#Mentoo: Valid or Sabotage?

When conversations about abuse of women are trending, it seems men too want to point out that abuse is not exclusive to one sex (#metoo vs #mentoo), but do men coming out somehow invalidate women’s experiences?

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A reality that trails women’s lives is that at any stage of their life, they are vulnerable to abuse. It is a man’s world, and patriarchy has normalized the abuse of women. A man beats his wife, she gets told she must have provoked him. A woman gets raped, she gets asked what she was wearing. A woman is appointed CBN deputy governor, her dressing becomes a subject of debate. A married senator is involved in a sex video with two women, it is his personal life.

It is a man’s world.

So men (abusers) get away with many things- rape, harassment, violence. In dismantling the silence that shrouds these cases, women are speaking up more about their experiences, and you’d be surprised by how many women these things have happened to, forced to keep quiet about their experience and bottle up the trauma because of the stigma it brings.

“Don’t let your child sit on any uncle’s laps”

“Don’t hire male helps”

“Don’t let men slap your child’s bum”

“Beware of men who call your child my wife”

Parent are being given tips to protect their female child from abuse but what about the male child? Is there no need to protect him?

An acquaintance of mine’s first sexual experience was when he was 11, with one auntie. I have come to learn that this experience at a young age with an auntie is familiar to quite a lot of men. I know that men talking about abuse or rape is usually greeted with amusement. I could tell my friends and family about being harassed or abused, and I would be comforted, but do boys have that? Perhaps because the anatomy of men makes it hard to see the evidence of trauma, it is not taken seriously.

When conversations about abuse of women are trending, it seems men too want to point out that abuse is not exclusive to one sex (#metoo vs #mentoo), but do men coming out somehow invalidate women’s experiences? Why are men treated like they are trying to sabotage or sweep women’s issues under the carpet when they talk about being abused? Is the focus of the conversation abuse or women? Is it that men talking about being abused is a way to somehow make light of the issues women face?

Perhaps because of patriarchy, men are seen as the enemy when it comes to abuse and rape. Men and women are seen as being on different sides. There are men, the abusers, or likely abusers and women, the abused or vulnerable to abuse. But men too can be victims of abuse.

Are they victims excluded from sharing their experiences when women share theirs? Are their experiences valid enough to be shared when women share theirs?

Responses

  1. Dark Jedi
    In light of recent events women are taking up this stance because they’ve never been heard before up until recently but it shouldn’t make the abuse the boy child receive any less “credit”, remove the gender and it’s more about child rights in my opinion.
    1. Mojisola Salaudeen Post author
      Yeah, I also think the focus should be more on abuse rather than gender. Even though abuse may be more common in a particular gender. Everyone is valid. Thank you for reading and dropping a comment
  2. Priscilla Joy
    Everyone’s experience is valid, men and women alike. The focus is and should always be on abuse not the gender of the abused. Like you said, men/boy’s sexual and domestic trauma is always made light of, and this is largely because of how masculinity has been defined… “men and boys are always ready for sex, always on the prowl, are real men because they can easily get some, etc” that is why their negative experiences relating to sex are often trivialized; while women are the ones who should preserve their bodies and remain “untainted” till marriage, and therefore, are seen as more of victims when these issues and experiences come up.

    I would bring in feminism to my answer because when we speak about feminism, ultimately it isn’t women who are being spoken for, but men as well. If we as a society can do away with toxic masculinity, it wouldn’t seem so unheard of sometimes that boys/men are abused and raped too, and that they are carrying a lot of hurt and trauma from their experiences, just like women. Granted, there are some who say: #mentoo, in a bid to shut women up and trivialize their experiences, but at the same time… #metoo, is not a declaration for women alone. What we need to do is learn to respond to survivors differently. For example, if a friend or neighbor is robbed, and the person tells you about it, do you immediately respond with other people are robbed too, or do you sympathize with the person and ask if there’s anything you can do to help? It’s the same with sexual trauma, in fact, it’s more needed in sexual trauma. Empathy and understanding from both genders with each individual disclosure is what helps survivors, not dismissive attitudes and declarations.

    1. Morris
      Thank you for these lines… “What we need to do is learn to respond to survivors differently. For example, if a friend or neighbor is robbed, and the person tells you about it, do you immediately respond with other people are robbed too, or do you sympathize with the person and ask if there’s anything you can do to help?”

      That is the major problem i see here, I don’t think anyone will have a problem with a talk/expose on Abuse on Males, the issue is that most times, it’s a #metoo, Not everytime #metoo is allowed.

  3. Hakeem
    Expectedly, abuses to the female child garners more reaction. This may be due to the fact that most of the abuses we hear of regularly have had them as the victims. The male child abuse is thus conveniently neglected. Even in Criminal Code of Nigeria, it is held that a male cannot be raped; the law only applies to the females.
    Moreover, with the widely held belief that the male can’t reject sex, some might view a lady forcing herself on a man as ‘having it on a platter of gold’.
  4. Morris
    There’s enough space for all the discussions. Let Men start talking about their experiences too, alone, and not as an ‘Addendum’ or P.S to a female’s story.

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