Chris Brown Was Raped. Does It Matter If He Doesn’t Think So?

The singer said in an interview that he had sex at age 8

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Johnny Nunez / WireImage / Getty Images

Chris Brown at BET Studios on Apr. 1, 2013 in New York City.

The Chris Brown narrative has, until recently, been pretty easy to package. On one hand, the musician has legions of rabid fans. On the other, he’s probably just as well known for his 2009 arrest after assaulting his girlfriend, singer Rihanna. That latter claim to infamy—and the disturbing reaction to the news from the former camp—is still the one that gets the most attention in Chris Brown news. To wit: a major profile of the artist that appeared in the U.K. paper The Guardian on Oct. 4 quoted his take on the incident (“It was the biggest wake-up call”) in its headline.

But that part of the Guardian story—in which he pretty much tells writer Decca Aitkenhead that being abusive is part of being immature—isn’t what’s been racking up headlines in the days since.

Earlier in the story, while Brown is talking about his childhood, this passage appears:

He lost his virginity when he was eight years old, to a local girl who was 14 or 15. Seriously? “Yeah, really. Uh-huh.” He grins and chuckles. “It’s different in the country.” Brown grew up with a great gang of boy cousins, and they watched so much porn that he was raring to go. “By that point, we were already kind of like hot to trot, you know what I’m saying? Like, girls, we weren’t afraid to talk to them; I wasn’t afraid. So, at eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it. You can be the best at it.”

So, in the last few days, headlines about Chris Brown have changed. For example: Jezebel‘s “Chris Brown Didn’t ‘Lose His Virginity.’ He Was Raped.” And PolicyMic‘s “Don’t Ignore That Chris Brown Was Raped Just Because You Hate Him.”  And Flavorwire‘s “Why Is No One Talking About the Fact That Chris Brown Was Raped?” (Brown has not responded to these articles, unless they’re what this cryptic tweet was about.)

The fact that what Brown describes was rape is indisputable: though attitudes may or may not be “different in the country,” the laws in Brown’s home state of Virginia were clearly broken. According to Virginia law, any person who has sexual intercourse with a child under age 13 is guilty of rape, and the penalty for that violation is five years to life in state prison. Virginia’s statutory rape laws don’t even look at children under the age of 13, since “a child under the age of thirteen years shall not be considered a consenting child,” which means that even if an 8-year-old thinks he wants to have sex, he is not legally capable of consenting to it. (Brown would have been 8 around 1997; the relevant section of the law has not changed since before that time.) And rape isn’t the only abuse Brown is saying he experienced: showing pornography to a child is also considered abusive behavior.

(MOREWas Sex With Children Ever O.K.?)

Some who have drawn attention to Brown’s admission have focused on reconciling their feelings about Brown’s behavior toward Rihanna with the knowledge that he was a victim of child abuse. But, while this is a big addition to the Chris Brown story, that mental conflict nothing new. The ability to condemn a person’s actions while still recognizing that he or she has  experienced hardship is basic-level empathy. It’s also something that’s already out there in direct relation to Chris Brown—when the hardships in question were the effect of racial prejudice on his treatment after his arrest and the fact that his stepfather was physically abusive—and it’s barely even a conflict of narratives, since boys who experience childhood sexual abuse are more likely to be violent later in life.

What’s more illuminating, then, is attempting to reconcile Brown’s own way of discussing what happened to him with the knowledge that he was a victim of child abuse.

Reading Brown’s description of the event—grins and chuckles, not being afraid, early access to pornography, attributing early experience to “a beast at it” later—it seems that Brown himself is ignoring or ignorant of the fact that he was raped. And he’s not the first male celebrity to publicly describe childhood sex as a positive experience: Josh Brolin was 11 and lumps that experience in with general teen wildness and Dave Navarro was 13 and “felt like a king.” The director Federico Fellini even said that his experience having sex at age 8 was the inspiration for his cinematic masterpiece 8 1/2.

So Brown may see himself adding a third celebrity narrative to his public story, as possessor of hyper-masculine sexual prowess. He wouldn’t tell The Guardian how many lovers he’s had, but says the number is high and that the women “won’t have complaints if they’ve been with me.” Some early responses to the Guardian article played along with that attitude; Perez Hilton, for example, wrote that the singer “started boning the ladiez at a crazy young age.”

Brown might truly have felt like his experience was something to brag about or, as a thoughtful essay at Colorlines.com points out, Brown’s boasting might allow him to see himself as in control rather than as a victim. But — while there are plenty of people talking about how the circumstances of his losing his virginity and that it happened at such young age — bloggers and others are (understandably) sticking to either acknowledging that Brown was raped or being impressed by his skill with the “ladiez,” not both.

So why isn’t Chris Brown getting left alone to decide how he feels about his own first sexual experience? It happened to him, so why doesn’t he get to say what it was like?

For lots of reasons, says Liz Roberts, chief program officer at Safe Horizon, a victims’-services agency that works with child victims of abuse and adult survivors.

For one thing, she says, Chris Brown is a public figure, so his cavalier attitude toward his experience needs to be questioned. He’s already made his rape public knowledge, and the way he discussed it runs the risk of normalizing the idea of an 8-year-old consenting to sex, she says. It’s particularly important to talk about what happened because of Brown’s gender; Roberts says that sexual abuse is almost as common for boys as for girls but because of the “culture of masculinity” people generally have trouble acknowledging male victims, even though it’s just as bad when it happens to them. “Bottom line, 8-year-olds are not ready, developmentally or psychologically, to be involved in sexual intimacy,” says Roberts. “That’s why it’s illegal.”

In addition, while creating categories of rape is problematic, there is something fundamentally different about child rape, as it involves victims who are incapable of giving consent, rather than victims who didn’t give consent at a particular time. And that means a child doesn’t get to say whether or not what happened was rape. “We always want survivors to come to their own understanding, in their own way, in their own time,” says Roberts. “But in this case I feel like there has to be public dialogue about this. There are systems and laws in place to protect children, so they don’t necessarily get to define their experiences. When somebody is an adult survivor they have that right.”

In fact, Roberts says, it’s not uncommon for victims of child abuse to be confused about the experience at the time. “It can absolutely feel good physically and there may also be a real emotional connection to the person who’s abusing you. Children process those feelings in different ways depending on who they are and what their families and their peers tell them about this kind of experience,” she says. In her experience, however, children who reframe their stories as victories rather than victimization are generally helped in the short run; acknowledging what happened and finding ways to deal with it is a better long-term strategy.

Finally, talking about whether and why Chris Brown doesn’t get to decide whether he was raped may help prevent it from happening to some other boy: “If the conversation is a real one, and not just salacious,” Roberts says, “there could be some benefits.”

(MORE: Madonna: I Was Raped 35 Years Ago)

117 comments
chacalcdn
chacalcdn

And at 8 1/2 he could flyyyyyyyy.....


Show us the CAPE...

RandyBrown
RandyBrown

GIVE US A BREAK THIS GUY IS A POS AND NOW  THE LIBERAL WILL MAKE AND EXCUSE FOR ANY BAD BEHAVIOR AS  IT WAS  THAT  SOMEONE ELSE'S  FAULT NEVER THE PERPETRATOR


XiraArien1
XiraArien1

Rape is a very common occurrence that most people, men and women, in the USA have committed multiple times in their lives. Rape is something that two loving people can do to each other every night. Virtually every single American has been raped several, if not hundreds, of times in their lives. If you haven't been raped you are a prude or a virgin.


That kind of rape? The RAINN kind of rape? The rape that says two 14 year olds or two 8 year olds is double rape, they raped each other simultaneously, but only the boy will be prosecuted? The kind of rape where she drinks 3 beers then decides the day after that was was 'too drunk to consent'? The kind of rape where two married people have some drinks then have sex, and it's rape even though nobody complains until divorce court? The kind of rape that's only taken seriously when a boy does it? The kind of rape that's only rape if the prosecutor wants to up her numbers? 


On the other hand, if you mean 'real rape', which legally is 'forcible rape' - which means when a clear 'no' is given or the person is unconscious, that kind of rape is in the low single digits.


BrianEllis
BrianEllis

Really Time Magazine?? All your infinite collection of intelligence and geniuses on your staff, and the best you can come up with is to pay victim-speak to a thug and a confessed beater of women? I guess he just needs to keep doing spots on Larry King Live in a Cosby sweater to win your hearts over.  

ByteMarx
ByteMarx

not to mention, a total lie, he did not have sex at eight years old


playas gonna play, and they start with your mind not your ass

LukeRobson
LukeRobson

("So, at eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it. You can be the best at it.")

 Chris Brown's message to his young fans. Many of whom are tween girls.

JohnMar61983849
JohnMar61983849

I had to stop reading this because the idea of this article is confusing to me. Has no one ever heard the countless black stars talk about how they had sex at so young an age as to be unbelievable with the older hot girl in the neighborhood? Hes bragging and nothing more. The entire point of his saying this is to prove his manhood. Get with the program white people.

FreonSandoz
FreonSandoz

A 14 year old girl who has consensual sex with an 8 year old boy is very likely acting out an experience of being sexualized earlier in childhood. It isn't rape when children act out like that with other children. They are all victims whose behavior requires counseling, not criminal labels.

Augleigh
Augleigh

No he was not raped, because according to this article it happened with his eager consent. Sex is not some sort of automatic abomination that is made civil only by adulthood. Sometimes it's done with fun. Lots of kids participate in it, with consent and with a sense of fun. The girls were not adults. They were not predatory freaks taking something from him that he did not want to give away.  I once had a relationship with a man who proudly told me that he lost his virginity to a woman of 21, and that it was the best thing that happened to him. He learned about sex from an older woman, and not boys his own age. Maybe we should stop seeing sex as a one-size-fits-all experience and realize that it can sometimes just be fun. Isn't it strange that we consider children responsible enough to be sentenced to imprisonment for various crimes, but not responsible enough to decide to have sex before 18?

mjcannon70
mjcannon70

Crappy music with crappy lyrics by a crappy artist who is a crappy person. I am glad everything went full circle

CharleyCvercko
CharleyCvercko

Why work so hard to convince someone they're traumatized if they're not? Who are you helping?

QuintonTolbert
QuintonTolbert

Chris Brown 'may have' wanted it, but this sort of conversation is healthy and should continue to stay in the public sphere. Men aren't allowed, by their own self-created culture, to discuss such subjects and definitions, so these issues are subdued with normalization and repression. An ongoing investigation as to why and how these occurrences happen is paramount, for when I have children I would like for them to be surrounded by like minded children whose parents research and resolve such issues with knowledge and understanding granting their children the opportunities to develop healthy personal sexual identities about themselves and their peers.

JohnSmart
JohnSmart

I loath this guy in general, but this article is nonsense on a stick. Yes he was "legally raped" but for many boys Brown's experience would be a gift from heaven. I'm sick of the feminization of masculinity. If Brown is okay with his underage sex these many years later...then so be it.  The idiocy of today's "leaders" turns all things into racism, victimization or the latest..."rape culture". 

a.g.nieman
a.g.nieman

I think subconsciously he does know how wrong this was. How could a child who hasn't even gone through puberty have sex?  I think telling himself that he wanted this experience is a defense mechanism. Also this isn't how it is in "the country", that's another defense to normalize it to himself. 


a.g.nieman
a.g.nieman

Let's put this another way. If he was 8 and she 14/15, then that means he was in 3rd grade and she was in high school!! Anyone who thinks that's okay is sick. 

Mata
Mata

I don't know why I scroll down to the comments, it's always distressing to see stupid people argue for something that's clearly wrong. Brown was obviously raped, because at eight years old you're legally unable to consent to sex. But legalities aside, how is someone even attracted to a CHILD? And how can anyone even argue that an eight year old is ready for any sexual activity, mentally, emotionally and in most cases physically? You can't, as adults we're supposed to protect children not exploit them, sexually or otherwise.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Why is this even being posted on the TIME Magazine site?  It's not even microscopically newsworthy!

Chris Brown is a talentless loser, who has beaten his girlfriend, and who has no moral values.

pepsiking2020
pepsiking2020

I am disgusted at the comments that are ok with this. Rape is not just by force. Liberals are trained to think this way, I would know because I was a Liberal once. No different than Kaitlyn Hunt. I am sorry but Liberals think that everything is just so fairytale and our children should be able to do what they want, when they want, and have other people do what they want to our kids and as parents or victims we should accept it. If we don't, we're bigots. Chris Brown was raped. He was too young, and im really sorry to hear that.

kbgomez
kbgomez

I am sick and tired of criminals using their childhood experiences as an excuse. Once they become an adult they know right from wrong!




BethStone
BethStone

Another lame attempt at publicity for Chris Brown. How sad.  Next, he will tell us this "rape" is why he hit Rianna. Give me a break!    He really needs his head examined if he uses something in his childhood to get more attention.  His poor parents.  I bet they are really proud.

EqualityEd
EqualityEd

@JohnMar61983849 I don't think it's asking too much for the grown ups or even teens  to not use small children for their sexual adventures.  Using the reasoning that the child may enjoy it is exactly what pedophiles do. 

PROTECT THE CHILDREN!  This really isn't that complicated and too many guys are thinking getting off with a hot chick instead of considering the fact we're discussing the welfare of 8 year old boys.  That would be second graders... you know those kids who are still reading picture books.  

Not all boys are the same and plenty of these abused children will end up like Tyler Perry describing the experience in tears. This isn't a joke.  

ElCapitan
ElCapitan

@JohnMar61983849 I did'nt finish it either. He isn't scarred, he's proud. More reason to stop giving these idiots airtime.

zelskid1
zelskid1

@FreonSandoz We are taking this too seriously. Boys are never hurt by having sex. They are proud of it. School teachers get in trouble for having sex with boys because the boys brag.

Treeoflife
Treeoflife

@Augleigh


In every single legal jurisdiction in the developed world, Augleigh, there is an "age of consent". It isn't arbitrary. 

It is the age below which a child is considered to be not equipped with sufficient knowledge of life to be able to enter into a legally binding contractual agreement. If you aren't old enough to contract, you aren't old enough to consent. No consent = rape. That is the legal definition.  

EqualityEd
EqualityEd

@Augleigh


The fact is 8 year old's cannot consent to intercourse which makes it a rape.  Would you like to lower the age of consent to 8 years OLD?  I don't think so. 

"The girls were not adults. They were not predatory freaks taking something from him that he did not want to give away. "

Again this is a 8 year old. How many girls in the 8th grade do you think would sleep with a second grader?   That's not normal nor is it healthy. That's sexually preying on children and I wouldn't be surprised if she did it to  others. 

You are endorsing child molestation as a tool of education. That's sick. 

EqualityEd
EqualityEd

@CharleyCvercko It's not about his trauma but the threat to children in general from child molesters. Assuming kids like being molested is exactly what pedophiles say to justify their actions.

Mychemicalthotz
Mychemicalthotz

@QuintonTolbert You are right on, Quinton. And the operative word you said was "peer". Peer is NOT a partner twice your age or more. I think parents need to pay attention more to what their kids are doing for goodness sake. 

daddynate77
daddynate77

@JohnSmart - I couldn't agree more.  I was 9 and the girl was 12 for me, she was a neighbor 4 doors down and we used to walk home from school together, and I'd stay at her house until my mom came home because her grandmother was there.  We'd get home from school and fool around almost daily for about 2 years until I moved at age 10.  I'm 36 and still have fond memories of her, I wasn't raped and neither was she.  Kids grow at different rates and underage on underage is very common.  The issue gets ugly and rape comes when it's an adult or even a child predator doing things against will or an adult doing anything.  But I hate the fact that 16 year old boys are sex offenders for having consented relations with another 16 year olds.  I had a friend in high school serve a year in juvenile detention for giving his girlfriend a hicky on her neck, thats not right.

QuintonTolbert
QuintonTolbert

@JohnSmartBut that's just it. When you argue, "I'm sick of the feminization of masculinity." You've described such happenings as masculine. That in it of itself is a problem. What does male under-age sex say about masculinity? Is masculinity so immature, simple, and contrite a subject that it can be controlled, understood, and wielded by an eight year old? I'm getting some weird signals. There is a problem when we praise one gender's experience of childhood sex and damn, scorn, and detest the other. Girls having sex at 8 sounds a little grotesque, don't you think? So, what happens when we prep one sex to believe that childhood sex is a 'gift from heaven' and tell the other to 'never talk to strangers, don't let anyone touch you there', and so on? Rape culture. This sort of monster is showing it's head in the states, but it is alive and thriving in countries like Trinidad and Jamaica, where eight year old boys have sex with legally adult women (and it's promoted as 'natural' or 'a joke'). 

daddynate77
daddynate77

@a.g.nieman - yes that is extreme in Chris Browns case.  I was 9 and the girl was 12, two grades higher than me and we knew each other from the time we were babies, our moms were friends.  I do not regret a single moment with her, she was actually one of the better girlfriends I ever had.

daddynate77
daddynate77

@Mata - Adults shouldn't be attracted to children, once you've cleared your 19th bday, high schools are off limits.  Children are normally attracted to other children though, I started young as well 9 to be exact, no regrets.  

QuintonTolbert
QuintonTolbert

@mrbomb13 I think the commentary stems from examining what make a man a violent abuser. What factors culminate to give you this product. No need to get defensive about whether or not Brown is worthy of news. Many men suffer with this which in term means their children also will or have suffered from this, those children become husbands and wives and so on... It's a conversation worth having in the midst of common subjects that seem too fruitless to pursuit.

EqualityEd
EqualityEd

@pepsiking2020 

You must have been a lousy liberal because it's been liberal feminists driving this discussion of rape and child molestation for decades.  I have to give them credit for that despite taking issue with some of the alarmist rhetoric tendencies used to sensationalize these issues.  

I don't think the right or conservatives have made any meaningful contributions to the conversation. Instead they usually end up spouting the sort of ignorance that motivates feminists activism. 


aidosnemesis
aidosnemesis

@pepsiking2020 

I am a "liberal", as you say, and you are absolutely wrong. Having sex at such an early age is NOT okay, the child is too young to make an informed decision. It is child abuse, plain and simple. So quit the hate-mongering and liberal-bashing, okay? We can actually agree with one another on issues, the world won't end if we do.

RasLupo
RasLupo

@kbgomez while i somewhat agree...A persons childhood does dictate who they are as an adult. No doubt about that..it isnt just a "right or wrong" thing. This world isnt "black or white" Its a world of grey.

ceece4
ceece4

@BethStone He did not call it a rape.  Society has called his experience rape and I agree with the dangerous message been sent out by the statements made about his first time.  8 years old is rape.  Get your facts right and let go of something that happened years ago.  I hope you never do any wrong, because forgiveness is something you will be wishing for.  Besides if Rihanna (correct spelling) has moved on Beth please do the same.

kojulz
kojulz

@EqualityEd @JohnMar61983849 This is the only sensible and intelligent post in this whole cesspool of ignorant idiocy. CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE ISN'T A JOKE! having sex with an 8 year old (grade 2) in NOT consentual and anyone who defends this position is ignorant or a pedophile themselves. 

kojulz
kojulz

@EqualityEd @Augleigh fully agree, SICK. get with it people. stop justifying and rationalizing it…. an 8 year old CHILD should be skipping rope/ building lego towers/playing at the park/collecting bugs/fantasizing about knights, kingdoms and otherworlds, NOT having sex… do you really think kids that age have any idea about what they're getting coerced/pedo'd into?? give your head a shake.

Augleigh
Augleigh

@EqualityEd @Augleigh  You can always tell when you are talking to a fanatic. They think their opinions are the center of all moral discourse and woe to those who dare to suggest that other opinions and other realities exist.  So what would you do? Throw a 14-year-old into prison for 20 years? Funny how someone under 18 is supposed to be so innocent of sexuality they cannot consent to sex, but supposedly can be guilty of rape. I'm not sure I get that rationale.  

You would make sure an 8-year-old is scarred for life and a 14-year-old is branded a criminal, all so that the proper victimization is noted. If the former 8-year-old said he experienced the event as you describe I would agree with you. But for now, I am allowing the former 8-year-old to define his reality, taking his word for whether he considered himself a victim or not and allowing him to decide the value of his relationship with that girl.

EqualityEd
EqualityEd

@daddynate77 @JohnSmart


" The issue gets ugly and rape comes when it's an adult or even a child predator doing things against will or an adult doing anything. "

We're talking about a 14 year old with an 8 year old. She would nearly be twice his age.   That in my book would be a crime.  Not everyone will enjoy being molested and not every molester will bring fond memories.  

daddynate77
daddynate77

@QuintonTolbert @JohnSmart - Your last sentence says it all "where eight year old boys have sex with legally adult women".  Adult women with 8 year olds is wrong.  I wasn't into sex like that at 8 but by 12 I was hornier than hell and do not regret any of those experiences, I wanted it fully, no different than when I was 22 or 32, just got older along with the women.


Read more: Chris Brown Rape and Guardian Interview | TIME.com http://entertainment.time.com/2013/10/09/chris-brown-was-raped-does-it-matter-if-he-doesnt-think-so/#ixzz2kNFwJWiG

JohnSmart
JohnSmart

@QuintonTolbert @JohnSmart Blah blah blah Quinton. This story is just an excuse for castrating women to promote the latest nonsense academic theory called "rape culture". This is castrating, victim mentality nonsense. Chris Brown had sex at 8. He doesn't care  We shouldn't care either. Men and women ARE NOT THE SAME. Moreover this "rape culture" clap trap is white, upper middle class, constipated Vasser girl, nonsense. I am sick to death of stuffy white women of a certain income level dictating what is masculine and what is not. These are the same harpies who are screeching along with their beta males about "bullying". 

kojulz
kojulz

@Augleigh @EqualityEd don't worry, that 8 year old is already scarred for life… and the 14 year old is probably another victim of the same abuse… maybe when she was 8 her 14 year old cousin or cousin's/brother's/uncle's friend already taught her at 8 years old how it's done… I'd bet my life on it.


Treeoflife
Treeoflife

@Augleigh @EqualityEd


Fanatic? 


Augleigh, the law of this country determined that children were worthy of protecting from exploitation. Would you say, hey, "that's OK he wanted it" if it were his teacher that he had willingly sex with? If it were his priest? Or his babysitter? Yes, babysitter, because 8-year olds still get babysitters in normal families. 




designchick77
designchick77

What a surprise that some antisocial Men's Rights Activist would join in the conversation here, on the side purporting child sexual activity. I think that's how most MRAs get their jollies, since adult women are so threatening to them. Get a life, John (not so) Smart.

EqualityEd
EqualityEd

@JohnSmart @QuintonTolbert 

We're talking about 8 year old boys here not teenagers. 

 This isn't rape culture, it's the sort of thing that get's you ten years in prison.    

No I'm not a feminists and if you can't see the problem here you've lost your moral compass.  We can't have people molesting our kids.