What We Don’t Know: Mike Tyson, the Invisible Crime, & the Risks of “Talk to the Hand”

“I fear for anyone caught between what they know and what they don’t yet know that they don’t know.” Welcome to Night Vale, Episode One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=barhR-i_Ak8 About http://commonplacebooks.com/welcome-to-night-vale/ Transcript http://welcometonightvaletranscripts.tumblr.com/post/53983092823/welcome-to-night-vale-episode-one-transcript More http://nightvale.wikia.com/wiki/Pilot

A few days ago, Mike Tyson “came out” in a radio interview about having been sexually assaulted when he was 7 years old.

Mike Tyson opens up about Sexual Abuse – @OpieRadio @JimNorton https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QXXUlY5rAA

He had been snatched off the streets by “an old man,” sexually assaulted, and escaped. Male survivors of sexual assault have been called “silent victims,” and the sort of thing that happened to Mike Tyson has been called the perfect crime, because neither the victim nor the assailant will talk about it. This has resulted in a false perception that it doesn’t happen, which increases the misunderstanding and stigma associated with it.

“I don’t always remember. But, um, maybe I do, but I don’t.” Mike Tyson, on being sexually assaulted as a child.

Me, I completely understand this. There are memories so painful and raw that, even while you never forget they are there, you explicitly avoid thinking about them. It’s a kind of PTSD thing. And, guess what? If you dig deep enough, everyone has something they avoid thinking about. I was multitasking while writing something else, and listening to an interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber. Towards the end of that interview, she described some of her thoughts on how some ways in which people are ‘broken’ in certain ways are perceived as sexier, more newsworthy, more eye-catching, more heroic, more popular than others. That people with those specific disabilities or conditions end up almost as a kind of sacrificial lamb, symbolically carrying the brokenness for all of us. Her conclusion was that we are all broken in some way, and that focusing on some kinds of brokenness to the exclusion of others is a disservice to both.

The other part of what Reverend Bolz-Weber said that really grabbed my attention was when she talked about the difficult connection between being broken and having appropriate boundaries. She talked about how important it is for her to be there for her congregation and not place her burdens on them. So while she talks about bad things that she’s gone through or dark places in her life, she talks about the ones that are well in the past, not the ones that trouble her deeply to this moment.

“I always try to preach from my scars, not my wounds.” Nadia Bolz-Weber
http://www.onbeing.org/program/nadia-bolz-weber-seeing-the-underside-and-seeing-god-tattoos-tradition-and-grace/5896 | http://www.onbeing.org/program/nadia-bolz-weber-on-seeing-the-underside-and-seeing-god-tattoos-tradition-and-grace/feature

I’m observing a necessary tension between the harm from keeping secrets and the harms from telling secrets. Since it is hard for men to bring this up, I want to spend some time on this blog, write a few posts, and collect some resources for people about the topic of male sexual trauma. That will come, but just to start, try reading this popular article about how women are taught to keep themselves safer (I can’t say “safe” because the idea is currently impossible), to avoid sexual assault. Read this once as it is written. Then read it again, remembering that rape of men and boys is far more common than you probably believe.

If We Gave Men the Same Rape Advice We Give Women, Here’s How Absurd It Would Sound http://mic.com/articles/97302/if-we-gave-men-the-same-rape-advice-we-give-women-here-s-how-absurd-it-would-sound

Remember, “Only With Consent” needs to become an assumption for everyone. All genders, all races, all cultures.

Only With Consent http://onlywithconsent.org

Only With Consent


3 responses to “What We Don’t Know: Mike Tyson, the Invisible Crime, & the Risks of “Talk to the Hand”

  1. Great article! Men’s hurts are overlooked more sometimes…. I also like the concepts for men that Joseph Campbell writes about… Iron Man is one title I think…


    • Oh, I’ve loved “Iron John” for years, but Campbell wasn’t the person who wrote that one. It was the famous poet, Robert Bly. I think that must be the one you are remembering. 🙂


  2. Pingback: At the Movies: Male Rape, 10 (or so) Heartbreaking #BreakTheSilence Videos (TRIGGER WARNING) | Emerging Technologies Librarian

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