Tucker Carlson (Wikipedia)

Tucker Carlson: Being sexually assaulted by female teachers is "the greatest thing that ever happened" to teenage boys

Carlson's ignorance about male victims of sexual assault isn't just offensive -- it's dangerous


Katie McDonough
May 7, 2014 1:12AM (UTC)

Tucker Carlson is the reason we have the Daily Caller, so it's no surprise that he has abhorrent and dangerous views about sexual assault. But his Monday comments claiming that sexual assault against teenage boys is a victimless crime -- which were actually him doubling down on his earlier argument that teen boys love being sexually assaulted by older women -- aren't just ignorant, they're part of the reason so few men report sexual assault. Because people like Carlson think it makes them wusses.

Carlson's comments were in response to the arrest of a 42-year-old Texas middle school teacher who gave her 15-year-old student a lap dance. Teachers shouldn't do this, but Carlson doesn't see the problem. "There are people out there who believe that there ought to be criminal sanctions against that woman, and I think that's just deranged," he said on Fox News' "Outnumbered" last week. "There's no victim here."

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When asked Monday why he said that this extremely illegal thing this teacher did isn't a big deal, he replied, "I said it because it's true."

"Notice that the breakdown is along sex lines," he continued, noting that most of the criticism he received came from women. "The women are upset, and the men understand. But here's the bottom line: a 15-year-old boy is not a 15-year-old girl. Every man understands this. A 15-year-old boy looks at this as the greatest thing that's ever happened, and I think for a 15-year-old girl it would be traumatic. That's just real. I don't know what to say. I don't want it to be true, it just is true."

Carlson saying this isn't just ignorant -- it's dangerous. All victims of sexual violence are hurt by this kind of stupidity, but his comments actively contribute to a culture in which men feel like they can't come forward about their experiences of sexual assault because so many are actually raised to believe that they can't be victims. It's a really twisted view, but it's a common one.

One in 33 men will be the victims of sexual violence in their lifetimes, but it wasn't until 2012 that the FBI updated the legal definition of rape to include men. A recent report released by the Pentagon found that sexual violence reporting has improved as the result of increased awareness of the problem of military sexual trauma, but that men are still disclosing at far lower rates than women. (Most victims of sexual assault in the military are men. This lack of reporting matters.) And rape in prison continues to be treated like a punchline rather than a violent epidemic that we're ignoring.

And this chuckling nonsense from Carlson perpetuates the stigma -- and the offensively narrow view of male sexuality, desire and consent -- that all but forces boys and men to keep their experiences of sexual violence secret. (To say nothing of Carlson's total disregard for statutory rape laws.) It's rape culture plain and simple. It hurts people. Carlson is making it worse.

Watch the clip here:

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h/t Media Matters


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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