could believe and help them are reluctant, make fun of, shame them or refuse to acknowledge what happened to them as abuse and the harm it caused by expecting them to toughen up and act like real men. Sexual abuse harms boys as equally as it does the girl child. Boys are not adults, they are children and deserve the same treatment we give a girl child when sexually abused.
I read a story in a local newspaper about a 39-year-old woman who molested and repeatedly sexually abused a 14-year-old boy. My body crunched, I got angry, mad and sad. But what got my head spinning and in real shock even more were the insensitive, inhumane remarks made by people who thought and strongly made it as if just because it’s a boy therefore it is something to make fun of. Some people even said the boy was “lucky” to have been offered sex with some saying he must be gifted to have the stamina to have sex with a 39-year-old on several occasions.
What has really become of us as a society, as parents, aunts and uncles? If only, before we started making fun of the child, we would have thought of the trauma he could have been going through during the abuse? If only, we could have thought about how the words we utter impact on him? To be used as a sexual object by a more powerful person, male or female, is never something to laugh about or simply brush off. It can even at the worst, cause lasting harm, more especially if it can be something that a community cannot find anything wrong with, or find it as something that it can amuse itself with.
Boys, are also weaker and more vulnerable than those who sexually abuse them. The abusers use same tactics they use to abuse girls. They use their strength and knowledge to manipulate and coerce boys into unwanted sexual encounters by gradually enticing them with attention, affection and gifts. Boy sexual abusers also use their position of authority over the child. It could be neighbours, cousins, fathers, mothers, teachers and every other person who has a position of power over the child. They take advantage of the trust the child has in them and use that to bribe the child into sex and then top it off with threats to silence them. It can even get to a point where the boy who is manipulated by this attention and gifts feels like he wants a sexual experience with the adult in exchange and appreciation for the affection.
We have no right whatsoever to judge the child and worse even trash him for what has happened to him. Yes, we are aware what can occur to them biologically, but it shouldn’t be used as a justification to say the boy liked it and therefore means he wanted it just because he orgasmic. It is this belief that the boy will feel guilty and shame just because during the abuse he got physically aroused. And these abusers use this to silence them and it is a pity that as a society we reiterate that.
Even after such incidents happen, boys are told that when it comes to sexual abuse, males can never be victims, they don’t get depressed, they don’t seek help and don’t need therapy as they are thought to be tough. All these attitudes are reinforced by the society we live in. But attitudes can be changed. If we change our view points on male children and give them the adequate and same love, care and protection we give to female children, we can bluntly understand that they ae very much vulnerable (boys) as girls are. All those effects that girls experience, boys do as well, but for them there can be much harsher as they are used for anal intercourse. Nevertheless, the effects are the same, just a slight difference.
Our lack of support and need to protect boy children does not in any way help the child but instead increases the harm done to them, And that, of course, makes it harder to seek needed help in the midst of the abuse, or even years later when help is still needed. Some of them might even decide to continue doing it. Accusing the boy child of “wanting it” just because they didn’t speak is irresponsible, shameful and totally despicable. Alas, how we handle boy victims of abuse could possibly be the reason why so many boys do not speak. Our words could have stopped another boy child somewhere, who was just about to speak but will not in fear of the humiliation that we put them through. Every boy child in society deserves protection. They are not men, they are children! Shame on each one of us who think boy children should toughen up and act like men when they’re abused and those who think boy child abuse is something to laugh about.
Some caring nation we are. As for the deeply possessed and sadistic individuals who, for various reasons best known to their dirty and filthy minds which are controlled by their sex-hungry genitals, have and act on a desire to sexually use and abuse children – may you rot in hell!