Tristan's ECHO

Cultural Context

i rarely cry/ even holding the dead ones i cannot cry/ i do scream though/ loudly/ the real reason you cannot hear me is because i am invisible/   

"I might join the navy"
VideoSmashed by Henri

Sexualized violence against men and boys – including rape, sexual torture, mutilation of the genitals, sexual humiliation, sexual enslavement, forced incest and forced rape – has been reported in 25 armed conflicts across the world. If sexual exploitation endured by boys displaced by violent conflict is also included, the list encompasses the majority of 59 armed conflicts identified in contemporary Human Security Reports.

Sexualized violence experienced by men and boys is a mechanism to place or keep men and boys in a position subordinate to other men (and women). It is an act of torture.

A grave culture of wrong-doing and lack of awareness has fed individuals’ insatiable desires to believe that the vast majority of sexualized violence endured by boys occurs in militarized zones, or penal and displacement spaces provided by distinct and international organizations, or occurs in a niche sex trade servicing lonely adult males and females. Such stories perpetuate the cruelty and neglect directed at boys living next door, across the street, round the corner, in the next village, town or city. Such stories deny the lived reality for millions of boys, who are targeted for sexualized violence in very everyday and familiar places: religious & educational spaces, social service & community centers, medical & law enforcement establishments, and homes.

Few countries or socio-economic-political-religious-cultural bodies have taken a stab at estimating the extent of sexualized violence experienced by boys across the 192 United Nations Member States. In the U.S.A. it is estimated there are 19 million adult males living today, who were sexually violated as boys. That is about 16% of the adult male population in one particular U.N. Territory. It would be a dereliction of responsibility for parents & community leaders across international boundaries to continue to believe and to teach their children this is simply an American issue and is not happening in their distinct neighborhoods, because it is simply not true. Choosing not to know or acknowledge, leads to the perpetuation of physical and psychological and social trauma, and the invisibility of more premature deaths.

Tristan’s ECHO has begun in this context; an international tragedy of epic proportions. We remember the boys whose lives were smashed in an humanitarian disaster.

The idea of the family used to be the entity that was the fundamental keeper of the stories. The family kept them, guarded them, and often kept them secret. Today, families can be scattered like seeds all over the surface of the earth. Social media can now be the repository of the stories. Who lived. Who died. Who fought who. Who won. Who lost. Who disappeared. Who came to your house at night to take everyone away. Who returned. Who was never seen again. The stories now come with photographs, with video, with sound. What was real. What was traded away. What if anything is left.

"Je suis un danseur. Ils étaient danseurs, aussi.
J’habite à Laâyoune," Saqer.