For decades, the country of South Africa was the focus of an international rallying cry against the injustices of apartheid. On June 17, 1991, South Africa's Parliament abolished the legal framework for the practice of racial persecution. In 1994, Nelson Mandela and his Marxist African National Congress (ANC) assumed the reins of power. The international community looked away, satisfied that justice had prevailed. They continue to look away, even as South Africa has degenerated into another racist pit, best described by an Afrikaner farm owner: "It's politically correct to kill whites these days." In July of 2012, Dr. Gregory Stanton, head of the nonprofit group Genocide Watch, conducted a fact-finding mission in South Africa. He concluded that there is a coordinated campaign of genocide being conducted against white farmers, known as Boers. “The farm murders, we have become convinced, are not accidental,” Stanton contended. "It was very clear that the massacres were not common
CAPTION Ravens male cheerleaders Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun Fans won't find evidence of the men in the Raven's cheerleader calendar. They won't spot them at most official appearances. And, have no doubt, the men have heard all of the male cheerleader jokes. "Male cheerleaders," Galdieri says diplomatically, "sometimes aren't always accepted." Odd,... CAPTION Ravens male cheerleaders Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun At a recent practice, as the cheerleaders dismounted from a triple-decker pyramid, one of the men who formed the base dropped to the ground, holding his head. He'd been hit in the eye by the elbow of a woman plummeting from above. Even a tiny elbow can be a weapon. But he got right back up,... CAPTION Tommy Cole Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun Age: 25 Day job: Recent George Mason graduate looking for a job in law enforcement Like many male cheerleaders, Cole moved in college from the center of the football field to the sidelines -- cheering for the game he could no longer play at a high level. As someone who loves the adrenalin... CAPTION Paul Vutiprichar Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun Age: 32 Day job: Financial adviser In high school, Vutiprichar, a wrestler, power-lifter and football player, agreed to indulge some friends who needed his help with a cheerleading competition. It was supposed to be a one-shot deal. So much for that. In college at James Madison, he went to... CAPTION Chris Traczyk Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun Age: 35 Day job: Information technology manager Traczyk fell into cheerleading like this: One day at James Madison University, all of the campus clubs had promotional booths. Behind the cheerleading table, young men were tossing girls into the air, and as Traczyk paused to watch, the coach... Funny how they're almost always -- always -- cut out of pictures.
Experts say any rape victim requires extensive psychological healing after the incident, but male survivors have a harder time putting words to what happened. Long-term effects of being sexually assaulted can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, avoidance of intimacy or the stark opposite -- hyper-sexuality, says St. John.
Female-on-male sexual assault is underreported, according to the CDC
Male victims have a harder time defining what happened to them as assault, experts say
New study shows nearly 1 in 10 youths (aged 14-21) have perpetrated sexual violence
Landrith -- a former Marine based at Camp Lejeune -- has spoken out on behalf of sexual assault victims, in particular men who were victimized by women."I want people to understand that it's not about how physically strong you are," he says. "We [men] are conditioned to believe that we cannot be victimized in such a way."
"Males have the added burden of facing a society that doesn't believe rape can happen to them ... at all," says psychotherapist Elizabeth Donovan.She says gender roles dictate that males are expected to be strong and self-reliant -- men are viewed as those who seek sexual conquests instead of those who "fend them off.
Of the five stages of grief, I tend to linger in anger the longest. After I miscarried my first child, I simmered with anger for weeks, furious at the world for a variety of reasons. Infused with my old energy now that my pregnancy was no longer exhausting me, I attacked my home in an effort to clean my way to healing.
In all my furious scrubbing of baseboards, though, I never once stopped to ask my husband how he was handling the loss. After all my introspection and self-discovery, the one thing that escaped my notice in the weeks after the miscarriage was that it wasn't my loss -- it was our loss. I am not alone in making this mistake.
Time after time, when a woman bares herself and talks about her miscarriage, the story is the same: I feel so alone, it's like my husband doesn't even care. He doesn't say anything to me. It's like this never even happened for him.
Even taking it outside the intimacy of a marriage, or even an extended family, let's consider how society treats men whose partners have lost a baby. Men are rarely asked how they're coping, and the focus is often placed on the recovery of the woman. How's she healing? How's she feeling? She's fine? OK, let's stop talking about it, then. How about those Wildcats?
As an artist and a filmmaker and an activist, my goal is to take the taboo away from miscarriage and change how people talk about loss. Many other women share my goal, and share their stories with the world in an attempt to take the shame away. We have absolutely no hope of doing that if we leave out half of the population.
We simply need to start acknowledging that men suffer a loss when a pregnancy is lost. Women don't have a corner on the grief market.
Our culture is rife with stereotypes about how a man should feel or should behave in the face of hardship. It's enough to discourage most men from entering the conversation at all. We raise men to be strong, the emotional pillars of our families. They should 'be there' for their wives when they cry. It's hard for many men to show some vulnerability and admit that they mourn their lost child as much as their wife does.
Add in our cultural attitudes that tend to dismiss early loss, and it's even more improbable that a man is going to raise his hand and say, "Hey, I'm hurting here."
Does a man not get just as invested as a woman when those two lines turn pink? Does his mind not race with possibilities and anxieties and dreams? Just because a woman doesn't have a living child, that doesn't mean she's not a mother. And just because a man doesn't feel the nausea and the fatigue and the pain of pregnancy, doesn't mean he's not a father.
If we want to live in a world where miscarriage isn't a dirty word, and families feel free to mourn the babies they lose, then we need to start including men in the conversation. We can't try to normalize something while expecting half of those affected to quietly stand by.
As with most things, it starts at home. It should have started at my home. I should have asked my husband how he felt when we lost our first. I should have told him that he was free to feel however he wanted to feel about it, and he could share those feelings with me when he needed to.
When a woman tells me that she's lost a pregnancy, I shouldn't only ask how she's doing. The question should be how her family is doing, and asking if any of them need support.
We need to start giving men permission to grieve when they suffer a loss. And make no mistake about it, they've suffered a loss just as surely as the woman has.
Many people would agree that our culture needs to stop treating miscarriage like a dirty secret. We have a long way to go on this journey of taking the silence away, but one of our first steps is clear. We need to take the burden of silence away from men.
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