Asia Argento, victim blaming, and #metoo

The plot thickens with the Asia Argento situation. As I mentioned in my last post, former child actor James Bennett accused Argento of raping him just two months after he turned 17. Argento and Bennett now 22, settled out of court. The settlement occurred while Argento made news when she accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape.

Argento initially denied the allegations against her. However, within a few hours the media reported that Argento claimed her late husband Anthony Bourdain pushed her to settle the case with the alleged victim.

How unfortunate that Baourdain is no longer here to respond to such a claim. Granted, it is possible that he made such a suggestion and it is common for celebrities to pay out settlements rather than risk unwanted criminal cases and negative press. It does seem unlikely, however, that Bourdain would make such a suggestion if Argento could prove she did nothing wrong.

If it only ended there, Argento would merely look scuzzy for tarnishing the reputation of her late husband. TMZ, however, published texts allegedly from Argento about the incident. According to the texts, Argento is the victim: Continue reading

Boys are victims, except when girls have it worse

One of the interesting changes in discussing male victimization is the increasingly common feminist advocate for male victims. It is a curious thing to watch as these women suddenly become aware of the sexual violence men and boys experience. This awareness is indeed sudden, because despite the data showing a high rate of male victimization for years, these women, usually feminists, have just stumbled upon it.

What follows is typically an article or blog post detailing how the particular person now realizes how “serious” the situation is for men and boys. Those are not scare-quotes, by the way. As one will see below, usually the person does not actually think the situation is genuinely serious, nor do they have any real compassion or concern for male victims. The men and boys to whom they speak are merely tools to present the person’s narrative, which is either an attack on masculinity or a blatant attempt to control the conversation about male victimization.

Perhaps the most perplexing element is that in order to do this, the person usually recounts a man or boy’s actual experience, one which undermines to the dismissive argument to person with then proceed to make. For example, author Peggy Orenstein decided to interview a number young men for an article on The Cut. The article is part of the “How to Raise a Boy” series, which is bizarre on many levels considering the topic is sexually abuse against boys.

Orenstein interviewed a young man named Dylan who was raped by a woman will he was drunk. Orenstein used that account to go into a broader discussion about her conversations with boys over the years: Continue reading

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Boys — the silent victims of sex trafficking — The silence nearly killed Tom Jones. As a child, Jones was raped, abused and sold to men for sex. The brutality ended when he was 15. But, like many male victims, Jones didn’t seek help, didn’t tell anyone about the trauma he had suffered. Instead, he buried his pain and shame deep inside, carrying the burden alone and in silence for another 15 years. Silence did not equal acceptance.

Caldey Abbey: first male victim comes forward to describe sexual abuse — A man has come forward to describe how he was groomed and sexually abused as a child by a Benedictine monk on Caldey Island, intensifying calls for an inquiry into what happened at the abbey in south-west Wales. The victim, who has told police of the abuse he was subject to during summer holiday trips to Caldey Island, is the first man to allege he was sexually assaulted by Father Thaddeus Kotik.

South Carolina Church To Pay $300,000 And Apologize In Child Sex Abuse Case — A Baptist church in South Carolina settled a child sexual abuse lawsuit, agreeing to issue an apology, admit liability, and to pay $300,000 to the plaintiff. Bryan Barnes, spokesman for First Baptist Church of Columbia, S.C., said that church leadership issued the apology and explained the terms of the settlement before the congregation on Sunday, according to the Baptist Press. Continue reading

When #MeToo Means #WeBlameYou

Several weeks ago I wrote about the #MeToo campaign occurring on Twitter. This started in response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations and quickly spiraled into women sharing stories of sexual harassment and violence. That shifted to blaming all men for the acts of a few bad actors.

Another element to the #MeToo campaign was ignoring, dismissing, and sometimes attacking male victims who used the hashtag. Some of the negativity was direct, however, most of it came via the notion that men as a group needed to apologize to women and change their collective behavior.

This is a recurring theme with any conversation about sexual violence. The topic inevitably ignores male victims and treats all men as complicit in and responsible for the actions of the small number of men. Of course, there are those who do want to talk about male victims and include them. For example, Christine Wekerle, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, McMaster University in Canada wrote an article stating that “we must listen to male sexual abuse victims #too.

She states in her article: Continue reading

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Addressing the Lack of Research on Male Childhood Sexual Abuse — On Thursday July 20, fans across the world mourned the loss of Chester Bennington, the lead vocalist for the world-renowned band, Linkin Park. Bennington’s suicide by hanging at the age of 41 stunned fans, but it also brought to light a rarely discussed topic: male childhood sexual abuse. One in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 16—yet the issue remains underreported, undertreated, and highly stigmatized.

Court: Juvenile sex crimes can be basis of civil commitment — Civil commitment of offenders who have been designated as sexually violent predators can be indefinitely extended for those whose crimes occurred when they were juveniles, the Washington Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.

Fear of being called racist ‘stopping people from raising child abuse concerns’ — Potential cases of child abuse are not being raised because people fear being labelled racist, a Labour frontbencher has argued. There is a need to acknowledge that the “majority of perpetrators have been British-Pakistani” in the towns and cities where grooming gangs have targeted girls, Sarah Champion has said. Continue reading

Woman who raped student sues him for “defamation”

It is rare that any case of women sexually abusing boys leaves me at a loss for words. I have read about the most ridiculous situations, from women claiming the boys raped them to women suing their victims for child support. However, the most recent case left me stunned.

A woman convicted of sexually abusing one of her 16-year-old students filed a lawsuit against the boy for “defamation”:

The former Arroyo Grande High School teacher convicted earlier this year of having sex with a 16-year-old student has responded to a lawsuit from that student’s family by filing a counterclaim, alleging the victim has defamed her “to various classmates, family and other members of the community.”

I will quote it again just in case the multiple face palms prevented you from reading it in full: Continue reading