Too often, responsibility for a boy’s behaviour falls on girls. in the playground this manifests as boys playing rougher than girls and the girls being held responsible should they get hurt. It manifests as ‘boys will be boys’.
At the adult level this manifests as a rape victim being blamed for tempting or teasing the man, or dressing like ‘she wanted to be raped’.
The lack of responsibility for our boys managing better their strength leads to a lifetime of blame avoidance for the impact of that strength. It also leads to the rape culture all-too prevalent in our society.
Sexual assault on women is not about sex; it is about power. Boys are taught that physical strength can be used to achieve ends, and that it is a positive thing to laud that power over others. Very often this means bullying girls and, later in life, women, through exercising physical power.
This article from the very clever Kasey Edwards articulates the feeling that, yes, we are indeed not raising our boys to take responsibility for their own behaviour, and often laying the blame for a man’s behaviour at the foot of the woman.
We see this in rape culture as a beaten woman ‘deserving it’, a raped woman ‘asking for it’. It even comes up (with thanks to the anonymity that cowards use on the internet) in the form of public figures – especially those espousing gender equality – who ‘need need to be raped’.
It is unacceptable.
Rape culture, the abuse of women, and women being to blame for men’s bad behaviour, has got to stop. It stops with us at the family level.
The way we raise our sons has everything to do with the way men treat women. Let’s revisit the way we raise our boys.
(With credit to Kasey Edwards and Daily Life for the accompanying photo)