This Danny Brown Thing

I made the mistake of reading the comments on a couple of stories about Danny Brown’s sexual assault. And I’m really troubled. In fact, if you’re ever sitting around wondering “How easy do female rapists have it?” I invite you to peruse the comments on a story about what happened to Danny Brown. What happened was basically his fault because of how he was dressed or because he was flirting with the women in the front rows or because of his persona. Or it wasn’t really rape because how can a woman rape a man? Or why would a man not love it? Or, even if it was rape and wasn’t his fault, he’s a pussy for being all weird about it.

Here’s what it made me think–rapes by women where men are the victims are probably way under-reported. If this is the cultural message–that it basically can’t happen and, if it does, how can you even want to complain about it–female sexual predators have a lot of cover.

I know we talked before about how our society teaches men that having control of your body is a matter of social status and that low status men both don’t have a lot of control over what happens to their bodies and are taught that the way to rise in status is by asserting control over other bodies and how this feeds into rape culture because it reinforces for rapists that society approves of dominating someone in order to gain status, so it’s cool if your dominance of choice is rape.

But I’m starting to think, too, that a lot of weird, unacceptable shit must happen to men all the time and they just never talk about it, so that when something, like this sexual assault, happen out in front of everyone, the response isn’t “What the fuck? I’ve never heard of such a thing,” but “Well, it’s his own fault.”

I know this goes without saying but it’s not his fault. Like all sexual assaults, his attacker decided to attack him and, like many, many sexual assaults, she decided to attack him under circumstances where he was vulnerable and easy to get to and under circumstances where she thought people would be unlikely to call it sexual assault because they’d want to spread some blame to the victim. Or all the blame.

Judging by the comments… hell, judging by the fat that this was a story on NPR called “Was Rapper Danny Brown Sexually Assaulted?” as if National Public Radio should weigh in on whether a sex act a dude didn’t consent to really counts as sexual assault… we have a really hard time accepting the idea that there’s never some kind of extenuating circumstances that might make it okay to rape someone.

I find that distressing.

2 thoughts on “This Danny Brown Thing

  1. This brings to mind the recent rash of female teacher on male student sex cases. I can’t imagine that this is somehow a new phenomenon, but instead is only more commonly reported now because people put stupid things on the internet or into text messages. WIth the way these incidents are reported and talked about, I don’t think anyone gives any serious thought to the way early sexual contact shapes (or mis-shapes) the future sexual lives of these boys, it just seems to be taken as a given that a fourteen year old boy can have a sexual relationship (which is legally, if not in actuality non-consensual) with someone in a position of authority who is much older without repercussion, but it seems to me that willie felau (sp?) was pretty effed up by is time with mary kay laterno (also sp?)


  2. I completely agree–there’s something deeply fucked about Felau. Every time I see him on some tv news show, I’m struck by how weirdly young he acts. And, you know, that’s not unheard of among female victims of sexual abuse–that they in some ways can get stuck at the age they were when the abuse happened. I guess it’s just weird to so clearly see it in a man.

    I wonder if part of the damage done by these relationships is not that boys are being forced to do things against their will (I do think that we, as a culture, are not great at recognizing the harm in that, but we at least have some framework for recognizing the harm) but that they’re being cheated out of actual sexual development. Their abusers are taking them from 0 to 60 without consideration for the fact that there’s real value in the frustrating slower stages. You learn a lot about yourself and your partner when you’re both fumbling around. You learn a lot about what things might bring you pleasure when one of you simply has to be home in fifteen minutes. Constraints lead to innovations, in other words.

    I think there’s an assumption among these female abusers that they’re doing their victims a favor because they’re with someone knowledgeable and they’re getting off. But the abusers are exploiting the fact that teenage guys can get off in a wide variety of circumstances. The asymmetry comes from the abuser always getting the kinds of sex she likes while having effectively cut off the avenues her victim has for figuring out what kinds of sex he likes.

    I’ve only known two guys who had fairly early sexual experiences with women much older than them (one was just turned 13 and the woman was 21 and one was 14 and the girl was 18 or 19) and both of them considered those experiences to be consensual and yet, even in listening to them talk about what had happened, it didn’t sit right with me. Both of them said something like “She just told me what to do I did it” but then also tried to make it seem like, even if this wasn’t their first sexual experience, this was their first big conquest.

    Something about that disconnect between “I just did what she told me” and “I scored” has always nagged at me.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s somewhat easy for people to get how “this person made me do these things I didn’t want to do” is wrong and could hurt the person they’re done to. But we have a harder time recognizing the damage done by “this person told me to do these things I didn’t know if I wanted to do, but I had an orgasm” because, in relationships where both parties are consenting adults, being sexual adventurous is how you learn new things. But if you say “this person groomed that child to be her warm sex toy,” the problem is more apparent.

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