Mike Tyson’s Admission Can Put Another Nail in the Stigma Coffin

Recently, former boxer Mike Tyson publicly admitted to having been sexually abused as a child. As the Atlanta Black Star quotes Darwin Hobbs:

“There is so much stigma around sexual abuse. But when someone like Tyson, a strong Black man, reveals it’s happened to him, it really helps reduce this notion that you are counted out if you are an abuse victim,” he says. “And even more important, it empowers people to come forward.”

As a male survivor of sexual abuse, I’ve seen the stigma play out in so many ways through the years. Plenty of people catch a mention of this site, or a single post, and assume it’s run by a woman. Others read far enough to learn that I am male, and assume I’m gay. Why? Because I admit to having been molested as a kid? Perhaps having someone who couldn’t be more masculine come forward will help people understand that sexual abuse happens to all kinds of kids, male, female, straight, gay, bi and everything in between.

Interestingly, I can’t help but wonder how much that stigma contributed to some of Tyson’s behavior as an adult. I don’t condone, or excuse, many of the things he’s done, but you can certainly draw a straight line to some of the womanizing, the violence, etc. and the possibility that he was overcompensating for something. Feeling like he needed to prove his “manliness” after such an experience, maybe?

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