The past two weeks have served as a reminder around the problems we have in our community with rape culture. The stories of R. Kelly being accused of having a sex cult and Usher allegedly spreading genital herpes have set social media ablaze with debates discussing exactly who is responsible and accountable for one’s sexual health.
Yesterday, however, reached peak ignorance in the case of Boosie Badazz, his 14-year-old son, and a comment on Instagram that was nothing short of criminal.
Boosie, real name Torrence Hatch, is no stranger to being in the press over controversy, and his comments around sexuality have left many people disturbed. In an Instagram post yesterday discussing his son Tootie Raw‘s birthday, he wrote, “Happy gday, @tootie_raww love you son with all my heart Pops…see you tomorrow…got a bag for you n a bad bitch to give you some head…u already know.”
Within minutes Boosie had become a trending topic.
There is a real problem with manhood, masculinity, and the perception of sexuality as a vehicle to the achievement of those things. Let’s be clear, that any adult who is having sex with a minor, celebrity or not, is committing rape. Unfortunately, Tootie Raww will inevitably join a list of high-profile young men who have also been violated in this very same way.
Bow Wow, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown have all told accounts of sleeping with adult women as young as 13. Sex for men is often viewed as a rite of passage in the community, similar to that of the first haircut, and first trip to the strip club. Virginity for men is used as a shaming tool, as those who aren’t having sex are questioned about their masculinity and sexuality. This standard of masculinity makes it harder for those young men who are being sexually abused, or in the case of Boosie and Tootie Raww, encouraged into sexual activity prior to the age of consent, because the environment for outcry is non-existent.
The most interesting part of the equation are those who defended the point that a 14-year-old boy is mentally and sexually ready to engage in sexual activity. This argument served as a prime example of a double standard that young women would never be able to practice, nor find community support in.
If Boosie went on social media and made a post about his 14-year-old daughter’s birthday, and as a gift he would pay a man to give her oral sex, we would be having a different conversation (at least in the public arena). Truthfully speaking, Boosie would have been contacted by the authorities and a CPS investigation would be well underway. The protections placed on underage women dealing with this circumstance are not transferable to young men who should be afforded these same protections. Men deal with sexual assault, yet stay silent about the violation of that agency due to the unsupportive culture of rape.
Statistics show that 18 percent of all sexual assault victims under the age of 18 are men. These statistics also state that 1 in every 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual assault at the hands of an adult. The statistics also find that 1 in every 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime, while 1 out of every 10 rape victims is male.
These statistics speak volumes about rape culture, and how women are affected by a vast majority. The statistics, however, prove that for men it does exist. There have been many articles about the under reporting of sexual abuse in men due to the environment created in society that doesn’t support male abuse victims. Men can’t be victims in an environment that supports, encourages, and forces sex at an early age for young adults.
Children can’t consent. Again. Children cannot consent to having sex with an adult. Adults who are creating this culture where young men are having sex with adult women should be tried criminally, as well as those women participating in the sexual exploitation of young men. We cannot survive a double standard of sexual consent based on gender, and expect anything to ever change for actual victims. It is important that, as a community, we begin to challenge the norms of patriarchy that inevitably removes the sexual agency of the young men, making them vulnerable for poor sexual choices and abuse.
Men can be, and are victims of sexual abuse. We can no longer tolerate the dangers that masculinity present around sexual agency, and expect to raise up a generation that protects those who are sexually violated. Boosie has since stated that his statement was in jest, while also boasting about how his son has no problems “hooking up with chicks.”
Unfortunately, when we joke about rape and molestation, we normalize it, and there are far too many victims who don’t see it as funny.
George M. Johnson is the Managing Editor of BroadwayBlack.com. He has written for Ebony, TheGrio, TeenVogue, NBC News and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram