Real Men, Pedophilia and Ephebophiles
The widely-publicized and circulated allegations by B2K member Raz B aka De'Mario Monte Thornton and his older brother, Ricardo Thorton, brought to light some very sad, but interesting issues. The first is the all-too-common incidence of pedophilia and ephebophilia involving young male victims. It seems when we think sexual abuse, we tend to think of female victims. That said, it is a long time coming – especially in minority communities – to address the issue of sexual abuse against young boys and young men in our community. Do I believe the allegations made by the Thorton men? Yes. Statistically speaking, 67% of all reported sexual abuse victims are under the age of 18. If this number isn’t shocking enough for you, then maybe the fact that 34% of those victims are under the age of 12 might alarm you. If you’re still drumming your fingers on your desk, then consider that one-in-seven victims is under the age of 6! If that number doesn’t strike a chord with you, then stop breathing now because you’re a waste of oxygen and are already dead. You see, the prevalence of pedophilia and ephebophilia is much more widespread than many of us ever imagined. Michael Jackson may have skirted charges of sexual abuse and R. Kelly may still garner your support, but they are just the tip of the iceberg with regard to sexual abuse. You should note that 1-in-7 men will have suffered sexual abuse before they reach the age of 18. What’s equally sad is that many took the B2K story and turned the Chris Stokes and the B2K boys’ and the abuse allegations as a gay story. Let me be very clear here….Pedophiles, abuse victims and gays are not synonymous. There is no correlation between being gay and being an abuse victim or abuser. We’ve all heard the statistic that says that the majority of pedophiles are heterosexual white males and NOT minority gay men. That said, there is also a complete knowledge void with regard to the difference between pedophilia and ephebophilia. The latter refers to the abuse of adolescent or teenage minors. The distinction is important, since statistics now break-up the two. Pedophilia only refers to prepubescent minors. In the alleged incidences involving Stokes and the Thorton men, the boys at the time were adolescents and Stokes, a self-proclaimed married straight man with children, flouted his heterosexuality as his get-out-of-male-booty card. In the end, the details are less important than the outcome; the Thortons were allegedly molested and sodomized. Some comments that were posted in response to this allegation were that the very fact that they were sexually abused confirmed they were gay. This is as ridiculous as insinuating that a female rape victim is a confirmed whore. Let’s stop the insanity and more important, let’s stop making our young men believe that they need to keep the crime of sexual abuse secret because the advent of bringing the perpetrator to justice will suddenly make you gay for being abused. A man who sexually abuses boys is not gay, he’s a pedophile. Let’s not confuse the two. Second, I was horrified to hear Raz B say, “I’m not gay; I’m a real man.” NOTE TO RAZ: Gay men are real men. There is a misconception that gay men are somehow ½ or ¾ of a whole man. Let me be clear that being a successful and well-rounded gay man in a society that has so many issues with who we are forces gay men to be even stronger than our straight counterparts – just to survive! There is no shame in being gay, but there is great shame in preying on minors as sexual partners – gay or straight. Therefore I challenge everyone to take a moment to recognize pedophilia and ephebophilia as crimes against society and that gay or straight the perpetrators need to be tried and punished. Let’s keep our doors open to our youngsters, so that they don’t feel that they can’t talk to us about ANYTHING. Let’s not attach shifts in sexual orientation based on abuse or have unsubstantiated beliefs that straight, married men are free from the illness or predilection for sex with minors – male or female. Watch your children, open your eyes and ears to see and hear signs of abuse and most important, stop trying to establish a specific group of men or women as having the potential to abuse children. Child abusers come in every sexual orientation, every profession, every age group, and every color. Don’t further the abuse of our youth with the ignorance that they are somehow responsible for being abused or have had their sexual orientation altered because of it. Finally, Raz et al…a real man stands by his convictions and his beliefs; a real man will not be deterred by threats or defeats; a real man lives responsibly and honestly; a real man understands that his sexuality and sexual orientation do not hinge on the acts and perceptions of others, but the desires of his heart.
Prior to this post, many of us weren’t aware of any difference between pedophilia and ephebophilia. Are you surprised to discover that there may be folks in your inner circle that would be considered ephebophiles?
Keep passin’ the open windows…