Ever since I was slapped in the face by the horror of childhood sex abuse by someone close to me, I tried to put on my intellectual hat, tried to figure out why this happened. As more information came in, I became more alarmed in finding out that childhood sexual abuse is not an exception to the norm, but perhaps the norm in the West, especially in the African diaspora and specifically in Jamaica, land of my birth. Since my revelation three years ago, I’ve taken the opportunity to gently question many of my female friends, who more or less, confided to being sexually abused or told me of friends or family members who were sexually abused. The numbers, though anecdotal, are staggering and became part of the fabric of violence in Jamaica, an often violent Island with a violent birth out of the violence of our Ma’afa.
In 1992, while working in one of the more notorious prison camps in Toronto (they called it social housing) I had a discussion with a friend who recounted numerous cases of male childhood sexual abuses at his place of employment. Marcus Garvey house was unique in that it was entirely set up to house and support young male victim of sexual abuse, in the hopes of preparing them to forge a future free of guilt and trauma in their transition to manhood. The stories I heard were horrific. And what made it even more disturbing was that some of the abusers were mothers, fathers and close family members. I don’t rightly know why I buried that information, or chose to bypass it (denial is a fucked up practice), but increasingly my attempts to run from the idea of male sexual abuse as nothing but an anomaly always led me back to that day in 1992. When a new premier of Ontario, Mike Harris, came to power, he proceeded to destroy most of the programs already in place that was servicing a host of social endeavours and the needs of many dispossesed people. You see female sexual abuse is a dirty little secret the African community and all communities try to sweep under the carpet. How much more so do we hide the even dirtier secret of male sexual abuse?
After doing the post on Batti riders, boycotts and murder music, I thought about some of the homosexual males and females, I have encountered, know and or have decided to come forward about their sexual choices. I realized that there is more that I don’t know than even begin to know and will prompt me to try and figure out in days to come. We need as much information as possible, in order to start the healing of our culture and our people.
Below is an article that came out awhile back, it is quite interesting and speaks to many of the problems in Jamaica today. Before the anti-Jamaicans come on here spewing their crap, make sure the shit in your house is sanitized.
Male Sexual Abuse and Jamaica
Published Mar 30, 2005
|I don’t understand the dynamics of homosexuality and frankly I don’t care what two consenting adult males do in private. I am however concerned about a man taking advantage of an innocent child and taking his mind into a state of sexual confusion. Male rape is not remote to any one social culture, it spans across all cultural, economical and religious lines and it is a crime against humanity that affects all of us.Sexual abuse is all about power. It is when a person in authority forces you to perform sexual acts for him or her. Sexual abuse goes far beyond penal intrusion; it may range from the use of explicit pictures and language, to kissing and touching. It is a violation of your mind and body and it is something used to keep you in a continued state of vulnerability.On the tiny island of Jamaica and to a greater extent, cultures within the African Diaspora, victims of male sexual abuse are considered homosexuals. This is a myth. A sexual act of violence can not make a child or a grown man a homosexual. When an adult threatens, seduces you or forces you to commit sexual acts it does not mean you are a homosexual. Even if you were aroused or helped him in the process, it was still not your fault. You never had a choice in being abused.As a child growing up in Jamaica I yearned constantly for an adult male to come public about being sexually abused as a child. It wasn’t until I journeyed to the United States that I met upon grown Jamaican men who have fled Jamaica and are now candid about childhood sexual abuse. It is difficult for males in general to talk about sexual abuse because of the stigma attached to the sexual act. You believe at times that you are alone but the truth is you are not. You feel weak and defenseless each time you think about the abuse. Talking about male sexually abused gives you the individual strength and it helps you to realize that it was not your fault. It also encourages others to speak up and renew their strength.
Male sexual abuse in Jamaica unfortunately is not on the decline; it is gradually increasing and grossly under-reported. Jamaica’s cultural values, which include religion, music and our political framework has been a major deterrent in forcing young boys and men to be silent about sexual abuse. Society has narrowly defined masculinity and expects its boys to be fearless, strong, always in control and defenders. It becomes threatening at times for boys and men within society to display supposedly feminine qualities. To be a man and to be masculine is an ongoing process of growth which last until death. Most young men who have been sexually abused question their masculinity.
What abuse does is to steal your authentic self and bring you in a state of confusion, fear, anger and denial. Who is a man? Slavery has robbed Jamaica of its men and many young boys grow up fatherless or without a male figure. Men do cry. Men do feel hurt. Men do feel weak at times. It is the notion of false masculinity and gender roles that confuse children about who a man is and what it means to be masculine. It is inner strength for a man to show emotion and to express his inner self rather than unleashing his built-up anger in a negative way. Untapped emotions are dangerous for men as it sometimes forces them in a bar-less prison. Boys who were sexually abused have indirectly been taught to not trust men and to be afraid of men.
Sexual violation has long been used as a method of emasculation. Two of the most common reasons males don’t report abuses are that they fear to be seen as weak and at worst a homosexual. Sexual abuse has no correlation with sexual orientation. Homophobia has forced many young men to shake the abuse off, keep it to themselves buried in a pile of expectation and denial. Denial at times forces some of these men to numb their pain by engaging in homosexual activities out of sexual confusion and thus resulting in some men being bisexual.
Engaging in homosexual activities as a result of sexual abuse does not make a man gay or bisexual. Labels concerning sexual orientation have a very interesting dynamics to them as to be a homosexual far exceeds the sexual act. Most sexual abusers are male and do consider themselves to be heterosexuals.
It is imperative for us as a society to acknowledge male sexual abuse. Men work twice as hard as women to hide sexual abuse. I have spoken to too many men who have internalized sexual abuse. Men sometimes find relief by sedating themselves with alcohol or drugs or they become physically abusive or turn to sexual violence. Boys rarely talk about abuse and as a society we have a responsibility to our children to talk to them about sexuality and appropriate touch. Most offenders are not strangers and over 80% of offenders are known to the child.
Here are some links that can really inform us about a subject that can only go away when light and over standing shines on them. Male sexual abuse, no, all sexual abuse of children is to me the worst act of violence you can engage in.