When A Boy Is Raped

There’s a shocking story in the national headlines involving rape and the NFL. But it’s not what most people presume when reading “rape” and “NFL” in the same sentence. This time it involves a 47-year-old, former NFL cheerleader and her sexual acts with a 15-year-old boy (Google for details). While we will let the judicial system determine guilt or innocence, we don’t have to wait on the court of public opinion. And that is just as shocking and sickening as the allegations themselves.

Overwhelmingly, from the articles in The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun to TMZ and People, comments include mind-numbing musings like:

  • “Where was she when I was 15?”
  • “luckiest kid in america [sic] —sex with this wild thing!!”
  • “No 15 year old boy has ever been raped by a woman. He got lucky. Real lucky. He’ll have fond memories the rest of his life.”

Those are just three examples of the type of (disgusting) comments that are prevalent in the stories. Some commentators state that the only reason a 15-year-old boy would come forward after being the “lucky” recipient of the lust of a “MILF” is that his own mother must be jealous. Clearly, the big, mean mom forced him to go to the police because every 15-year-old boy should appreciate what transpired. Some comments are far worse.

Let’s do a little exercise in word substitution. Let’s rewrite the headlines to include a 47-year-old priest and a 15-year-old boy. When these stories are in the news, do people post: “Where was this priest when I was 15?” Or, let’s make it about a 47-year-old-former linebacker and a 15-year-old girl. Still the luckiest kid in America?

No, in these situations, there is a massive public outcry against the alleged attacker and support groups are formed for the alleged victim. But not here, as we see suggestions that there is something wrong with the boy. Would we ever do the same to a young girl? Would anyone dare say that a young girl would be “lucky” to have a 47-year-old man perform a sexual act on her?

Discrimination against boys and young men can be blatant in area of sexual abuse, especially as it pertains to a situation where the female is the aggressor. None of this is about desire or attraction. Sexual assault is about power, dominance and control, regardless if the predator is male or female.

Anyone raising a teenager knows their emotions are an ever-changing spectrum. One minute making mature decisions, the next doing things that leave us, as parents, scratching our heads and wondering if their brain is developing at all. Add this to the implications of comments like those cited above, and we are left with one boy who, regardless of the outcome of the criminal trial, is forever scarred. Not only by what the alleged predator did, but also by people he doesn’t even know who have, out of ignorance and bravado, trivialized his situation simply because this is about a boy.  Let’s be clear: rape is rape.

Jean Maisano