Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was sexually abused at the hands of a camp counselor at the age of 10, he says in a new book.
“It was certainly, back then, very traumatic,” Brown said in a clip released by CBS today. “When people find people like me at that young, vulnerable age who are basically lost, the thing that they have over you is they make you believe that no one will believe you.”
“I haven’t told anybody. That’s what happens when you’re a victim. You’re embarrassed, you’re hurt,” he said.
I think this is extremely significant for a couple of reasons:
1. Personally, for Scott Brown to be talking openly about this, on national television and in print, has to be very liberating for him, for his own well-being.
2. For an attractive, male, Republican Senator to be talking about this really drives the point home that it can happen to anyone. The “traditional values” culture tends to undermine that fact, is often full of rape-apologists [as we see in the right-wing reaction to reports of the rapes and beatings endured by reporter Lara Logan in Egypt], and often communicates that people who are abused fit a certain stereotype. Indeed, anti-gay zealots cling to ideas that male sexual abuse is a cause for homosexuality, but here we have a very straight, very “man’s man” kind of guy, and a Republican no less, admitting that he’s hidden the abuse he suffered so many years ago. That, to me, provides an opportunity for people on all sides of the ideological spectrum to step back and untie some of the myths surrounding sexual abuse, sexuality and whatnot.
I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I applaud Scott Brown for his courage in talking about this, and I hope it helps someone else out there who has stayed silent, for whatever reason, to find their own voice and speak up. A clip from the interview is available at the National Journal.
If you’ve been a victim, last night or twenty years ago, help is available from the good people at RAINN.