Actually, You Can Teach Boys Not To Rape

Actually, You Can Teach Boys Not To Rape

We cannot afford a generation full of Brock Turners.

At this point, most of us, if not all, know who Brock Turner is. I think it’s safe to say the mention of his name or especially of the “Brock Turner Family Support” page will make anybody’s blood boil. (P.S. If you don’t know what the Brock Turner Family Support and you’re in the mood to have a minor stroke, go to Facebook and check it out.) I do want to applaud everyone who has taken a stand and spoken out against the injustice in this case. A lot of times, we get caught up in how much the system sucks and we just get bitter and think there’s nothing we can do. However, all of the uproar about the Turner case has been heard, and the “honorable” judge Aaron Persky has been removed from his latest rape case. Petitions have started to have him removed from the bench indefinitely, but for now we have this small victory, and that in itself should be celebrated.

While that is exciting, we also need to examine the problem here. One thing that I loathe more than almost anything else is when someone mentions something about rape culture or how we need to start teaching boys not to rape, instead of teaching girls how not be raped and someone else replies with, “You can’t tell a rapist not to rape any more than you can teach a murderer not to murder someone.” Let me explain why that’s not true. Rape and murder are a lot alike in the severity of the crimes. When you murder someone, you may take their life, but when you rape someone you still kill them, only now they have to live with that trauma forever. However, rapists and murderers aren’t exactly alike.

Rapists are not usually scary men lurking in the bushes. The majority of rape and sexual assaults are done by close family members. Rapists are uncles, fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters. Rapists are neighbors. Rapists are teachers. Rapists are boyfriends and husbands who think that their wives or girlfriends owe them sex simply because that is their job. (I’ve heard stories of middle schoolers forcing their girlfriends into doing sexual things.) Rapists are people like Brock Turner who are successful, popular people who have been told their entire lives that consequences don’t matter. Rapists are everyday people, who were, even unintentionally, raised to be rapists.

So, how exactly do we teach boys not to rape?

1. Teach them to respect women.

That means leading by example. If your son sees you catcalling women or talking to your wife like you own her, what do you think that teaches him? When you say things like “I’m the man and you have to listen to me” you’re teaching him that it’s OK to ignore the woman’s feelings and consent. When he gets to be dating age, remind him of how important it is to respect women. Remind him that she doesn’t owe him anything, and that pressuring her into something is just a bad as straight-up forcing her. Have these conversations.

2. Teach them what consent means.

It’s important to teach consent at a young age. Make sure your child is polite, and don’t ever let them be rude to adults, but never force your child to show affection. If your child doesn’t want to hug or kiss their aunt and grandma or whoever, don’t make them. If you’re tickling them, and they ask you to stop, then stop. Don’t let them think consent is ever not important.

3. Make them take the blame for their mistakes.

I think this is probably the biggest issue in the Brock Turner case. He has never had to accept responsibility for his actions. Enough with boys will be boys nonsense. Hold boys accountable when they do small things and they won’t think they’re just too good to get away with big things.

4. Stop defending rapists, just because you like them.

People are so angry that people are supporting Brock Turner because he had so much potential and talent, but yet rushed to Bill Cosby’s defense? Front Porch Step was one of my favorite singers on this planet, but when multiple girls came forth with the same story, similar screenshots, and voice recordings, I realized that maybe my idol wasn’t all I thought he was. I didn’t rush to his defense and say that over a dozen girls were probably lying. Stop teaching your sons that your accomplishments or status exempt you from anything.

5. Finally, stop victim blaming.

If I hear one more person say, “How do girls expect boys respect them if they don’t even respect themselves?” I am going to scream. A. I determine if I respect myself, not you. B. Boys should respect me because I am a person. Let me remind you, rape is not about sex. Boys do not rape girls because they’re showing their thighs or shoulders. Boys rape so they can feel in control, so they can feel powerful. Every year at Slut Walk (an event designed to increase awareness about rape culture) women show up in the outfits they were raped in. So often, those outfits are sweatpants and baggy shirts and pajamas, because the rapist isn’t concerned with what the victim is wearing. Even if he were, the victim didn’t ask for that any more than a person wearing a nice coat asked to be mugged.

Yes, yes you can teach boys not to rape. You should. You need to. We cannot afford a generation full of Brock Turners. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.

Cover Image Credit: Douglas Wilson

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A New Refugee Crisis Is Brewing, And It Will Start In South Africa

White South African farmers are to be forced off their land by the government.

A lot has been going on in South Africa recently. You may not have heard of any of it though, as the countries issues are apparently not much of a concern for American media. What I am talking about is the planned, legal, massive expropriation of farmlands owned by white South Africans.

The action has been officially sanctioned by South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa. The reasoning for the action lies in the history of the nation itself. White settlers first arrived in the southernmost country in Africa in the 1650’s. After achieving freedom from Britain and official nationhood, a Jim Crow-esque system of racial inequality was established to ensure white-minority dominance over the region. Apartheid, as it was called, ended in 1994 and a black-majority rule was established under the African National Congress party. As such, most of the productive farmland still lay in the hands of old white South African families.

The new president intends to rectify this in a reckless move. All white farmland is slated to be taken by the state and redistributed to black families. This will most likely devastate the country’s economy and severely hurt their chances of staving off the wide-scale droughts that are on their way. One only needs to look to Zimbabwe for proof of these undesirable outcomes. That country’s government tried the same policies against their white farmers years ago. After failed crops, poor management, and major losses for the economy the new government their recently invited all former white farmers to return to their homes. I don’t understand how South Africa cannot learn from Zimbabwe’s mistake.

I understand the reasoning behind it. Centuries under a colonial yoke would make anyone hate their former oppressors. That is the key word, however, former. The current white population of South Africa was born into a system, just like every other human. They live their lives out objectively within that system. Violence does not recompense violence, and the move will surely lead to violence. Ever since the end of apartheid black-on-white violence has steadily increased anyway, with many attacks occurring on farms. Some estimates now put the toll at more than one white South African murdered per week.

If this plan is followed through with, the world will be faced with yet another massive refugee crisis. Tens of thousands will be displaced, and many thousands more will most likely seek refugee status to escape from the prejudice and hatred that they now face in their own country. Thankfully, Australia has a plan in the works to implement a fast-track visa program for displaced South Africans.

Regardless of race, religion, history, whatever, all people deserve to have the rights to pursue happiness and live in peace. This situation is no different.

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Why I Support Walkouts for Gun Control

Our lives are more important.

On Thursday March 15, students from high schools and colleges nationwide arranged a walkout in protest of the lack of stricter gun regulations. I participated in at my school because I believe that we need to enact more stringent gun regulations because our current policies are failing. There should not be this many mass shootings, and children should not be dying from gun violence. In the United States, we have had more mass shooters than any other country. Thoughts and prayers for the victims are not going to make that number go down; policy changes will. I support students walking out of their classrooms because they realize that their lives and their education are more important than someone’s second amendment rights.

Whenever the gun control debate comes up after a mass shooting, we are always told not to get political and that we should only offer thoughts and prayers as a sign of respect for the victims. No, policy changes that make it harder for anyone to obtain a gun in the United States is the ultimate sign of respect for the victims. Policy changes show that we respect the victims enough that we do not want to create more. I think the most tragic shootings are the ones that happen at schools such as Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Stoneman Douglas because these children were at school to get an education and their lives were cut short. We have our priorities backward because we should value a child’s education and life above the ability to easily get a gun. Arming teachers is not the solution because it only creates an environment where students feel unsafe and the teachers may not be able to handle the responsibility of carrying a gun. When your second amendment rights start to interfere with an individual’s right to life we must do something.

Gun control needs to happen, and gun control measures have been useful in countries such as Japan and Australia. Additionally, we need to start changing our mindset about what it means to be an American citizen and what it means to be a man in American society. In our country, guns are tied to being a proud American. However, this cultural mindset has become toxic because we ignore those who lost their lives in mass shootings. We need to stop equating caring about the lives of others with being a bad American. You are an evil American if you choose to ignore how exercising the second amendment affects other people. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution in 1789, and our world has changed drastically since then. Since our world has changed drastically, we need to start viewing owning a gun as a privilege, not a right because we have normalized gun violence for too long.

I am glad to see students walk out of their classrooms and stand up not only for their rights but also stand up for what they believe. To those administrators who attempted to prevent students from doing so, shame on you because your students have the right to peaceful protest. Do not stop them from doing so because you disagree with their political beliefs, instead encourage them to protest because they need to be able to advocate for themselves throughout their lives.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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