Recently, Chris Brown spoke about losing his virginity at the age of 8 to a girl who was 14 or 15. He said he was "already kind of hot to trot" and having sex at such a young "prep[ped him] for the long run, so [he could] be a beast at it."
When I first saw The Guardian article being reported, there were a number of articles saying, "Oh, a-hole Chris Brown is bragging about having sex since he was 8."
I'm very disturbed that the progressive media communities I traffic have played the "a-hole Chris Brown, 8-year-old sex, a-hole" angle, and I'm even more disturbed that Chris Brown doesn't see that he was raped, but most of all, I'm disturbed that so many other men in his situation also don't see their situations as rape.
Years ago, I was involved with a guy who told me that he'd had more than 100 sexual partners. One time when we were discussing sex, he said that he lost his virginity when he was 8. "It was with my babysitter," he told me. "She was 33." He paused and then said, "I don't know what she saw in me."
I was shocked. What she saw in him? Screw that. She was a pedophile. She saw a boy who she chose to rape. He didn't lose his virginity at 8. He was raped.
Chris Brown didn't lose his virginity at 8. He was raped.
Rape rape rape rape rape. How often do we not call rape what it is?
It doesn't matter if Brown thinks he wasn't raped. It doesn't matter if he thinks he was empowered and it's just an inevitable experience that catapulted him down the road to manhood. It doesn't matter. He was raped. Rape is rape.
In our society, rape is a taboo topic in general, let alone dealing with males being raped. Rather than having these resources for boys to admit rape, they are often taught to embrace it as early sexual experiences. And, judging by the media's reaction to Brown's admission, they are quick to jump on the "early sexual" bandwagon.
So, I don't want to just bitch about this. Here's one thing I think we can do to combat it, how we can handle the situation when these boys and men when they tell others about "losing their virginity": Let them know that the truth of what happened to them. Tell them that they didn't have sex, but that it was rape. Be understanding, educate them, and recommend resources.
If I had it to do again, when the guy told me that he had lost his virginity at 8, I would've said to him, "You were raped. Have you thought of going to therapy to process it?" I don't know how he would have responded. He very likely might have said, "F--- off. Don't make a big deal out of nothing. I'm good." But maybe, he either would've agreed to go to therapy or it would have planted a seed so that in the future he would have gone to therapy and dealt with the rape.
Our society is so quick to demonize everything Chris Brown does or says -- and don't get me wrong, I think a lot of his behaviors are reprehensible. But this is a situation where, whether he realizes it or not, he had something traumatic happen, and hopefully he will get some help for it. We need to stop the mindset that it's okay for something like this to happen to anyone, but it's not okay.