The rapidly increasing incidences of sexual violence against girls at hands of teen boys does need our unwavering attention. However, let’s not forget that teen boys can be both victims or perpetrators. The recent case where a class 11 boy studying in a reputed school was sodomised by six of his seniors, hints why we need to address the other aspects of these sexual crimes.

According to a Hindustan Times report, the father of the survivor has filed an FIR with Alwar Gate police station, alleging that his son faced sexual abuse repeatedly at the hands of six of his seniors. They allegedly forced the boy to drink alcohol and take drugs on every occasion before sodomising him. They also threatened him with dire consequences if he reported their deeds to anyone. The boy endured this torture from July 10 to July 26, when finally the boy left his boarding school and told his parents about the incident.

Many aspects of this case need serious introspection. Like, why did the seniors target this survivor? Or how did they procure drugs and alcohol on school premises? But right now, the most important thing is the healing of the survivor. Also, we as a society need to sit our male teen wards and have a frank chat about their understanding of sexual aggression.

Two sides of the coin

Both the perpetrators and the survivor are of the same gender and age group in this case. Sexual aggression is on the rise among male Indian teens, and often this is due to misplaced notions of masculinity or unguided exposure to sexually arousing content. While girls as young as six have become victims of rape at the hands of teenaged boys, there is no denying the fact that this menace has affected boys as well.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • A class 11 boy from a prominent school has alleged that he was sodomised by six of his seniors.
  • Both the survivor and the perpetrators belong to the same gender and age group here.
  • We need to reach out to teen boys and talk to them about sexual aggression and the idea of masculinity.
  • While it is important to veer boys from aggressive tendencies, it is equally essential to encourage them to accept the fact that they can be possible victims of sexual crimes, and they shouldn’t hesitate to come forward if that ever happens.

It is understandable that parents of teen boys today live with the fear about their boys falling into either side of the line. In these times it is of utmost importance that parents, and peers reach out to young boys and talk about this issue. Worrying without taking any measures to prevent a situation would not yield a result.

The discussion shouldn’t just be sex, but sexuality and sexual aggression too

The discussion needs to focus on changing the perception of masculinity. It is this perception of masculinity which not only pushes boys towards aggressive behaviour but also keeps them from reporting sexual aggression. Sexual abuse of boys isn’t that uncommon, yet we seem to think otherwise. The common reason for the hesitation among boys to come forward as survivors.

Would the society consider them less of a man? Would they be called names if anyone finds about their ordeal? Will they still be considered manly by their peer? Such questions force male survivors into silence. Especially in a phase like teenage, when boys are more conscious than ever about their sexuality and manhood. Many teens do not even consider the possibility that such a thing could happen to them. Which is why when it does, they go into denial instead of coming forward with their traumatic experience. Sadly, some who do, fail to find support from their parents and peers. The ensuing shaming at the hands of their friends only worsens their suffering.

The reverence of manhood in our culture and media is misguiding. It shows sexual force as a sign of supremacy. The opposite, comes out looking as a sign of submission or weakness.

This is why parents need to address this perception of manhood among teen boys. It doesn’t make you a bigger man if you are sexually aggressive. It doesn’t make you any less of a man if someone manages to force themselves upon you. The reverence of manhood in our culture and media is misguiding. It shows sexual force as a sign of supremacy. The opposite, comes out looking as a sign of submission or weakness. We need to dissuade this thought from juvenile minds. They must accept the possibility that they are vulnerable to falling prey to sexual crimes. Invoking empathy will make them a better ally to not just girls, but their friends too. It will also make them think twice before treading down the path of aggression.

Whatever happened to the Mayo college survivor nudges us to reach out to our young men instantly. Because with each passing day, we are losing many teen boys to the side effects sexual aggression, one way or the other.

Also Read : Beta Sikhao: Boys will not be Boys, manifesto on women’s safety and equality

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own

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