I have been sexually assaulted more times than I can remember but the most poignant in my memory is the time a friend took me to a Wharton MBA party and I was physically dragged into a bathroom and molested. I had just met this guy celebrating his new MBA degree 30 minutes earlier and after learning he had previously been in the airforce I made a joke that women can take Gs (Gravitational force) better than men. Sexual assault is as much about power as it is about sex. It felt as if it was payback for this guy who didn’t appreciate my joke. I never had an experience like this growing up in a very small town and going to public school.... In college was when I first encountered very privileged people at elite institutions (military academies, Ivy league schools). For me there does seem to be a direct correlation between toxic masculinity, heteronormative pressure and privilege that causes expectation, as if women owe them something.
I also have many sensitive wonderful men in my life who have experienced sexual assault and have educated me that whether a man or a woman is the perpetrator it is almost never reported. If a boy is sexually assaulted by a man he may not tell anyone because of shame and if he is assaulted by a woman, people won’t take him seriously because society thinks men and boys should always want that kind of attention from women.
We should stop making this a gender war, and enforcing societal gender norms. That only perpetuates the problem, as repressed emotions of male survivors of sexual assault are likely to continue the cycle of abuse on someone else, and in most cases on a woman.