Boosie Bad Azz and Black Boy Trauma
I am a psychologist who works in the field of sexual violence. In my work with both juveniles who have caused sexual harm and those who have been victims of such (note: these are not always mutually exclusive), I have been on the frontlines of addressing sexual abuse, including the beliefs and practices that keep it going.
As a black psychologist who also centers Black folx in my work, I have been in spaces where Black communal beliefs about sex, who can be victimized, who can be a perpetrator, and body autonomy intersect. Therefore, when I saw the story about Boosie and his hiring people to perform sexual acts on his 12 year-old male CHILD, I was not surprised.
Such behavior is not uncommon in our community or in society
We know that research tells us 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted
We also know that this is likely underreported in part because of the normalization of sexual contact between boys and older female teens and women within communities such as my own
In the 2011 Psychology Today article “Talking About Sexually Abused Boys and the Men They Become,” author and psychologist Richard B. Gartner, PhD, reported that “masculine gender expectations” tend to “teach boys they can’t be victims” as one of the main reasons the sexual assault of boys goes unreported.
Just as exists the adultification of Black girls, there is the push for toxic hypersexuality in our black boys.
Both are harmful and abusive
Yet, we fall into this belief that it is acceptable to expose young boys to sexual acts and unwelcomed sexual behaviors as some twisted Rites of Passage
The horror that should exist at the thought of male CHILDREN being encouraged to have sexual contact with older teenage girls or in many cases, adult women, is often lost in the dismissive and (false) comments that
“All boys want oral sex”
“All boys prove their manhood in this way”
Such beliefs imply that our community does not view our male children as
Deserving of being protected
Living in the innocence of childhood crushes or platonic friendships
Or simply being children in all areas of their lives during their childhood
Instead, we sexualize them before they truly know what sex is
We tell them they do not have body agency as we place them in rooms with people they do not know who then sexually abuse them
And we insist that they should like it
In these moments, we are passing on messages that
Your discomfort at sexual contact is something to keep silent
Control over when and with whom you have sexual contact is not your own
Relationships with the opposite sex are inherently sexual
Your body is not sacred
Many will dismiss the experiences of black boys being coerced into sexual contact by their brothers, male cousins, male mentors, fathers, etc , claiming that they “wanted it”
Even when their minds were not developed enough to truly understand the implications
And we will state that “no boys complain”---even though we make it clear that there is no place within our community for their complaints---their perceptions of this as the trauma it is---to be heard or valued
There will be this insistence that putting a 12 year-old girl in a room with an adult male who then performs oral sex on her is abusive, but that it is “different” when the genders are reversed
It is only “different” because we want to make it so
It is only “different” because our community does not deem the innocence of our sons as needing of the “hymen checking” (sigh, thanks TI) of our daughters
Yet we say we love them
This is not the way to show it
Dr. Tyffani is a licensed psychologist. Although her hardest job is being a Black Woman who centers the experiences of Black women and girls, in her clinical work, she has assisted black boys in addressing the trauma of “rites of passage sexual abuse”.