I want to paint a picture for you, if you would allow me. First, while I am not a huge fan of the overused term Trigger Warning, some may find topics discussed here triggering because of events that have happened to them.
So, the picture: Imagine if you will a person, for the sake of popularity; mainly in the form of “likes” or “shares” or “views” given out during this age of social media, going around and filming themselves touching people of the opposite sex, and filming their reactions to post on the internet. “But Mike, what do you mean by touching?” Well, I’m glad you (I) asked.
How about touching like, grabbing their hand without their permission, or putting their arm around them, or stroking their face without that same permission? What about just outright kissing them?? Like, not even giving them a chance to say anything; just start kissing them.
Hmmm, that sounds really familiar. Where have I heard that before?!?
You might find yourself thinking, “This guys needs to knock it off! He has no right to touch those ladies that way.” Or maybe something like, “How dare he violate those women in that way. Their bodies are not his to touch.” Or, maybe you’d go right to what it really is, and say he’s sexually assaulting them. And you know what – you’d be right on all accounts.
Except…it’s not a guy doing the violating, it’s a very attractive women. And the people violated are random guys.
Now that you know the gender of the violator and violated don’t fit your stereotypical gender roles, do you have the same amount of ire? Would you still light the torches, and gather the pitchforks needed to hunt down this women who sexually assaulted numerous men? Would you even consider it sexual assault?
I assume many of you are nodding right now, proclaiming you would. That you would stand up for these men just as much as you would for a woman in this case. But sadly, statistics show, you’re lying.
This isn’t just a made up scenario for the sake of getting views or making people mad. I don’t do clickbait crap.
Recently I saw several videos floating around social media, mainly on Facebook. These videos were done by a wannabe social media star out of England named Brookelyn. I say wannabe for the very simple reason, that up until she started doing these…let’s call them what the are, assault videos, Brookelyn has displayed less than zero actual talent.
While I hate to give her even one ounce of free promotion, I think it’s important, for context, to see what I’m talking about:
Grabbing the hand of a stranger in public
Stroking the beard of a stranger in public
And finally, kissing strangers in public
After see these videos…now where do you stand on the scenario laid out above?
I’m sure many are going to disagree with me on this. The proof is in the fact that she has over 900K followers over her various social media platforms. Clearly many people, both men and women, think these antics are good for a laugh. But again, what if this was the other way around?
What if a very good looking man walked up to women in society and grabbed their hand, or stroked their face, or god forbid, just started kissing them, all the while filming it (without their permission) and then posting it on social media for the world to see? That man would be labeled (rightfully so) as a sexual predator, and arrested. So why is Brookelyn not being held to the same standards, or at least accountable for her actions. Because she’s attractive? Because she has a nice body and large breasts? Or is it because she’s…a she, and people think women can’t sexually assault men?
In 2014 the National Crime Victimization Survey turned up a staggering statistic. In the 40,000 households surveyed, 38% of the individuals admitting to being a victim of rape or sexual violence, were men. And just in 2015, the Department of Defense reported that almost 11K men are sexually assaulted every year in the military, and barely 1K report those crimes. That’s barely 13%.
Obviously that last statistic is near and dear to me, as I am a veteran of the United States Army. And while I have spent much of my time, since getting out, advocating and speaking to the injustices that women face in the military, I had no idea how many men are facing the same abuse, without people speaking up for them.
I realize many people will think that talking about rape and sexual violence is a far cry from what Brookelyn is doing, but I would urge to really rethink that. Is it that far away? Is it really any different from the numerous cases we hear about every year, and the millions we don’t because women are afraid to come forward? Or is this just another person assuming they can do whatever they want to another person? Except this time, the person knows they are very attractive and is using that to treat others as objects?
Brookelyn in the quest for internet attention, is doing far more damage that I believe she even cares to think about. She’s reinforcing a horrible stereotype that men can’t be sexually assaulted, because what man would turn down a sexual advance from a woman; especially a very attractive woman such as herself? Well, if you watch her video, a good deal of men actually. Many are seen pulling away from her, one even went as far as to throw his sandwich at her. Other say “no”, yet she still continues. What is she going to say if a man goes on this same quest for views using the excuse, “Hey, if Brookelyn can do it to men, then it’s ok for me to do it to women”?
While the statistics I pointed out are based here in America, and Brookelyn is in England, I’m pretty sure sexual assault looks the same no matter where you go in this world. For all our safety, let’s just hope she doesn’t start popping Tic Tacs.