The United States (The Gaslamp Post) – She cried rape, her accusers went before a judge, there was a trial, they were weighed, and they were found guilty. Two weeks ago, a judge in Ohio found two accused teen athletes guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl.
The case was highly publicized and drew both local support of the accused, as well as activists from all corners of the country. Even the notorious hacker collective Anonymous was reported to have become involved, and had publicized things that may not have been readily known to the public.
So now as the dust settles, as to be expected everyone’s got an opinion. Coming as no surprise, a liberal perspective coming from academia no less, thinks that they have the answer!
Or poses a question, rather; how can I raise my boy not to rape, nor be a bystander?
Rebecca Hains PhD, self-described expert in children’s media culture and professor of advertising and media studies has recently been featured as a guest blogger, with her article recently posted in the Christian Science Monitor, that she thinks spearheads this story. In addressing this story, Ms. Hains PhD says that although the before-mentioned sexual assault occurred, males who were standing by could have done something to prevent it.
In the Steubenville, Ohio, rape trial, the social and digital media trail proved that many boys were complicit in the rapes of Jane Doe — not just the two who were found guilty. Chillingly, these boys seem like they could be anyone’s son. As a result, today, many parents are asking: How can I raise my boy the right way — to become a young man who will neither rape nor be a casual bystander to rape?
While parents tend to think that they’re doing a good job in raising their sons, it’s our culture that is pushing not only our boys to rape, but to stand by and allow it to happen, according to Ms. Hains.
The Steubenville boys’ families likely thought they were doing a great job raising their sons. But something is wrong with our society: girls are so sexualized and dehumanized by our culture that unless it is directly and regularly addressed at home, boys can easily internalize the attitude that girls are sub-human; Sex objects, rather than respectable subjects.
And as the Steubenville case shows, once this attitude is internalized, boys think raping girls is not the problem, but rather getting caught.
Supporting this belief of Ms. Hains, that our culture has stacked the deck against females in our society, is her take on how the reporting was prioritized in the media.
CNN committed a major gaffe in their reporting on the sentencing, focusing not on the victim’s vindication and the possible outcomes for her, but rather on how difficult it was to watch the young rapists’ lives falling apart. According to The Huffington Post’s report on CNN’s coverage:
“[T]he effects of the rape on the victim seemed to be an afterthought: ‘It was incredibly emotional, it was difficult for anyone in there to watch those boys break down,’ Harlow said. ‘[It was] also difficult, of course, for the victim’s family.’”
The victim shouldn’t be an afterthought in the media coverage. Her vindication despite our broken culture of rape, her prognosis for a recovery from her trauma, and the possible consequences she and her family may face in their small town as they move forward should be central to the coverage.
With a culture that has such a messed up attitude towards rape that even the judge and CNN are making major missteps, how do we answer the question posed earlier? How do we raise our boys into young men who will neither rape nor be casual bystanders to rape — who understand both that “no means no” and, more importantly, that consent requires an enthusiastic “yes”?
The answer says Ms. Hains, is to raise our sons with two very basic principles; consent and respect. When nurtured in an age appropriate sense, a boy will grow to understand both concepts. Ms. Haines gives the following two examples from her own personal life, dealing with both consent and respect.
For example, my four-year-old son loves to hug and kiss his friends. He is sweet and affectionate, and when he first sees a friend or when it’s time to say goodbye, he wants nothing more but to wrap his arms around that friend and give him or her a big kiss.
Sometimes, his friends reciprocate, but sometimes, they clearly don’t want the physical contact. So, since about the time when he turned four-years-old, and he seemed old enough to understand, we’ve told him that he needs to ask his friends for permission first. We taught him to ask, “Can I give you a hug and a kiss?” We’ve also told him he needs to respect their answers, even if it’s disappointing, and I’m glad to see that this is now his usual approach. He gets their consent.
The she gives her lesson to her son about respect:
When my son was three-and-a-half, he became interested in wearing nail polish on his toenails and fingernails after seeing me get a summertime mani-pedi. I agreed to paint his nails, but before sending him off to preschool, I prepared him for the possibility of pushback from his friends or even his teachers. “Some people at school might not like your nails,” I warned him. “But you like them, right?”
Admiring his shiny blue nail polish, he told me, “I really do!”
“So,” I coached him, “if anybody says they don’t like your fingernails, you tell them: ‘It’s MY body!’ Because it’s your body, and you get to decide what happens to it. No one else does. Can we practice? I will pretend to be another kid who doesn’t like your nails, and you can tell me, ‘It’s MY body!’ Okay?”
A few practice scenarios later, and he was great at saying, “It’s MY body!” as a confident response to comments that disrespected his right to make decisions about his own body.
While to most in our society, this is considered brainwashing, Ms. Hains says that starting them with this sort of programming will pave the way for future conversations, later on down the road. She says that with the “terribly mixed messages” that we give growing boys in our society, the message of consent and respect “are not options, they’re necessities.”
I’m sorry… WHO’S giving the mixed message here?
While that’s a great story and all, aside from Ms. Hains’ statement about consent and respect being necessities; this article of hers is 100% horseshit. Those without the ability to analyze as they take something in may not have seen anything wrong with what she was saying, and that’s perfectly fine.
That’s what I’m here for.
So let’s take this from the top…
There were others there who watched what was going on and didn’t do anything to stop it. Our boys need not only to grow up to not rape, but also not be bystanders when they see it occurring.
The media is to blame for the skewed and corrupted views of our boys, and doesn’t consider rape as serious as they should based on the order of how the details of the case were listed. Girls are dehumanized by our society and boys see them as sub-human – hence why girls are raped.
They (boys) worry more about getting caught for raping girls than actually raping them.
She (Hains) is positive that the victim will recover despite our “broken rape culture” and she believes she has found the key to how we should train up our sons. We should do like she does – go out for “mani-pedis”, send our boys off to school after letting them paint their finger and toe nails, and talk to them about holding back their affections.
First off, we’re forgetting something here; we’ve completely left off the context of the entire situation. According to what I’ve read, these were teenagers who were drinking alcohol and out and about, going from one party to another. During two different situations, two separate teen athletes took what are being described as inappropriate liberties with a girl who was reported to have been unable to consent – or so the story goes.
The DA and prosecutors declined to go after the guys who watched and took cell phone pictures and video of the second instance in order to cut a deal to have them testify against the two accused. Why this would be necessary is curious, especially since according to some accounts, the girl was not unconscious, as some witnesses claimed.
Don’t complain about the media or the judge in what he said, take it up with the DA who decided against going after the “bystanders.” There had to be a reason that the prosecution took that path as a means to a conviction. If they hadn’t, is there a chance that there wouldn’t have been?
Next was the claim that the media is to blame for the sexualization of girls in our society, and how they are being viewed as sub-human. Excuse me? The MEDIA is to blame? Have you seen how teen girls conduct themselves today?
Based on first-hand observation, I see girls talking back to their parents, dressing like tramps, lying and manipulating in order to get their way, stealing – you name it. Our 15-year-old had a friend who we no longer allow him to be around, because of a stint not too long ago, where she jumped on a train and went with a friend to meet a 19-year-old she met on Facebook. She took the SIM card out of her phone, stole some money, and off she went.
The guy who she went to meet thankfully called the police when she arrived and she got the opportunity to spend the night in custody until her father arrived.
The media and our society are responsible for sexualizing our girls? Oh please – girls these days sexualize themselves. Piss poor parenting coupled with this idea that somehow girl-power equates freedom without responsibility is what led to this. Don’t give me this media and society did this to you nonsense.
Does that mean that they deserve to be sexual assaulted? No, OF COURSE NOT, but this sort of behavior sure the hell won’t help!
“Broken rape culture” of ours? Seriously? Where the hell are we, Saudi Arabia? Dubai? New Delhi? Bangladesh? Oh please, you’d never guess that rape was so prevalent and women were so oppressed in our society by the way kids are making videos of themselves screwing and girls texting naked pictures of themselves to boys.
If rape and sexual assault was the scourge of our society as Ms. Hains claims, one would think that the opposite would be true. Hell, rather than advertising what they have, you’d think that these teen girls would be wearing bukhas or something.
Fact-of-the-matter is that we don’t live in a broken, rape culture. When I find stories of high school girls purposefully getting involved with teachers and then using that situation to extort grades and money, I don’t buy that crap for a second.
Of course they’d do that; they’re not stupid. Little girls wanting to be big girls, it’s a story as old as time. Hell, the Police wrote a song about it back in the 1980’s.
When they see how mommy screwed over daddy, one can’t help but realize that someone had to teach them how to do it.
Tell me again how the media and society is responsible for this?
So then Ms. Hains goes on about respect and consent, and demonstrates her technique in explaining how to raise up a boy to not only understand consent, but respect others. While her lessons may have worked in the short term, in using this technique with a male child, she’s only setting herself up for disappointment later.
Sissy-boys who paint their nails and don’t take chances won’t give you grandkids, mom. If anything, one thing that boys who do that sort of thing learn is that walking around with painted nails is a good way to get your ass kicked. What happens when mom gets a make-over? Is he going to want to wear eye shadow and lipstick too?
Good luck telling the guy who was looking for a fight, “it’s MY body!” Let me know when that happens, I want to come and watch. I got $5 bucks on the other guy.
And that brings me to my point… While respect and consent, I agree are crucial, this way of going about it is not only sending the wrong message, but sowing the seeds of disaster for later on. The way that Hains is interpreting this story is not only wrong, but destructive!
Popular belief is that a woman is never at fault for her being raped, and I agree with that wholeheartedly – but we’re forgetting about responsibility. Often times when a situation like this arises, whenever logic is interjected into the analysis, right away the activist-minded jump up and shout, “OMG, YOU’RE BLAMING THE VICTIM!”
Let’s look at this situation and think about something for a moment; these KIDS were DRINKING ALCOHOL. Did someone put a gun to the victim’s head and make her drink? Was she abducted and brought to those parties?
Traditionally, when we think of rape, we think of some poor girl walking back to her dorm room or some poor lady leaving work, and trying to get to her car in a dark parkinglot. We find stories of some piece of crap forcing himself on his daughter or a scumbag who slips something into some unsuspecting girl’s drink at a bar.
When someone willfully participates in potentially risky behavior, consequences can only be expected. But, but, but… it’s MY body! Of course it is, and one has a right to be secure in their person and NOT be violated, but unfortunately there are those who simply do not care.
You have a right to walk down the street, and you have a right to have your money on you, but if you just hit the lottery do you go strolling down a dimly lit street in a bad neighborhood? Why not?
Sure, you have the right to be secure in your person, a right to possess your money, and certainly the right to travel and move about freely, but who in their right mind takes that chance? OMG, YOU’RE BLAMING THE VICTIM!!!!
Let’s perform a little thought experiment here for a second, shall we?
Let’s say there is a guy in his garage, putting gasoline in his lawnmower. That’s a fairly common practice, isn’t it? Let’s say that while he’s filling his tank, there is a static electrical spark which ignites the fuel vapors which causes him to drop the can, and the spilled gasoline ignites, setting both he and his garage on fire. He survives but with severe burns.
Let’s say that another guy was in his own garage, also putting gasoline in his lawnmower, but he was smoking a cigarette. His cigarette ignites the fuel vapors and it results in the same conclusion, he is badly burned.
Some would say that the second guy had it coming because everyone knows that smoking around gasoline is a bad idea. Bad things can happen when fire and open gasoline interact. But why is that?
Are not both equally tragic? In both cases, a man was burned.
Going back to what I was saying before, there is a difference between fault and responsibility. By raising our daughters to not realize that predators are out there, and there aren’t consequences for bad decisions, we are giving them unrealistic expectations.
Predators exist in every avenue of existence; they have been here since the beginning of time and are going to be around long after we’re gone. Willfully ignoring them and behaving like they aren’t there only invites them to take advantage of us.
Yes ladies, you have a right to go out, have fun, and not be violated – but taking part in risky behavior only puts you at risk. Benjamin Franklin said that, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”
Here’s another thing that really strikes me as funny; 50-some-odd years ago, feminists were out there burning their bras, rallying against the institution of marriage, decrying it as an evil, oppressive, patriarchal system, dangerous to women. Gloria Steinem was credited with saying that, “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”
Now here we are years later, and a liberal academic is crying – where are the boys to save us?
Am I getting this right? The sense of responsibility has so far departed from American women that once they beat down and chased off their men, that when things don’t go to plan they seriously expect men to come back and save them?
Here’s a thought, or two rather, as to why none of the guys who were there didn’t stop their buddies from finger-banging the victim. One could be that they didn’t realize that what was happening was a crime (not saying not a bad thing, just not a crime) or two, why would they? Who was she to them that they would?
I realize that this sounds cold, but we’re being realistic here. Girls have put themselves out there, dressing and acting like tramps, teen pregnancy rates aren’t falling, and the CDC now reports that we have record VD cases in the U.S.
That’s girl power? THAT’S freedom?
That sort of behavior doesn’t command respect. If anything, it makes others form an opinion of you and therefore act accordingly. How is someone to respect you if first you do not respect yourself? Why is what happened in the Stubenville case surprising?
Back in my day, parents would have taken their kids aside and said, “see? That’s what happens when you do things like that.” Now a days, we have people like Rebecca Hains PhD. telling us that everyone else should act as a safety net and be responsible for some girl’s bad decisions.
That sounds like irresponsible, feminist bullshit if I’ve ever heard it. Individuals learn by having to suffer the consequences of their actions, and hopefully all parties involved realize now what a bad idea their decisions were that night. Maybe tonight as they sit in their bedrooms and jail cells, they’re thinking to themselves, “that was stupid, I’ll never do that again.”