Aspiring American Idol participant Benjamin Glaze revealed to Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry that he had never kissed anyone when asked by Bryan during the American Idol auditions. Upon hearing this, Katy Perry beckoned Glaze over for a kiss on the cheek, but she turned her head to kiss him on the lips instead.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Benjamin Glaze admitted that the kiss made him feel uncomfortable. He also said if Perry would have asked him before kissing him, he wouldn’t have allowed her to. The footage of this incident went viral, with a lot of people calling out Katy Perry for failing to ask for consent.
This incident brings to light an important, yet often overlooked issue. The issue of male sexual assault. Kissing someone on the lips is a sexual act and considering Perry kissed Glaze on the lips without asking for his consent, this becomes an act of sexual assault.
This incident brings to light an important, yet overlooked issue – the issue of male sexual assault.
Male sexual assault is often met with animosity, disbelief and even ridicule. Most people hold the belief that sexual assault is something that only women can be subjected to, by men. Sexual assault can be committed by a man, a woman, or anyone of any gender identity or sexual orientation.
Male sexual assault is as much a reality as female sexual assault. Gender identity, sex or sexual orientation does not make anyone immune to sexual assault, rape or any other sort of sexual violence or aggression.
So where do these attitudes come from? Why is the trauma of male sexual assault somehow more easily dismissible? Patriarchy is the answer to all those questions. Patriarchy stereotypes women as weak and in need of protection and men are viewed as strong, tough and invincible.
How can the “weak” ever harm or hurt the “strong and invincible”? Also, when it comes to sexual assault on men, by men, how can the “invincible” be hurt even by others who are strong and invincible? Thus, male victims/survivors of sexual assault are often met with ridicule.
They are ridiculed and considered “un-manly” for their inability to stop a “mere woman” from assaulting them. Although, this ridicule still exists when the perpetrator is a man himself.
The patriarchal typecast of men as a sex-starved group of beings and women as uninterested and apprehensive about sex, makes it hard for people to believe that these women who allegedly never seek sex could sexually assault someone. As for sexual assault perpetrated by men, on men, we as a society refuse to acknowledge it exists.
Gender identity, sex or sexual orientation does not make anyone immune to sexual assault
These patriarchal beliefs we hold leads to people trivializing male sexual assault because the idea that men wouldn’t enjoy sex or anything sexual, even if it is without their consent and is forced upon them is strange to most people. Even when men are believed, they are often asked to “have fun” or to just be glad they received sexual attention.
Katy Perry sexually assaulted Benjamin Glaze – any sexual act without explicit and enthusiastic consent is sexual assault. Perry’s gender cannot shield her from the reality of her crime and Glaze’s gender doesn’t make him immune from being a survivor of sexual assault.
It is important we do not fail survivors of sexual assault – be it women, men, non-binary people, or people of any gender identity. The magnitude and trauma caused by sexual assault doesn’t intensify or diminish based on gender. Our patriarchal ideas regarding gender, sexual assault, violence and masculinity distorts our ability to objectively view ground realities and this is harmful to all of us.
Also Read: Shaming Survivors Of Sexual Abuse Must Stop
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