Rape Isn’t a Women’s Issue

Earlier today on twitter there was a lot of back and forth about smart partying for college kids. They suggested designating a sober partier, never leaving your drink, not having drunk sex and there were a few nods to making sure other people stayed safe. There was also the statistic that 50% of sexual assaults in college occur when people are drinking.

I’m sure most college graduates find the 50% number shockingly low.

I worry though that we’re having the wrong conversation. Maybe because October is fraught with pinkwashing I’m extra prickly to messages that purport to help women but succeed only in making us victims.

The conversation that mothers should be having with their children is simple. We need to tell our sons that they cannot sexually assault girls.

Do our girls need to be savvy? Certainly they do. Our daughters will get savvy quickly because at tender ages men will surely give them unwanted attention. They will learn to be a little fearful, they know they are physically smaller and weaker than men, and they are fully aware that love and sex aren’t one in the same. Girls learn this from catcalls, boys learn this from jokes about dropping the soap in the shower.

Do we need to teach our daughters that there are multiple dangers in binge drinking? Absolutely. We need to teach our sons the same thing. Why aren’t our sons being told that their lives will be ruined if they misinterpret a “no” for a “maybe later”.

Everyone is so obsessed with protecting the virginity of our daughters that we’ve totally neglected the important conversations that must be had with our sons.

Our sons need to know that if a girl is hemming and hawing about sex they need to get up and walk away. The boys need to know that sex with a drunk girl is not consensual. The kids, all the kids, need to know that drunk sex with anyone is non consensual.

Talk to your sons and daughters about the age of consent in your state.

When horrible people are sentenced to prison we make jokes about anal rape in the showers. Though we may have some level of blood lust for the worst offenders we’re sending a message to everyone that rape is a deserved punishment for bad people.

It follows then that when we call girls slutty or skanky (and I’m totally guilty of this) then they become bad people, and we’re conditioned to believe that bad people ought to be assaulted.

I know how to prevent sexual assault, it’s not all a girl’s job.

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Comments 8

  1. This post is not only great, it’s necessary. I do agree with you that most people concentrate on the females of this issue and teach their daughters what to look out for and don’t teach their sons what not to do. I have taught my sons what not to do and that no means no, no matter what, but that’s only because I, like so many other women have experienced sexual abuse/assault at some point in my life. I’ve even heard some young men talking about rape in a joking manner and I have never hesitated to let them know it’s never a joke.
    Again, great post!

  2. Honey, your post is hilariously and wildly misguided.  I’m telling my son not that he shouldn’t rape women but that if he EVER has sex with a woman who has drunk alcohol, he is by default guilty of rape if she regrets it the next morning even if she jumped him and screamed “yes, yes, yes!” at the top of her lungs while it was happening.  In fact, he is by default guilty of rape if ever a woman has morning-after regrets and desires to shove off her guilty feelings by making their encounter into something else.  Any sexual encounter, no matter how consensual, carries the risk that he will end up in jail for the next five years because of the way the laws are currently written.  (Did you know that in my state, if my husband and I have drunken sex, he is legally guilty of rape if I choose to prosecute him?)  I know plenty of girls who claimed to have been “raped” in college, and 90% of them categorize getting drunk out of their minds and having sex with anyone interested as rape on the guy’s part.  As for the remaining 10% that WERE raped, most of them were raped when they passed out during a consensual orgy that then became non-consensual for the next however many nearly-as-drunk guys–and exactly ONE girl who was date-raped.

    Rape happens.  But slapping that label on any regrettable moronic decision cheapens the meaning of the word, and it puts honest, respectful men in a very precarious position, that they must live in fear of the word “rape” that can at any time destroy their lives.

  3. I agree.  I feel sometimes like the weight of all girl “issues” is on my shoulders with 2 girls.  If parents are teaching boys not to rape girls…I feel like a little of that weight might be lifted.

  4. Rape
    is NOT about sex, it’s about ‘control’. Control is something that
    appears in people who have very specific behavior issues, the behaviors
    in children who bully and who harm animals at rather young ages. Having
    sex in a drunken stupor is NOT the same
    as rape just because those involved don’t or barely remember and then
    are upset it happened when sober. We need to teach children of both
    genders the right and wrong of bulling, of trying to control and
    manipulate and cause injury. Statistics show that those who rape are
    those who deliberately caused harm at young ages and are also capable of
    other kinds of harm.

  5. Your gender bias is deplorable. Women can and do rape men. Men can and do rape men. Women can and do rape women. Will teaching young boys to not rape women stop men from raping men, women from raping women or women from raping men? It will not. You only addressed 1/4 of the possible gender combinations in the traditional model of 1 on 1 rape. You have furthered the stereotypes that only men are capable of sexual assaults and that only women are able to be victimized sexually. The conversation you should be having with your children is “Don’t rape anyone and if you are raped, report it.”

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