Skip to main content

He Didn’t Want Any of That: Considerations in the Study and Theorization of Black Boys’ Sexual Victimization in the United States

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Child Sexual Abuse in Black and Minoritised Communities

Abstract

Datasets in the United States establish that Black male victims of sexual violence, including rape, are erased from theoretical considerations and policymaking. Despite their presence in current government and organizational datasets, Black men and boys are not recognized as vulnerable in the current literature concerning child sexual abuse (CSA) or made to penetrate violence. This chapter aims to understand the public health implications of sexual violence committed against racialized males, specifically the role trauma plays in their lives. Such a perspective requires a marriage between epidemiology and theory, such that scholars interested in Black men and boys can better articulate more general theories of Black maleness that recognize the sexual vulnerability of this group.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 34.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 44.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Abney, V., and Priest, R. (1995). African American and sexual child abuse. In L. Fontes (Ed.), Sexual abuse in nine North American cultures (pp. 11-30). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Alaggia, R., and Millington, G. (2008). Male child sexual abuse: A phenomenology of betrayal. Clinical Social Work Journal, 36, 265–275.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Amir. M. (1971). Patterns of forcible rape. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ashbury, J. (1993). Violence in Families of Color in the United States. In R. Hampton, T. Gullotta, G. Adams, and R. Weissberg (Eds.), Family violence: prevention and treatment (pp. 159–178). London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bernard, C. (2019). Using an intersectional lens to examine the child sexual exploitation of black adolescents. In J. Pearce (Ed.), Child sexual exploitation: Why theory matters (pp. 193–208). Bristol: Policy Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Biello, K. B., Ickovics, J., Niccolai, L., Lin, H., and Kershaw, T. (2013). Racial differences in age at first sexual intercourse: Residential segregation and black-white disparity among U.S. adolescents. Public Health Reports, 128, 23–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. New York: Fawcett Columbine.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burrow, J., Isom-Scott, D., and Mikell, T. (2020). No man’s land: the denial of victimisation in male statutory rape cases. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 26(3), 316–333.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carter, R., Seaton, E., and Blazek, J. (2000). Comparing associations between puberty, ethnic–racial identity, self-concept, and depressive symptoms among African American and Caribbean black boys. Child Development, 91(6), 2019–2041.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cavazos-Rehg, P., Krauss, M., Spitznagel, E., Schootman, M., Bucholz, K., Peipert, J., Sanders-Thompson, V., and Bierut, L. (2009). Age of sexual debut among U.S. adolescents. Contraception, 80, 158–162.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Collins, P.H. (2004). Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender and the New Racism. New York: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, F. R. (2006). Against Bipolar Black Masculinity: Intersectionality, Assimilation, Identity Performance, and Hierarchy. U.C. Davis Law Review, 39(3), 853–904.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T. J. (2017a). The man-not: Race, class, genre and the dilemmas of Black Manhood. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T. J. (2017b). This nigger's broken: Hyper-masculinity, the buck, and the role of physical disability in white anxiety toward the black male body. Journal of Social Philosophy, 48(3), 321–343.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T. J. (2018a). He’s a Rapist, Even when He’s Not: Richard Wright’s Man of All Work as an Analysis of the Rape of Willie McGee. In J. Gordon, and C. Zirakzadeh (Eds.), The Politics of Richard Wright: Perspectives on Resistance (pp. 132–152). Lexington: University of Kentucky Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T. (2018b). Killing boogeymen: phallicism and the misandric mischaracterizations of black males in theory. Res Philosophica, 95(2), 235–272.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T. (2019). Expendables for whom: terry crews and the erasure of black male victims of sexual assault and rape. Women Studies in Communication, 42(3), 287–307.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T. (2021a). Decolonizing the Intersection: Black Male Studies as a Critique of Intersectionality's Indebtedness to Subculture of Violence Theory. In R. Beshara (Ed.), Critical Psychology Praxis: Psychosocial Non-Alignment to Modernity/Coloniality (pp. 132–154). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T. (2021b). Must there be an empirical basis for the theorization of racialized subjects in race-gender theory. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 121(1), 21–44.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T., and Utley, E. (2018). She touched me: five snapshots of adult sexual. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 28(2), 205–241.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Curry, T., and Utley, E. (2020). She’s just a friend (with benefits): Examining the significance of Black American Boys’ partner choice for initial sexual intercourse. In M. Hopson, & M. Petin (Eds.), Reimagining Black Masculinities and public space: Essays on race, gender and social activism (pp. 33–52). Lanham: Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Curtis, L. (1975). Violence, race, and culture. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Finkelhor, D. (1987). The trauma of child sexual abuse: two models. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2(4), 348–366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Finkelhor, D., and Browne, A. (1985). The traumatic impact of child sexual abuse: a conceptualization. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 55(4), 530-541.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fix, R., and Nair, R. (2020). Racial/ethnic and gender disparities in substantiation of child physical and sexual abuse: influences of caregiver and child characteristics. Children and Youth Services Review, 116, 1–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fontes, L. A. (Ed.). (1995). Sexual Abuse in Nine North American Cultures: Treatment and Prevention. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fontes, L., Cruz, M., and Tabachnick, J. (2011). Views of child sexual abuse in two cultural communities: an exploratory study among african americans and latinos. Child Maltreatment, 6(2), 103–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Foster, T. (2011). The sexual abuse of black men under american slavery. Journal of the History of Sexuality, 20(3), 445–464.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Foster, T. (2019). Rethinking rufus: Sexual violations of enslaved men. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • French, B., Tilghman, J., and Malebranche, D. (2015). Sexual coercion context and psychosocial correlates among diverse males. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 16(1), 42-53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • French, B., Teti, M., Suh, H., and Serafin, M. (2019). A path analysis of racially diverse men's sexual victimization, risk-taking, and attitudes. Psychology of Men and Masculinities, 20(1), 1–11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garfield, G. (2010). Through Our Eyes: African American Men’s Experiences of Race, Gender, and Violence. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodwin, M. (2013). Law's limit: regulating statutory rape law. Wisconsin Law Review, 2, 481–540.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gray, S., and Rarick, S. (2018). Exploring gender and racial/ethnic difference in the effects of child sexual abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 27(5), 570–587.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hannerz, U. (1969). Soulside: Inquiries into Ghetto culture and community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hampton, R. L. (Ed.). (1987). Violence in the Black Family: Correlates and Consequences. Hoboken: Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hampton, R. L., & Oliver, W. (2006). Violence in the Black Family: What We Know, Where Do We Go? In R. L. Hampton, & T. Gullotta (Eds.), Interpersonal Violence in the African-American Community: Evidence-Based Prevention and Treatment Practices (pp. 1–15). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hernandez, J., Lodico, M., and DiClemente, R. (1993). The effects of child abuse and race on risk-taking in male adolescents. Journal of the National Medical Association, 85(8), 593–597.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hines, D., and Finkelhor, D. (2007). Statutory sex crime relationships between juveniles and adults: a review of social scientific research. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12, 300–314.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hlavka, H. (2016). Speaking of stigma and the silence of shame: Young men and sexual victimization. Men and Masculinities, 20(4), 482–505.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Homma, Y., Wang, N., Saewyc, E., and Kishor, N. (2012). The relationship between sexual abuse and risky sexual behavior among adolescent boys: a meta-analysis. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51, 18–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • hooks, b. (1990). Yearning: Race, gender and cultural politics. Boston: South End Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • hooks, b. (2004). We real cool: Black men and masculinity. New York: Routledge.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Howard, W.L. (1903). The negro as a distinct ethnic factor in civilization. Medicine 9, 423–426.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hust, S., Brown, J., and L'Engle, K. (2008). Boys will be boys and girls better be prepared: an analysis of the rare sexual health messages in young adolescents’ media. Mass Communication and Society, 11(1), 3-23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kardiner, A., and Ovesey, L. (2014). The mark of oppression: Explorations in the personality of the American Negro. Mansfield Center: Martino Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim, H., and Drake, B. (2018). Child maltreatment risk as a function of poverty and race/ethnicity in the USA. International Journal of Epidemiology, 47(3), 780–787.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kitossa, T. (2021). Appealing because he is appalling: Black masculinities, colonialism, and erotic racism. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press .

    Google Scholar 

  • Lanning, K. (2005). Compliant child victims: Confronting and uncomfortable reality. In E. Quayle and M. Taylor (Eds.), Viewing child pornography on the Internet: Understanding the offence, Managing the offender, Helping the victims (pp. 49–60). Regis: Russel House Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lanning, K. (2017). Sexual victimization of children: Rape or molestation. In R. Hazelwood and A. Burgess (Eds.), Practical aspects of rape investigation: A multidisciplinary approach (5th ed., pp. 305–318). Boca Raton: CRC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lanning, K., and Dietz, P. (2014). Acquaintance molestation and youth serving organizations. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 29(15), 2815-2838.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leeb, R., Paulozzi, L., Melanson, C., Simon, T., and Arias, I. (2008). Child maltreatment surveillance: Uniform definitions for public health and recommended data elements. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lohman, B., and Billings, A. (2008). Protective and risk factors associated with adolescent boys’ early sexual debut and risky sexual behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37, 723–735.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mathews, B., and Collin-Vezina, D. (2019). Child sexual abuse: toward a conceptual model and definition. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 20(2), 131–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McGuffey, C. (2008). “Saving masculinity”: Gender reaffirmation, sexuality, race, and parental responses to male child sexual abuse. Social Problems, 55(2), 216–237.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McGuire, H., & Lydston, G. F. (1893). Sexual Crimes among the Southern Negroes. Louisville: Renz and Henry

    Google Scholar 

  • Murray, L., Nguyen, A., and Cohen, J. (2014). Child sexual abuse. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 23(2), 321–337.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • New York Public Radio. (2021, February 24). The overlooked and Pervasive sexual abuse of boys and young men. New York. Retrieved from https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/takeaway/segments/overlooked-and-pervasive-sexual-abuse-boys-and-young-men

  • NPR. (2009, July 13). Sexual Abuse is Often Taboo for Black Boys. NPR. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106538016&t=1643974387370

  • Okello, W. (2022). “We’ve never seen this”: Reckoning with the impossibility of black [males’] vulnerability to sexual violence. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Online First, 1–13.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oluwayomi, A. (2020). The man-not and the inapplicability of intersectionality to the dilemmas of black manhood. Journal of Men's Studies, 28(2), 183-205.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pitt, R.N. and Sanders, G. (2010). Revisiting hypermasculinity: shorthand for marginalized masculinities? In W.S. Harris and R. T. Ferguson (Eds.), What’s up with the brothers: Essays and studies on African-American Masculinities (pp. 33–51). Harrimon: Men’s Studies Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rainwater, L. (1966a). The negro lower class family. Daedalus, 95(1), 172–216.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rainwater, L. (1966b). Some aspects of lower-class sexual behavior. Journal of Social Issues, 22, 96–108.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rainwater, L. (1970). Behind Ghetto Walls: Black families in a Federal Slum. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reiss, I. (1964). Premarital sexual permissiveness among negroes and whites. American Sociological Review, 29, 688–698.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shaw, J., Lewis, J., Loeb, A., Rosado, J., and Rodriguez, R. (2000). Child on child sexual abuse: psychological perspectives. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24(12), 1591–1600.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, S., Chen, J., Basile, K., Gilbert, L., Merrick, M., Patel, N., Welling, M., and Jain, A. (2017). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey (NISVS): 2010–2012 State Report. Atlanta: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, W., David, R., and Stanton, G. (2020). Racial Battle Fatigue: The long-term effects of racial microaggressions on African American Boys and Men. In R. Majors, K. Carberry and T. Ransaw (Eds.), The international handbook of Black Community mental health (pp. 83–92). Bingley: Emerald Publishing.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Staples, R. (1972). Research on black sexuality: its implication for family life, sex education, and public policy. The Family Coordinator, 21(2), 183-188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sutherland, K. (2003). From jailbird to jailbait: age of consent law and the construction of teenage sexualities. William and Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice, 9(3), 313–349.

    Google Scholar 

  • White, A. (2008). Ain't I a Feminist?: African American Men Speak Out on Fatherhood, Friendship, Forgiveness, and Freedom. New York: SUNY Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams, J., and Holmes, K. (1981). The Second Assault: Rape and Public Attitudes. Santa Barbara: Praeger.

    Google Scholar 

  • Woodyatt, A. (2022, February 2). More than 1,000 students were sexually abused at this university. An ex-NFL player wants their stories to be heard. CNN.com. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/29/sport/university-of-michigan-robert-anderson-victims-intl-spt/index.html

  • Wyatt, G. (1990). Sexual abuse of ethnic minority children: Identifying dimensions of victimization. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 21(5), 338–343.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tommy J. Curry .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Curry, T. (2022). He Didn’t Want Any of That: Considerations in the Study and Theorization of Black Boys’ Sexual Victimization in the United States. In: Gill, A.K., Begum, H. (eds) Child Sexual Abuse in Black and Minoritised Communities. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-06337-4_9

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics