It’s not uncommon for powerful men to take out their sexual frustrations on unsuspecting victims. The media often portrays this issue as one that affects women the majority of the time. However, it hasn’t been until recently that the silent male victim population has been given the spotlight it needs, especially in the church, the Boy Scouts and private businesses. Even male congressional pages have been harassed. Since sexual abuse with a male victim is so stigmatized, it often gets swept under the rug by the victim, in fear they won’t be believed, their trauma won’t be taken seriously, or they will be labeled weak.
Founded in 2019, The Lincoln Project is an organization created by Republicans for Republicans with this exact mission. The goal was clear and was assisting the Republican party with moving in a brighter direction, or so it seemed. Now co-founder and Republican strategist John Weaver’s extensive sexual harassment history with a whopping, twenty-one different men (one of whom was fourteen years old) has recently been at the forefront of many news outlets. Especially since it was later uncovered that the other co-founders of the Lincoln Project knew about what was taking place and failed to take any sort of action to prevent further damage. The group went from having a positive message and cause to one that covers up pedophilia and sexual harassment, all the while ironically criticizing Donald Trump for the harassment claims against him. Not a good look.
John Weaver’s case is only one of the disgusting examples of someone in a position of power taking full advantage of those who are not. By luring them in with promises of internships and entry level employment with the Lincoln project, obviously an attractive offer to a fresh-faced political science major, this is how Weaver would strike. In college, the number one piece of career advice any advisor will give you is that networking and making connections are the most important steps in building a career. But then taking it to the next step and actually getting hired in a job you actually care about, while also being able to fully support yourself doing it? Well that’s just the Holy Grail. So, how is a newly graduated young man, itching to break into politics, going to possibly turn down an offer from John Weaver himself? He’s not.
He’s going to do what he has to do, especially since politics are gritty and cutthroat. For all he knows, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, this exact mindset is the one Weaver preys upon. There is nothing more rewarding for someone who just endured four long and tumultuous years of school than to accomplish this goal. For someone to tarnish that feeling by replacing it with memories of trauma and sexual assault is almost monstrous.
When a person experiences a rape or another distressing event, that is called trauma. People may experience trauma and process it in a variety of ways. But, regardless, it takes a toll on someone’s psyche and physical and emotional well-being. So, dealing with it completely alone, as you can imagine, just makes things so much worse. Organizations like RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) are incredible resources there for this exact reason. Upon receiving a call, RAINN will match you with a sexual assault service provider who will then be there to support you in any way possible. Whether it be verbal support, referrals to other resources, medical concerns, or information about community laws, RAINN is a resource that should absolutely be taken advantage of once the victim is ready and willing to receive that help. To access these services, call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be matched with a provider in your area.
Power dynamics and frankly shame will truly always be at the innermost core of this issue. With most sexual abuse, it really comes down to the abuser feeling like they can gain power by stripping it from someone else. When, in reality, it’s one of the most cowardice acts a person can perform. Homosexuality is something that society has always stigmatized. Even now, after the world has made incredible strides towards equality, men can still be protective of their preferences.
With so many people being able to comfortably be accepted as being gay in urban settings and more progressive states, there is still so much of the country that is scared or unwilling to understand the idea of homosexuality, thus leading to immense amounts of hate over something uncontrollable. In today’s politics, a Republican’s general beliefs tend to be against the LGBTQ community. John Weaver, a known Republican, had a wife and children, yet he was still using his closeted homosexuality to take out his own sexual frustrations and shame, all the while stealing the innocence from these young boys. Because of his Republican beliefs and background, it was more of a shock that he was gay then the fact that he was an abuser.
The same can be said about the instances within the catholic church. In the catholic religion, it’s preached that homosexuality is a sin. So, when it’s learned that a priest has been abusing the altar boy, it’s just as much of a shock that he’s gay as the fact that he’s been doing this. Also, bystanders are less likely to believe the victim because they believe that the priest (or the republican) is incapable of doing that for the sole reason of them not believing in sin, ultimately putting the victim in an inconceivable position where they have to recover and deal with the shame they have on their own.
The parallels are everywhere; Boy Scouts, Hollywood, the military, and even prison. It literally exists everywhere because there is always going to be someone who wants to take their power back and who is willing to traumatize someone else in order to make themselves feel better. If you suspect someone you know has been a victim to sexual abuse, we are here to help. Over the last 30 years, Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP has represented abuse victims and their families. We have experienced attorneys who are specialized in working sexual abuse cases.
Call (212) 684-1880 to learn more about our services and how we can help you recover financial compensation and receive justice for you or your loved ones.