In a high school locker room in my home state last month, a crime was committed. As many as four times.
But many in the press — my peers — are calling the crimes committed by football players at Sayreville War Memorial High School, “bullying,” “hazing,” and “sexually charged hazing rituals.” When really, it’s “rape.”
But because it happened to boys by boys from the same high school football team, the words chosen in the media to describe what happened don’t match up to the crimes charged: “aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sexual contact, criminal restraint, and hazing for engaging in an act of sexual penetration upon one of the juvenile victims,” reports the New York Daily News.
If these were girls who had been singled out, pinned down, and sodomized, no doubt the language and the tone would be very different. But in our society, girls are victims and boys are supposed to toughen up and shut up. Or as one mother complained after the Sayreville High School football season was cancelled this month in light of the allegations, “No one was hurt. No one was [sic] died.”
Girls, it’s different for you. We got your back.
Boys? For starters, there’s a stigma attached to males as victims of sex crimes. Then, of course, boys will be boys. And finally, it’s just another day in football in 2014. So, you’re on your own.
Luckily, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office saw this “hazing scandal,” which appears to have been passed down year-to-year for what it is: a crime. And the boys who allegedly sodomized younger boys in the name of “team tradition” are facing some serious charges.
Even though no one died in this “bullying-hazing scandal.”