By Sanniah Hassan
In the recent years there has been an approximately 10% increase in the number of sexual abuse cases. While there is a thrilling sense of liberation that has followed the #MeToo movement, with victims surfacing and accepting their experiences to help give others the confidence to raise their voices as well. What is unfortunate is that most victims of abuse tend to be little girls as well as boys. Yes, boys are also victims of abuse whether it is, by the hands of men or women [yes, the offender can also be female. There is no written or even spoken law that says so otherwise] and it is time we address this issue so that we can give voice to those who are afraid to speak up [irrespective of gender] because in this situation all victims are equal and all are marginalized. It is well and good to say that boys/men who have experienced some form of harassment or abuse are not victims because far more girls/women are abused but, that is not only highly insensitive, it is also not true. I remember being five years old when I first understood what I had heard multiple times before by my parents and teachers alike that ‘one wrong does not make a right’.
Consequently, it makes no sense to further segregate the victims on the basis of one’s gender and negate their claims of being sexually assaulted. The sex offender rarely has a compassionate or rather human side that would let them conscientiously differentiate and choose the moral of the two options. They hardly differentiate between boys or girls because for them a weak target is just that – a target and nothing else. The offender is only aware of his/her, desire to manipulate and control, to belittle and to harm. Although in most cases the offender is him/herself a victim by means of some form of mental disability however, there are cases when without any reason or cause a person has sexually abused or harassed little boys and girls.
There have been a few examples of boys coming forward to share their experiences of abuse for which they have unfortunately for some undignified reason, been ridiculed. I am a woman and I know how difficult and exhausting a task it can be to come forward for something like this but, considering that we universally promote the stereotypes regarding boys such as: they are stronger than girls and it’s a man’s world [so presumably nothing wrong can happen to them. Uh, NO it can!]. This is exactly the kind of attitude that most people have when talking about feminism that they sideline men and only talk about women. This is wrong. Feminism is about the equality of rights not about your horse is bigger than my horse. Likewise, men should be awarded this liberty to confess that they have been harassed instead of having to fear that they will be mocked by men and women alike. According to a survey conducted by The Express Tribune, most cases of abuse happen when the victim is 18 years of age or younger and while most offenders tend to male there is a percentage of female sex offenders as well.
With all the progress of the #MeToo movement perhaps we should remember to be a bit more compassionate and considerate towards victims of both genders since abuse of sexuality is itself gender fluid. It is time that we unite against our oppressors and face our fears.