Chris Brown and A Nation of Raped Boys

chris brown rape

Yesterday I read an article in which Chris Brown discussed the age at which he lost his virginity. He was 8, he says, and the girl was 14 or 15. He mentions that in “the country” he and his cousins watched a lot of porn, so by age 8 he was “hot to trot.” Maybe so. Children can have sexual feelings at 8, but whether they can consent to sex at age 8 is an entirely different subject. Sex at age 8 is rape, especially given the fact that the girl involved was significantly older, a teenager. Chris Brown was raped, but to hear him tell it, that experience was positive, healthy. Something to brag about. “At eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it.”

And the worst part? This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from a man.

I’ve personally dated two men who described these early sexual experiences, and have heard these stories from friends as well. In terms of my former boyfriends, one was seven when he lost his virginity, the other nine. Both saw this as a notch in their tiny, child-like belts. The girls in their experiences were teenagers also, so the men seemed to think that this was a testament to their own irresistibility: at eight years old, their sex appeal was so overwhelming, so potent, that teenage girls were compelled to have sex with them. The idea that this was rape—and it was—never crossed their minds. Why? Because the same poisonous system that tells women they are rape-able tells men that they are not.

We know some of the behavioral signals that occur when girls have been raped. Depression, promiscuity, unexplained anger, anxiety. These are words we use when we describe the ways victims behave. It’s interesting that I have seen these same symptoms in young boys—alongside me in class when I was a child, in boyfriends as I got older, in men beside me on the bus in Chicago—yet no one looks at male anger and male promiscuity as symptoms of anything. These are just classic male behaviors. “Boys will be boys,” and boys sleep around. Boys have bad tempers. Right?

Wrong.

What if we have been normalizing male rape victims’ symptoms for centuries? This is not to say that every man has been the victim of sexual abuse, but I know more than a few who have been, and their cries for help—the ones that get such attention when our “ladylike” daughters act out sexually and/or aggressively—went unnoticed, chalked up to a male standard of behavior that not only turns a blind eye to promiscuity but rewards it. Can you imagine? Can you imagine being sexually abused and then growing up being told that this is a good thing? That your sexual potency has been enhanced? That rape was a “head-start” into the wonderful world of sex? The damaging system that tells girls they are worthless after rape has a disgusting flip side for boys: you have worth now. This violence has made you a god.

And we wonder why our boys grow up sex-obsessed, equating violence with pleasure (“be a beast at it”), and imagining that rape is only something that happens to women. We wonder why they grow up hating women; women who might look like their abuser, or women who were raped and actually had their violence addressed by a society that believes men are immune from that kind of crime, a crime that when committed against a male goes woefully under-reported.

Boys will be boys. And boys can be hurt. We must stop viewing patriarchy as a weapon that wounds only women. To do so silences generations of victims…and often creates more.

Update 10/08/2013: I just came across this post by Colorlines on this same subject and I encourage you to read it as well.

Update 10/09/2013: I’ve been told numerous times that I am misinterpreting the phrase “be a beast at it.” I am aware of this and it was done deliberately, as I believe it’s important to acknowledge and understand the role of semantics in patriarchy and rape culture.

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355 thoughts on “Chris Brown and A Nation of Raped Boys

  1. […] During the beginning of this project, I wanted to select a photo I would work with in order to create the magazine article. I chose an image that would immediately draw the audiences attention. I used Adobe Photoshop to modify the image so that it would place well with other elements that I’ve added to the document such as text, shapes and borders. I believe the article I’m creating has more of a complementary and juxtapositional relationship because each of the verbal and visual modes interact with one another on the same message. I have used stock photos to find my image. The resolution for each picture was already changed from the actual owner but because I changed the image size I had to fix it’s resolution and sharpen the image a bit. The fact that this is a fabricated magazine article, I knew that the image would be fine for educational purposes. Here’s where I found the image https://oliviaacole.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/chris-brown-and-a-nation-of-raped-boys/ […]

  2. […]   Read the full article here: Chris Brown and A Nation of Raped Boys. […]

  3. […] Olivia A. Cole’s blog post titled Chris Brown and a Nation of Raped Boys, she grapples with the celebrities’ experience of sexual violence and her relationship with men […]

  4. […] these lines get more delicate, like in the definition of rape.  A Freshly Pressed argued that men who have sexual encounters at stunningly young ages (8 years old, for Chris Brown) […]

  5. Dhruv Pathak says:

    Reblogged this on For the coming war and commented:
    Great read, peep it y’all!

  6. Reblogged this on HipHop President and commented:
    “this news should become a jumping-off point to talk about the performed misogyny of Brown and Lil’ Wayne, who has also discussed his sexual activity at a young age”

  7. bbarnavi says:

    I believe this mentality hearkens back to Greco-Roman times, where dominance was not attributed to age/agency/ability (such as the case with an older woman with a young boy), but to the phallic penetrator. Under this mentality, by gaining access to the body of an older woman (or even a man for that matter), the boy becomes a victor rather than a victim, even though the receptive partner knows a lot better and is simply using the boy’s hormonal curiosities and/or impulses to their advantage. Yes, this is Patriarchy 101 at work, and it is very sick.

  8. […] Chris Brown and A Nation of Raped Boys. A great read it’s amazing how sex plays so much of a role in our daily lives and it is glorified in such a way that it seems more now than ever its applauded when you have sex. Yet at the same time women are shamed when they participate in sex before marriage or sex with multiple partners and on the other hand men are looked at with admiration for being able to have sex with multiple women. Sex was always something that  I never knew much about until later in life and I view it as something that has to be included in gender equality. Just because I have more or less than you doesn’t make be any better or worse than you. I feel like once we take some of the power away from sex and just realize it’s purpose for pleasure as well as procreation some of the stigmas and issues related to it may dissipate. […]

    • My attack or rape, could be described as a “rape the gay away” mentality at very least. People need to be aware that this is very real. There are thousands of boys and men who have been sexually violated. It is a topic that remains silent. It is not easy to talk about. But, my intention has been to share my “story” with the hope that others will find the courage to speak out too. Always, Dwight

  9. SesapZai says:

    Reblogged this on SesapZai – Mom. Artist. Academic. And a little bit of everything else. and commented:
    Exceptionally brilliant write-up on a topic that is never discussed. If, ever. I realize this article was written two years ago, but it’s just as relevant. I especially loved this line from the piece, and I quote below:

    “Boys will be boys. And boys can be hurt. We must stop viewing patriarchy as a weapon that wounds only women. To do so silences generations of victims…and often creates more.”

    So much YES to the above quote! I couldn’t have said this any better. We need to stop associating only female oppression with patriarchy, as it can be just as oppressive to men too. The only way we can ever get rid of patriarchy is when men not only stopped oppressing women, but their fellow men as well. The same goes for women. Women who oppress other women fuels patriarchy. That needs to stop. There needs to be solidarity between both genders; it is only then that patriarchy can be successfully defeated.

    Anyway, this article deserved a re-blog; so read, comment, and share as wide as you can. :)

  10. […] are, in part, the result of the repeated mongrelization of Black men under the brutal organism of heteronormative patriarchy — the byproduct of and reinforcement to white supremacy. But still, there’s […]

  11. ellaflo says:

    This is such an important topic. There are so many Chris Browns out there who have no idea why they’re broken. Men who are rageaholics, misogynists and womanizers. We call them lowdown or dogs or tryflin instead of trying to understand the root of the problem. Sexuality has no place in childhood, period. Parenting has gone by the wayside and there is an entire lost generation with more to follow.

  12. Reblogged this on A Feminist ReadMe and commented:
    A fantastic segue into the conversation about overall VAW and what we do in our culture to perpetuate it. Boys who are abused (or who witness their mothers being abused) are more likely to abuse their future female partners as adults. I do think the article has some limitations though – it makes the connection between boyhood rape and misogyny; I think misogyny is much more complicated than that. Additionally, it implies that girls’ cries for help after a sexual assault are heard. While they’re more “heard” than those from boys, there are 5 Princeton Moms for every victim advocate.

  13. mstambu says:

    Reblogged this on Brazen Anomaly and commented:
    “Boys will be boys. And boys can be hurt. We must stop viewing patriarchy as a weapon that wounds only women. To do so silences generations of victims…and often creates more”…

  14. Have you heard Lecrae’s “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly?” He also discusses being raped as a boy, by a woman.

    Here’s an interview:
    http://www.vibe.com/2014/10/lecrae-opens-about-being-molested-child/

  15. Reblogged this on Dr. Taylor Burrowes – Cayman Islands and commented:
    Let’s get to talking about it!

  16. Curu Visions says:

    good point but this writer ignores the fact that it’s only when boys are raped by women that it’s celebrated not when they are raped by man. the latter is viewed as the worst kind of tragedy, and why? because then the boy has been used like a woman and what could be worse than that? it’s the idea that a woman’s body is powerless that allows for her to be a rapist with impunity. the sense that a male must always be ready for sexual action no matter how young is tied into our culture’s homophobia and sexism. that a male is able to respond sexually and partake in the sexual act with a woman or near woman is merely seen as early signs of virility and proof that such a boy will not be homosexual, but if it occurs that a boy is penetrated by a man or an older boy well then he’s been damaged forever. Whatever anxiety a boy raped by a female may experience due to that crime, he better keep to himself, because if he is unhappy due to the rape well he may just be gay, and even today most parents would rather not consider that?

  17. […] awake, casually scanning through my Twitter feed and I come across an article by blogger Olivia Cole which I begin to […]

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