“It would be a mistake, however, to focus our anger on one ignorant bigot. Bristow was giving crude form to attitudes which, for many male survivors, are all too familiar. The expectations that males – even young boys – can and should be able to fight off attackers is every bit as prevalent and as toxic as the assumption that female victims of sexual violence must have led their attackers on. Men who report sexual violence to police may still find themselves interrogated about their sexual orientation, as if that were in any way relevant.
Tragically, the assumption that male victims of sexual abuse do not need or deserve consideration even infects government and social policy. In too many parts of the country males still find that specialist counselling, therapy or support groups are only available to female survivors. Remarkably, the offences allegedly committed by men in positions of trust, against boys, within the macho realm of football, are still categorised by the Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service as “violence against women and girls“.”
The story of child abuse within the youth football ranks is proving to be a huge story in the UK. Unfortunately, not everyone is making news for supporting the men who have come forward with their stories. Being in Europe myself this week, I first heard about the tweets from Eric Bristow on the BBC broadcast here in Switzerland. I had very much the same thought tht Ally did in this article, just what male victims of sexual violence need, a famous person questioning their manhood, their sexual orientation and their ability to fight off an assault as a young boy.
It is beyond time we recognize sexual violence against boys the same way we do for girls.