Boy Scouts from across the country are coming forward with accounts of sexual abuse from former Scout Leaders – as of November 15th, 2020 82,663 of them have filed a claim. The shear number of these filings is enough to take your breath away, but one thing society must take away from this is that boys and men experience sexual assault and abuse, too.
Far too often, sexual violence is seen as a women and girls problem and people who do no fit into that gender sterotype are minimized or silenced. While reporting continues to be low for sexual violence, especially for men, a 2015 study done by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reported that about a quarter of men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. The stigma against reporting sexual violence as someone who identifies as male is mainly due to how society identifies who a man is or what is “manly.” When you hear “act like a man,” what comes to mind for you? If someone resembling the Brawny Paper Towel man comes to mind, that is because society has told us that men are strong and tough and people who are strong and tough are not victims, let alone victims of sexual violence.
The ages of Boy Scouts who have recently reported their victimization ranged all the way from 8 years old to 93 years old. Boy Scouts serve youth between the ages of 5 to 21, which means some men have potentially held onto this secret for over 70 years. We as a society must not only stop sexual violence, but support all people who have experienced it.
If you or someone you care about has been a victim of sexual abuse or violence and would like to talk to a confidential advocate, please call our 24/7 hotline at 253-474-7273 or chat with an advocate by visiting the Advocacy program page of this website.