Should male/male sexual battery be treated the same as male/female?

Story here. (It includes a video but IMHO, it doesn’t add much to the story) A former chief investigator in the Oklahoma City medical examiner’s office is being charged with sexual battery for grabbing the breast of a male employee and making jokes and sending sexually oriented emails. There is no indication thus far that any of it was a come on from the supervisor. His attorney is calling it horseplay.

Should the fact that this was male on male be any sort of mitigating factor in guilt/innocence determination or sentencing? The AG of Oklahoma says no. The accused’s attorney does offer this little gem:

Uh, maybe you shouldn’t do that. As for this case, I would expect a woman to feel assaulted if I grabbed her breast. A man? I don’t know. If it happened to me (I’m a guy) I’d think it was kind of weird but I know I wouldn’t consider it to be any kind of assault, sexual or otherwise. I’ll be surprised if the accused gets convicted.

Well, if it happened to me in a way that I had to go to the legal system in order to help, and the choice was convicting them of a felony, or totally letting them off, I’d pick felony.

Should that particular crime be a felony when performed against a woman? Not sure about that, either. Both are sort of on the edge (if the difference between a misdemeanor and felony is that in a felony one can get upwards of a year in prison.)

I can’t read the article from this computer, so these remarks are in general.
If you do something weird, with sexual overtones, to someone who thinks it’s hilarious? Horseplay.

If you do the same to someone who considers it a violation? Guess what, it is!

Consent is the magical ingredient that turns assault into non-assault. No consent? Too bad, you just commited a crime, and will hopefully recieve your just punishment. No matter how “funny” it was.

The genders involved should indeed be irrelevant. I supose there are outlandish scenarios where something done to a man cannot possibly be done to a woman or vice versa, but barring that, there is no real difference.

When I was 19 I was talking to a much older coworker (she must have been at least 32!) who was in a position of authority over me. Someone else walked by and I think she meant to place her hand on my shoulder in a “hold on a minute while I talk to this guy” gesture. She did this as she was turning her head and her hand came to rest just above my left nipple. While I’m sure her hand didn’t linger there forever it certainly felt like it and I was a little weirded out because I thought this was a very intimate touch. However, I honestly don’t think she did it on purpose and in retrospect her behavior pre and post boob touch would bear this out.
Honestly, who the hell slaps the asses of their male coworkers for doing a good job? Not counting professional baseball players of course. A male coworker doing this to me might get a shove and instructions to never touch me in that manner again. Female coworkers aren’t going to get shoved (I have a hard time imagining myself getting violent with a woman) but they’re going to receive the same instructions to not touch me in that manner.

Yes, male/male battery should be treated the same as male/female by the law despite my admission that I would treat a female differently if it happened to me.


I don’t think it matters who the offender is. It matters who the offended is. So I think male/male is in fact different than male/female. However, male/male is not different than female/male. (the format is, of course, offender/-ee).

The reason? We’re all brought up with different customs of what we call our personal bubble and what we call our sexual parts. I think that in most cases, it’s relatively obvious what those parts are, and to what degree they’re sexual. I know that I can touch a guy on the back to signal “let me past you” but for a woman, the shoulder is more appropriate. So I think you have to refer back to the classic “reasonable person” definitions of this stuff.

Thus, we should judge this incident with reference to the body of the guy being touched. Do you think that a male breast is a sexual part of the body? I don’t. The supervisor’s behavior was weird, but not sexual assault/battery. Of course, I’m taking it on faith that his words weren’t some sort of come-on and that the later emails weren’t something like “And, girls, we all know how firm Jeff’s man boobs are, amirite? Eh? Eh?”

I’m female and I don’t really see why it should be different. Men may not have developed mammary glands, but the chest is still an intimate part of their body. You don’t great friends by tweaking their nipples.

Well, I don’t know, maybe you do, but the vast majority of us don’t. I would never touch any part of anther’s body past their arms or shoulders on purpose, I don’t see why the same rule can’t be applied to everyone. Even if it was horsing around, it was a dick move, and if someone’s gotta go down hard to prove that we really, really mean it, oh well, sucks to be him.

Would it make a difference if he grabbed the guy’s crotch? Would it make a difference if one of them were gay? Would it make a difference if it happened to an elderly woman? There are all sorts of possibilities here, and the only way of sorting it all out is to treat all events as equal, regardless of gender or other factors. The only exception would be if the action were accidental, as in Odesio’s example. People should not be grabbing each other inappropriately.

And even some “accidents” are deliberate . . . like the sauna scene in the *Seinfeld *ep “The Implant.”

This seems like a very odd case. A grab to a guy’s chest, alone? Weird and an invasion of space, but likely not worth pursuing – and this is the important part, for both male and female victims of sexual harassment. It would be so much easier to ignore it all. Unless they’re going after an amazing settlement (possibly months in the future), I’m sure they’d rather this guy didn’t make lewd suggestions or send them racy emails. Or grope them. It would likely make their lives a lot easier. So I’m curious what else in this case falls under this guy’s definition of ‘horseplay.’

Obviously men’s and women’s chests are treated differently (for better or for worse), which is why women can get ticketed or arrested for going topless where men won’t. Just ask the MPAA. But in this case, if this guy is (as the article states) facing charges of assault against two women as well, it seems like he doesn’t discriminate and neither should we. Or the prosecutor.

Maybe the man is overweight and thus has a larger than normal breast?

In that case he could feel humiliated.

It’s much easier to be sympathetic to a female victim to a male one, for crimes in general. From a public reaction point of view, it’s going to be a harder sell than the analogous male/female scenario.