Recently, actor Anthony Rapp came forward with a story that Kevin Spacey made sexual advances towards him when he was 14, with Spacey being 26 at the time. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Rapp recalls becoming close with Spacey while on a Broadway show, then inviting him to a party where he made sexual advances towards him. In response, Spacey released a statement on Twitter apologizing for his “drunken behavior” and using the situation to come out as gay by saying, “I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life and I choose now to live my life as a gay man”. Spacey has been criticized for the way he has decided to come out as gay, some saying that it was inappropriate and untimely.
How Spacey used a sexual assault accusation to come out as gay excuses his actions, but it also feeds into the stereotype that gay men as predators. In fact, no evidence has been found to linking gay men molesting children at a higher rate than heterosexual men. A report by the Center for Disease found that 16% often were sexually abused by the age of 18. David Lisak, founder of “1 in 6”, an organization dedicated to ending the stigma of male sexual assault, explains, “To the individual that comes forward, it is also an act of liberation, essentially casting off that shame that was really never his to carry anyways… There is no question that women and girls are more frequently victimized sexually, but the number of men who are victimized is actually really substantial.” Another report found that males are less likely to report sexual assault more than women.
Society has forced men to wear their masculinity as a badge of honor and if something like rape happens to them, they’ll rip it off and automatically label them as “weak” or “feminine”.
Within recent weeks, there has been an influx of stories about rich, powerful men in Hollywood being outed as sexual predators. While most of the accusers have been women, this story shines a light that is often forgotten about: sexual assault can happen to men too. Sexual assault against men has been brushed under the rug as something that doesn’t happen and if it does, men are seen as weak and cowardly. The reality is that sexual assault can happen to anyone. It is never just about having sex, it is about having power over someone and using it to take disadvantage of them. It is important that the stories of male victims are told, as they are often forgotten about.