James Landrith emailed me a cached version of Hugo Schwyzer’s recent post. Schwyzer removed the original shortly after posting it. I still marvel at why anyone would allow the man access to the internet in his present state. I suppose no one can keep from going online unless he is locked up. However, one would think that those around him would monitor him as much as possible given how badly he embarrassed himself the last time he went online.
As for the article, Schwyzer states in it that he was raped by an older sailor when he was 19-years-old. Here is the article in full:
(Trigger warning for sexual violence)
The breakthrough came in therapy this week. I had been raped. It happened in 1986, a generation ago, when I was an attention-starved 19 year-old. My rapist was an older Navy sailor, a massive man. I changed several details of our story for a piece that ran in Best Sex Writing 2012. I made it sound consensual, I made it sound hot, It was neither of those things.
The vulnerability of men and boys to rape is real and undersold. Despite what a handful of men’s rights advocates insist, the greatest threat isn’t predatory older women. It’s older men. We know the truth about the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts, but what about other institutions in the US and Israel? Are we doing enough to protect our sons as well as our daughters?
Technically, I was a legal adult when I was raped by a man twice my age. Had I been a 19 year-old girl assaulted by a sailor in his 40s, there might have been more sympathy. I won’t know, as I only broke down in group therapy this week and told the story about Mike from the USS Mt Vernon and what he did to my body and soul. Given my current state of public disrepute, this might seem a bid for attention. It’s not.
I’ve spent my whole life worrying about men as predators and dismissing the idea of men as victims. I haven’t wanted to see my own victimization as plausible, and I haven’t wanted to remember the details of what got done to me on May 24, 1986, in a seedy little Monterey motel.
Mike scared me, he beat me, he throat-fucked me and told me he’d kill me if I beat him. He hurt me badly. Some of my rage and fear at men has been with me ever since, and it has shown in my politics and my refusal to acknowledge that boys and men can be comparably harmed.
Too little, too late.
I am not sure what to make of this. Like James, I have no reason to dismiss Schwyzer’s claims. This would in part explain Schwyzer’s attitudes towards men and males survivors. Abused males might remind him of his own victimization, and lashing out at those men would be a way of denying what happened to him.
We see this kind of projection with many anti-gay proponents. They bash gay people, particularly gay men, and then we later find out that this person, who is inevitably male, is also gay.
However, Schwyzer is an admitted manipulator. It is therefore possible that he is using this experience to gain attention, which he denies. It is also unfortunately possible, given his admission to dishonesty, that he may be lying to gain sympathy. I think it is more probable that this is a ploy to get men’s rights activists to attack him in order to prove they do not care about male survivors.
On the off chance that any of them fall for that ploy, let me explain why their response would be fair: Schwyzer used every opportunity he had to attack, mock, marginalize, deny, and excuse sexual violence against men and boys. Every time someone mentioned male victimization he railed against them. He treated sexual violence against males as a non-issue made up by men’s rights activists to silence women. He did this in every space he wrote for, from Jezebel to The Good Men Project.
When I wrote about women’s violence against boys, Schwyzer tweeted, “Most dishonest thing I’ve see at @goodmenproject: ‘Women Rape Boys Too’ … Conflates rape stats with other abuse stats.”
This is the same man who accused an 11-year-old boy of raping his adult nanny because the boy came from a wealthy family and therefore had power over the nanny. Or as Schwyzer put it:
There is one thing that we do need to point out, and that is that even pre-pubescent boys can be sexual aggressors. Their targets are usually those who are, for reasons of age or status, vulnerable. An eleven year-old boy who is sexually assaulted by his thirty year-old female teacher is in a very different position than an eleven year-old boy who initiates sex with his thirty year-old nanny. Age compromises the capacity to consent, as we all know. But we must also acknowledge that class, status, and fear compromise consent as well.
Schwyzer does not get to play this game. Whether he is telling the truth about his experiences or not, he has done far more harm to male survivors than he realizes. There are men and boys who read his site, read his articles, and listened to him speak who heard only that what happened to them rarely happens, is not that bad when it happens, and does not really count.
You cannot treat people like that. You cannot play mind games with abuse survivors. You cannot do that to suffering people, and then share your story as if that will make it all better.
It does not.
If men’s rights activists, or anyone else, decide to question Schwyzer’s veracity, he has only himself to blame. He put himself in this position by lying so often and by attacking the very group he now says he is a part of.
As for his claim that “despite what a handful of men’s rights advocates insist, the greatest threat isn’t predatory older women. It’s older men,” that is statistically untrue. As the CDC report shows, women commit the majority of sexual violence against males, most of which was committed against boys. This is not to say that there are not predatory men who prey on young men and boys. Of course there are.
Nevertheless, the greatest threat is not from the expected but the unexpected. No one looks at women as potential predators. Even when women commit sexual assault, many people, like Schwyzer, still view the women as the victims. Should male survivors come forward, they face ridicule, shame, a questioning of their sexual orientation, or back-slapping. Few people, including the authorities, view them as victims of sexual violence.
That puts female offenders in an excellent position because no one is looking for them, and should they be caught, chances are they will walk rather than face prison time.
James responded to Schwyzer’s article as well. He ends his piece with:
“Too little, too late.”
He got that right. To ever earn my trust or respect, it truly is “too little, too late.” However, it is never to late to begin to heal from any trauma. Time for Schwyzer to shut his mouth, take the lumps he has earned – and he has earned them all in truckloads – and focus on his mental health. Multiple groups of human beings have their own right to be angry with the likes of Hugo Schwyzer and some of his inner circle of supporters.
Time for Schwyzer to listen and learn. He has done far too much talking already.
I will add that whoever is around Schwyzer needs to keep this man away the internet. If you have to cancel the service, do it. This man is unstable, and he has absolutely no business being online.