I've been sort of following these rape news stories, because I have three little girls and it scares the shit out of me. Not just rape, but the humiliation & degradation, the objectification, the lack of respect for the victim, the expectations and imagery we bombard young girls (and boys) with, and the sexist and misogynistic culture our media and society creates, in general. It sickens me.
I know I can only work hard to raise three strong women and hope that someday they won't have to deal with this mess. My wife is certainly an excellent role model for them, and I try to show them, by example, what a thoughtful, respectful man is and can be in our society. Unfortunately, I don't think it is enough.
Today on Twitter I saw a post by "Laugh, Mom" entitled, I am so fucking sick of teaching our daughters not to get raped. She starts out by hitting on all the things we tell our girls and women:
Never take a drink from anyone or let your drink out of your sight. Don't show too much cleavage. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Never go to a boy's room alone. If it comes to it, go for the eyes, the nose, the balls. Always stay with a group of girls…safety in numbers. You can't trust him, even if he seems nice.
These are all the rules I was taught growing up. Parents, teachers, media, all told me I had to be careful not to get raped. Because I was a girl. And the responsibility was on me.
The fact that so much of preventing objectification, rape, abuse, and violence is on the potential female victim is such bullshit.
"Laugh, Mom" , who has three sons, pleads with other parents of boys:
We need to stop letting it be our sons.
We need to teach our sons that no means no. And that silence means no. And that drunkenness means no. And that being passed out means no. And that "I don't know" or "I'm not sure" or "maybe we shouldn't do this" means no.
We need to teach our sons that women and girls are actual people. They're not just bodies. They're not just holes. They're not inanimate objects to be used at will.
We need to teach our sons that degrading women isn't funny in any context.
We need to teach our sons that watching something happen and not intervening is every bit as bad as participating.
We need to teach our sons what it means to be men.
I don't have any daughters. I am not tasked with teaching them how to try not to get raped. But this isn't a problem with our daughters. We shouldn't have to teach them how to stop rape.
We need to teach our sons.
So much of this, it hurts. In fact, we all need to take more responsibility for this shit: parents, schools, media, and especially men/boys. And like I said above, it not just about rape – it's much bigger.
Please do your part.
Soundtrack for this post: Suggestion by Fugazi