Singer Chris Brown performing in September. | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel
Silence about sexual abuse hurts us all, but our voices can help put an end to our country’s culture of violence and rape. If you or someone you love is a male victim of sexual abuse, visit MaleSurvivor at http://www.malesurvivor.org/ for resources, information and support groups in your area.
Updated: November 25, 2013 6:45AM
When many think of Chris Brown, it’s not his music that comes to mind first. Instead, it’s his criminal behavior in 2009 in which he was arrested for viciously beating up his then-girlfriend Rihanna.
Since that time, Brown has continued to make headlines beyond music, both for his on-again, off-again relationship with Rihanna and confrontations with others.
In a recent interview with British newspaper The Guardian, Brown again made headlines, this time while discussing his first sexual encounter. He bragged that he lost his virginity to a 15-year-old girl when he was 8, and then went on to say, “It’s different in the country. By that point, we were already kind of like hot to trot, you know what I’m saying? Like, girls, we weren’t afraid to talk to them; I wasn’t afraid.”
Most people were shocked by Brown’s admission, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Reactions ranged from amusement to bemusement, but there was little outrage for Brown or sympathy for this much-maligned entertainer.
But why not? A person doesn’t lose their virginity at 8 because one cannot consent to sex at such a young age. Instead, Brown was raped. Imagine how we would feel if a star like Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez boasted about losing their virginity at 8 to a male seven years older. We would be outraged and horrified, and rightfully so. An 8-year-old does not have the physical, emotional, or mental ability to consent to any type of sexual activity, and anyone who crosses that line with them is committing sexual assault.
Of course, some might argue, if Brown was abused, why is he boasting? Personally, I find that easy to understand. It is incredibly difficult to discuss sexual abuse, but for men in particular, it is nearly impossible. This is especially true when it comes to someone who has built his career on a tough-guy, ladies’ man persona as Brown has done. How can someone with such a reputation come to terms with sexual abuse? How can any man grapple with sexual abuse when our society continually ignores the fact that women are not the only ones who suffer from sexual violence?
We need to end the silence and shame around sexual abuse, and we must find ways to reach out to male victims. Men often are forced to deal with their sexual trauma all on their own, and oftentimes their fear turns into rage, drug/alcohol abuse, depression and even suicide.
Perhaps if we lived in world where sexual abuse victims did not have to be ashamed, then men like Chris Brown would have better ways to channel their hurt than with their fists.