In Defense of Styxx and Male Rape Victims

I'm finally inhaling Styxx, the 23rd book in the Dark-Hunter series. I knew it was going to be intense and dark. But wow. I still wasn't prepared for everything Styxx was put through.

But why am I blogging about it? One reason. Some of the reviews I've seen on Goodreads. 

Styxx was unfortunate enough to attract the attention of Apollo. In the Dark-Hunter world Apollo is a total ass who deserves to be gutted over and over and over, exactly the way he gutted Acheron. Heck, make it his never-ending punishment. We also learn just how twisted and depraved Styxx and Ash's uncle Estes was. His death was too easy on him. We already hated him for what he'd done to Ash.

In some ways Styxx's life was worse than Ash's. A lot of what was done to Ash he has no real memory of, and he at least had one person in his human family who kind of loved him. Styxx didn't even have that much. I wasn't a huge fan of Ryssa in Acheron, and seeing her in Styxx makes me want to slap her into another galaxy. She deserved to die in Apollymi's fit of rage.

Styxx is a soldier. A broken, wounded soldier suffering from PTSD. He's also a rape victim. This quote from a Goodreads review made me SO MAD.
On the GLBTQ fail--It was totally offensive to make the openly gay character Estes into the stereotyped depraved sex fiend. To make it worse, the god Apollo was just sadistic on top of his explicit attraction for Styxx. Both characters could have been handled in a more nuanced way, especially in light of the fact that not everyone wanted a piece of Styxx's ass (figuratively as well as literally)
Why did this piss me off? Estes and Apollo are NOT gay! It does come out in the book Estes prefers boys, but that doesn't make a man gay. This quoted reviewer is not alone in believing Sherri has done a disservice to the gay community.

She hasn't. This reviewer, and others like her, have done a disservice to male rape victims.

Estes and Apollo are users and abusers. They think every single being alive is beneath them and exists solely as a tool for their pleasure. Particularly Apollo. They are not gay. They are despicable creatures who deserve the rage of Apollymi and Bethany. And Ash too.

Male-on-male rape is NOT about someone being portrayed as gay. It's about power, control, and domination. It's about destroying the victim and making him feel worthless, helpless, and trapped. Just like Styxx feels.

This attitude I'm seeing in some of the reviews is a major major major contributor to male rape victims feeling like they have no voice. No one has any idea what the numbers are like for male rape victims, because most men never report. The few who do never get justice, are ostracized by those who find out, and become more lost than they were before.

And who are the people who are most vocal about it being impossible for a man to be raped and saying they're lying? Women, particularly of the feminist variety. Don't believe me? Check out some of the stuff at Toy Soldiers. Particularly the This Is What It Looks Like page. If what you see doesn't break your heart, you're as callous as Estes and Apollo.

Sherri made a bold move in portraying Styxx the way she did. And I applaud her for it. She used a massively popular series to showcase a pervasive problem in American society and give these wounded men a voice in fiction. What Styxx deals with is what male rape victims deal with. The shame, the not wanting anyone to know, the thoughts that if anyone ever found out they'd be mocked and ridiculed for not being able to protect themselves. And that's exactly what happens to far too many victims.

Thank you, Sherri, for writing Styxx. Thank you for giving a voice to these hurting men. Thank you for being brave enough to confront this evil head-on and show the world what it does to the victims.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you make the distinction between male-on-male rape and homosexuality. Too many males are sexual abuse victims who need a voice, and need healing.