6 Things little boys learn that contribute to rape culture
It's important for parents to make sure that their little boy's learn to respect women and do their part in eradicating rape culture.
All women, regardless of race or creed, are affected by rape culture, or a culture wherein sexual violence against women is normal, and sometimes even excused.
Rape culture also extends to the way that some women are treated as simply objects of desire for men to acquire and also to objectifying behavior such as catcalling or victim blaming.
Of course, no parent wants their son to grow up treating women like objects or being disrespectful to women. That’s why knowing and avoiding the behaviors that contribute to rape culture is something that mums and dads need to do.
What things contribute to rape culture?
At a young age, boys are exposed to a lot of various types of behavior, either from their friends, relatives, or the media, that might seem innocent but in reality, contribute to the propagation of rape culture.
Constantly being bombarded by these things can sometimes make young boys feel that disrespecting or abusing women is normal or acceptable behavior.
That’s why mums and dads need to actively teach their young boys how to treat women with the respect that they deserve, as well as do their part in eradicating a culture of rape and violence against women.
Here are some things to keep in mind to this effect, when raising your boys:
1. Teach your boys about consent
At a young age, children should be taught about consent. They need to learn that any form of affection isn’t mandatory, and that it requires consent. This means that if they’re not comfortable with kissing or hugging someone, even if it’s a close relative, then they shouldn’t be forced to do so.
It’s their body, and it’s their choice whether or not they want to show affection towards someone. Letting your son know about consent early on can really help guide them down the path of respectable and accepted behavior.
2. No woman ‘deserves it,’ and the term “boys will be boys” is a myth
This behaviour is a manifestation of the culture of victim-blaming that’s still prevalent in modern society. Women, regardless of how they act or what they wear, don’t ‘deserve it.’
Boys should be taught to never blame the victim for causing harm to themselves since it simply dismisses the perpetrator of the crime as someone who was ‘tempted’ or ‘invited’ into committing the crime.
“Boys should be boys” isn’t acceptable behavior, and parents need to stop using it to excuse their child’s bad behavior.
3. Girls don’t dress for boys
At a young age, girls are taught to dress modestly since “boys might have naughty thoughts” about them. This isn’t acceptable behavior because in the first place, boys shouldn’t think of girls as simply objects of desire.
Young boys should be taught to respect all women, regardless of what they’re wearing. Just because a woman is wearing skimpy clothes doesn’t mean it’s an invitation for men to abuse her.
4. Picking on someone does NOT mean you like them
This behaviour is commonly seen in movies and TV shows wherein boys show affection for the girls that they like by making fun of them or picking on them.
This leads to cases wherein young girls feel victimized or bullied by a boy classmate, but her feelings are simply dismissed because the boy’s excuse is that “he likes her.”
Bullying, teasing, or making fun of someone isn’t romantic at all; it’s a form of violence.
5. No means NO
Have you ever watched those movies wherein the lead actor eventually “gets the girl” after being persistent, even if the girl initially told him no? It might seem romantic at first glance, since the the guy finally got to be with the girl that he wanted after being so persistent.
These depictions of romance, especially in media, is problematic since it teaches young boys that no doesn’t always mean no. This means that when someone turns them down, they will do everything that they can in order for the other person to reciprocate their affection, even if it means drastic measures.
Mums and dads, let your young boys know that no really means no, and that if someone turns down their affection, they should just learn to let it go.
6. Consent is not one-off
Consent isn’t a one-time deal. If a person agrees to let you hug or kiss them, it doesn’t mean that you can hug or kiss them whenever you please. And this is an important lesson that all boys need to learn.
Consent is something that needs to be asked every time, especially if it comes to things that concern a person’s bodily autonomy.