A boy was recently sexually abused by a male prisoner in Borella.
Ceylon Today reported the story in around 200 words.
Recently, papers were full of stories for the Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Women’s Day too gave way for many stories. When we say Gender Based Violence, its assumed to mean violence against women.
However, the story of this boy reminds us that it isn’t only women who are abused and harassed. Males too are abused and the worst part is that, they can’t even tell anyone about this.
I’ve seen young boys looking uncomfortable in buses thanks to the women who sit next to them. I’ve seen men look around helplessly as a woman’s body is pressed onto his. And they can’t protest because, well, aren’t men supposed to enjoy it? Do we not say a woman loves with her heart and a man with his…? And what kind of a sissy would say no to a woman’s body against his even if this woman is sweaty and bulgy? Or worse, even if this man has no interest in women?
Forget actual abuse for a moment. When a man smiles at you, isn’t your first thought, “pervert!” I smile at people and yet, I’m sure no one thinks I want to seduce men. Why? Because I’m a girl. Its only men who abuse or harass. Its only men who always think of sex. Its only men who are violent.
But the ugly truth is that women are no better. We hear of boys who were raped or abused by their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and even teachers. And we choose to let these stories slip through the cracks and be forgotten. We don’t want to talk about this because it’s embarrassing, and it sheds light on the violent or cruel side of women.
The great gods are male. The great devils are male. And women? We are just toys, objects to be used and later, discarded. We are emotional, and weak. We can’t fight against men. We are the victims.
Yet, how true is this?
Don’t men have emotions? Can’t they feel? Can they never cry? Don’t they have any rights?
When Men’s Day came around, many of my male facebook friends joked that it was a day when they could drink and womanize all they want. Recently, when I brought up the issue of men’s rights, a male friend said, “We just don’t care.”
This obviously means that even the mentality of men has to change. While women believe they are the victims, men believe they are always the culprits or criminals. They don’t want to accept that men can be harassed, that they aren’t as strong or brave as years of tales of knights and kings have made them seem like.
Men can be weak and vulnerable. They can be victims. And not only to women. Like the story of the little boy, we are hearing more and more about men who rape men. About men who are abused by other men. What do you do when your father, brother, best friend or teacher tries to touch you? Whom do you go to? What do you say? What can you say?
Listen to their stories. Don’t shame them or humiliate them. Give them a chance to speak too. And most of all, remember that while women’s rights are violated every day, so are the rights of men. And remember that the gravity of a crime should not increase because of the victim’s sex or decrease because of the criminal’s sex.