Tyler Perry, the actor/writer/director/producer best known for his "Madea" character, has done something very brave: He has talked openly and without shame about having been abused as a child.
The message on his website, which is a bit overwhelmed with traffic at the moment, recounts emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. It is hard to read, but is deeply meaningful for lots of other survivors (myself included), many of whom are sharing their own stories on his message board.
Perry tells of having been molested by both a man and a woman, the details of which are provided only in the latter case. I won't post them here, but suffice it to say there is no mistaking that he is describing being a 10-year-old boy molested by his friend's mother.
Nonetheless, CNN gets it very wrong:
Perry goes on to relate accounts of being seduced by a friend's mother at age 10, to being molested by another friend's father, to finding out that his own father was molesting a friend.Ten-year-olds cannot be "seduced." It's no coincidence that the assault in which the victim was male and the perpetrator female is being misrepresented as a "seduction," while the other two are being correctly represented as "molestation." The key feature of rape apologia when the perpetrator is female is to imply that women cannot sexually victimize men, even though victims of female predators are disproportionately male children, not adult men.
This is a consistent problem for CNN. Here is not one, but two, three, four, five, six instances of CNN's failure to correctly identify sexual assault, instead substituting some sort of minimizing euphemism (even though they are capable of getting it right).
I almost can't think of a way to more casually dishonor the bravery of coming out as a survivor of sexual abuse than by denying what a survivor experienced was, in fact, sexual abuse.
Bravo, Mr. Perry. Shame on you, CNN.