Five Boys Share Why Teens Are Reluctant To Open Up About Sexual Harassment
No sex or gender is safe from sexual harassment. For instance, according to a 2007 study conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, 53.2 percent of children interviewed reported having experienced some form of sexual abuse, close to 53 percent of these were boys.
Men are predominantly seen as predators rather than survivors when it comes to sexual crimes, and this stigma keeps us from realising that men and boys too face the threat of sexual crimes. While we need to encourage more discourse around sexual harassment that women face, we need to acknowledge that it is harder for the opposite gender to speak up on the same. But what exactly holds back boys from opening up about facing sexual harassment, even with their parents?
To know more SheThePeople.TV reached out to five teens:
Adishay Jain (name changed on request), a 16-year-old boy says that patriarchy and homophobia are a staple in every household, in our country, which deters boys from addressing such issues. “Most teens feel that if they report such cases, it may blemish their reputation in school. Moreover, people don’t know what their parents say about sexual harassment as it still remains a major ‘stigma’ in normal middle-class Indian households.”
Meedhansh Jain, a tenth grader has a couple of reasons on his mind. “It could be a possibility that they don’t want their parents/family to know about it, or fear that the police won’t take it seriously, or they would have to endure embarrassment.” He further adds that emotional pain, shame, fear of being blamed also are some reasons for the reluctancy. He also adds that the feeling of being partly responsible for the act, also play an important role in deterring boys.
Rahul (name changed on request), a school going boy in ninth grade says that boys are perhaps not able to talk to their parents about sexual harassment because they think that it might hurt their family’s reputation. “They think that this is not the topic to be discussed with their parents.”
Saatvik Garg (name changed on request) feels that the problem is the idea of masculinity created by society. “It’s either you’re a gay man and homophobia doesn’t do well in a lot of families, or the fact a guy got harassed by a girl.” The sixteen-year-old further adds, “Men being violated by woman defies misogynistic norms. This isn’t well accepted in a society like ours.”
Aryan (name changed on request), a boy in tenth grade says that the whole ‘boys don’t cry’ doesn’t allow boys and men to express their emotions. “It’s considered weak. Especially when a girl is a perpetrator and she turns her story saying it’s the other way round then I don’t think the guy stands a chance. So not only will he experience harassment, but also get punished for a crime when he was at the receiving end.”
Image Credit: Unsplash
Bhavya Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.