Raz-B, Men, and a Culture of Shame around Sexual Assault
Men have been victims of sexual assault too, though often their assaults go unreported. Another pressure men can deal with involves being believed when they do tell their story. Or when they do share their story, they are often shamed and disrespected. Last year, Raz-B of the group B2K was in the news after he announced he was leaving the much-hyped Millenium Tour because of the presence of Chris Stokes, the group’s former manager and the man Raz-B accused of having molested him back in 2007. Raz-B decided to stay with the tour, though there has been no report on whether Chris Stokes would still be present.
In 2007, before the era or #MeToo, Raz-B’s calls for help and justice fell on deaf ears. Many in our community accused him of lying and wrote off his accusations as a vendetta over a money dispute. Later, in 2010, an article in The Root called his accusations a publicity stunt. Twelve years after the original outcry, following the Surviving R. Kelly and Leaving Neverland documentaries, people are more willing to believe that Raz-B was a victim of sexual molestation.
Along with believing victims of sexual assault, we need to dismantle the culture of shame that encourages people to remain silent about their abuse. It is difficult and dangerous to tell a person who has experienced sexual trauma how to grieve or seek justice. The old standard no longer works, and instead of policing the victims/survivors of sexual assault, we need to police the culprits, and make sure they don’t hurt anyone else.