How We Teach Our Sons To Rape

12 Apr

I have a son.

He is two years old.

He was born into a universe where time happens to be linear, which means that he is growing older with every passing minute. In a little over ten years’ time, he will be a teenager.

When my son is a teenager, he will almost certainly go to parties. He will drink. He might experiment with drugs. He will try to rebel against authority figures, myself included. He will test boundaries.

This is what teenagers do. These things are normal.

Do I necessarily want him to do these things? No, not really. But these are the things that I did when I was in high school. These are things that, as Jacqueline Warwick points out, serve as a sort of rite of passage for North American teenagers,  things that are “normalized and celebrated in countless coming of age stories.”

It won’t matter whether or not I give my son permission to do these things; he will lie to me or otherwise deceive me and do them anyway.

This is what teenagers do. These things are normal.

Someday, my son’s body will be flooded with hormones, and he will want to engage in sexual acts. If he is heterosexual, these sexual acts will be with girls. Someday my son will want to impress his peers, and he might not be sure how to do so. Someday, as part of his ongoing effort to learn how to live in this world, my teenage son might try on new personalities until he figures out which one fits him best. Some of these personalities might be aggressive, self-destructive or otherwise frightening to me as a parent.

This is what teenagers do. These things are normal.

When my teenage son goes parties and drinks, he will most likely encounter girls who are also drunk. If he is heterosexual, he will want to be physically close to these girls. He might kiss them. He might even do more than that.

If and when he engages in sexual acts at parties, my son will almost certainly be egged on, or at least encouraged, by his peers.

And will my son, whose brain will not yet have the ability to reason the way an adult’s would, be able know when he is about to cross a line?

Will he know how to tell if a girl cannot give consent?

In the heat of the moment, when my son is drunk, and is faced with an attractive girl who does not currently have all of her faculties intact, and all of his friends are telling him to just fuck her already, will he be able to say no?

I don’t know.

My son will grow up in a society that teaches him that popularity among his peers is to be gained at all costs. He will grow up consuming media that is saturated with the idea that male sexual aggression is normal, even attractive. He will learn over and over that girls are not only beautiful and desirable, but also a commodity to be purchased with compliments, attention and gifts. He will learn that girls can be worn down, that their opinions and thoughts are changeable, inconsistent. He will learn that girls are prizes to be won rather than people in their own right.

My son will grow up in a world that teaches him that rape is something that happens at gun point, late at night, in a dark alley somewhere. He will be taught that rape involves physical force and coercion. He will be taught that women risk rape when they go out alone, when they wear the wrong clothing, or when they do any of the other myriad things that put them at “risk.”

My son will grow up with books, films and music that teach him that sex is a conquest, rather than something that is born out of mutual desire and consent. And when I talk about these books, films and music, I’m not even referring to the ones that are necessarily violent or overtly degrading to women. I’m talking about the more insidious forms of misogyny and rape culture, the ones that we consumed so long ago and so many times that they seem totally harmless.

I’m talking about the ending of John Hughes’ Sixteen Candleswhen Caroline is passed out drunkenly at a party and her boyfriend, Jake, the fucking romantic hero of the movie, says to his real love interest, Sam, “I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to.” Jake then concocts a plan that involves The Geek driving a barely-conscious Caroline off in her parents’ car.

The Geek and Caroline have sex. The next morning she says that she doesn’t remember what happened, but she thinks she liked it.

This is portrayed as being cute and romantic.

This is rape culture.

I’m also talking about Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, a book which many, many men in my life have assured me is an accurate representation of how the contemporary male brain works. I’m talking about passages like this, in which the protagonist talks about his teenage self trying to touch his girlfriend’s breasts:

“These were the questions boys asked other boys at my school (a school that contained only boys): ‘Are you getting any?’; ‘Does she let you have any?’; ‘How much does she let you have?’; and so on. Sometimes the questions were derisory, and expected the answer ‘No’: ‘You’re not getting anything, are you?’; ‘You haven’t even had a bit of tit, have you?’ … Attack and defence, invasion and repulsion —  it was as if breasts were little pieces of property that had been unlawfully annexed by the opposite sex — they were rightfully ours and we wanted them back.”

And when this is how our boys are taught to view women’s bodies, it makes a sick sort of sense that they would they would want to document their ‘victories.’ It makes sense that they would want a sort of trophy, like a stuffed stag’s head to mount above their mantel, to use as proof to their peers that they’d succeeded in their conquest. The way that teenage boys are taught to view girls and their bodies makes it easier for me to wrap my head around why they would even think about photographing their rape victim and then spreading those pictures around on social media.

I will try to teach my son about consent. I will try to teach him about respect. I will try to teach him about bodily autonomy and the evils of peer pressure and the fact that his actions have consequences. I will try to teach him how to be a kind, thoughtful person. But I am only one voice, and when my son is a teenager, mine will be the voice that he wants to ignore the most.

The truth is that someday my son might commit rape. And if that day ever comes, he may not even realize that he is a rapist. His victim may not realize that she has been raped. Certainly she would feel uncomfortable, maybe even deeply frightened and unhappy about what has happened, but I’m not confident that she would be able to identify and articulate what she has experienced as rape. Everything and everyone, their peers, the media, our culture, would collude to convince them that what has happened is not a crime.

I woke up this morning to the news that yet another girl was raped, had the details of her rape passed around and celebrated on social media, and was harassed until she committed suicide. Her name was Audrie Pott. She was fifteen years old.

Audrie Pott. Amanda Todd. Rehtaeh Parsons. Steubenville’s Jane Doe.

When I see these cases discussed on social media, I keep seeing the same themes coming up.

Where were these teenager’s parents when they were out drinking and partying?

How did the boys’ parents raise such monsters?

Why does this keep happening?

The fact is that these boys aren’t monsters. These boys are the end sum of all of the lessons about sexuality, consent and masculinity that society has been shoving down their throats since the day they were born. That is why this keeps happening, and will continue to happen until we make serious changes about how we talk to our children about sex, empathy and respect.

If you dismiss these boys as monsters, if you assume that these assaults are simply isolated crimes committed by teenage sociopaths, then you are part of the problem.

If these boys are monsters, it’s because we, as a society, made them that way.

I am only just realizing that I’m not sure how to raise my son not to be a monster.

My son is two years old.

He loves me more than anything.

He is a good boy.

I don’t know how to make sure that he stays that way.

Rape-culture-pic

155 Responses to “How We Teach Our Sons To Rape”

  1. jennie April 15, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    I feel you, I really do. The extent to which I and his other parents are not the sole lenses through which our kid learns about the world freaks me out just about every day.

    I mean, I trust his dad and his mom and his step-dad to teach him to think about other people, to respect other people’s boundaries, to never touch another person without express consent or possibly because that person is in immediate physical danger, to stand up for other people and to take care of people. I trust our immediate communities. But I also know he watches movies, listens to music, and reads books that I can’t control (and I don’t want to: he lives in this culture and needs to learn to navigate his way through it.) He’s seen Beauty and the Beast, and a bunch of other vintage Disney films that have questionable gender politics. He likes action/adventure movies which rarely have more than one woman in them. He’s going to see Sixteen Candles or High Fidelity someday.

    And I worry about all these influences I can’t control.

    It seems to me that our generation and those subsequent received a strong message from the society around us that intoxicated driving is morally unacceptable. I don’t know anyone who will argue that it’s an okay idea. I know teens who drink and teens who drive, but all the teens I know don’t let each other drink and drive. “Don’t drink and drive” has successfully permeated the cultural awareness (I’m not arguing that nobody drinks and drives, just that most people recognize it as an anti-social choice.) “Don’t rape” has not permeated the cultural awareness for a lot of reasons (most can be summarized as “rape culture,” but that’s not a useful shorthand for everyone). We don’t like to talk about teens and sex at all. We don’t teach our kids about active consent. We mostly still talk about rape in terms of stranger-danger, and not in terms of partner-rape. The ways we talk about sex, rape, and consent are frankly a mess and a morass of mixed messages (again, I’m not talking about how individual families talk about these things, but about the way society talks about them.) There’s a whole lot of gatekeeper rhetoric, even in official high-school sexuality education. There’s a whole lot of rapey songs and stories and movies. I don’t blame kids for being confused.

    And I want my kid to know down to his toenails how to ask for and recognize enthusiastic consent, and how to hear and accept rejection. I want to make this as clear for him as knowing not to drink and drive is. But I don’t really feel like society’s with me on this project.

  2. bloggeretterized April 15, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    Your son is a good boy and will grow up to be a good man because you are already thinking, prepping and taking actions for that to happen. Great post! That picture you ended your post with has such a powerful message. Thanks for sharing.

  3. setinmotion April 15, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    Very interesting and thoughtful blog post. I think you’re completely right. As a female, I only think about my own thoughts and feelings on sex, our culture and rape. Rape is horrendous, insidious and beyond awful, yet the lines have become blurred because of what society expects from men, and sadly, boys. Until these boys can be educated to understand the difference between consent and ‘taking advantage of a situation’, you’re right, this type of thing is going to continue.

  4. ramblinginthecity April 15, 2013 at 5:13 am #

    Reblogged this on ramblinginthecity and commented:
    How insiduous forms of misogyny could make the sweetest, nicest boys into rapists…This post has incited a lot of criticism from anti-feminists, but for me it isn;t about feminism at all. It’s about facing up to the reality around us….

  5. vishalbheeroo April 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    I laud this honest post about rape and our attitudes. Education and media plays an important role pertaining to what is fair and just in society. I can only lament at the negative attitudes nurtured and developed towards women. It is a tragedy we don’t children anything about equality but rather pride ourselves in justifying male oppression and exploitation. High time to change our attitudes towards women and more than schools, books and films, parents play an important part in shaping behaviour.

  6. naturallygreencooking.com April 15, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    I have two boys as well. 2 and 4 years old. I am currently pondering the same thoughts. Glad to know I am not alone. I think what puts my mind at ease is mindfulness (stay in the moment), know that I am not in charge (there must be a power greater than myself and my kids), do the best I can and then let them go (kind of). For today, I teach respect and problem-solving skills. Tomorrow, swimming.

  7. David Gendron April 15, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    So, why did you give birth to this potential rapist, first?

  8. Brian Cauley (@briancauley) April 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    the way rape is articulated and explained in the British show “Misfits” is exceptional. there are multiple times when one character or another questions a sexual act that definitely would be rape (they are all juvenile delinquents and thus have a fluctuating sense of morality). luckily, in all cases, another character vehemently argues that it is is rape until the character finally realizes their misguidance.
    I think North America needs to open up more about sexuality. if we stop denying that teenagers (and sometimes younger) are willingly exploring sex we can start to have these important discussions on multiple fronts.

  9. deshocks April 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Reblogged this on deshocks and commented:
    This is one of the most incredibly thoughtful pieces I’ve read on rape culture and how society teaches men and women about sex and consent.

  10. George Parker April 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    Not to alarm you with an unpleasant story, but keep an eye on who your son hangs around with. I suspect that’s the biggest issue you CAN have some control over.

    I say this because I got a lecture from the 21 year old (I’m 40) who is renting a room in my house. He is a clean-cut kid from a home where the mother is at home and the father has a good job. I’ve met his parents – they helped him move in and come around with groceries for him.

    However this is, verbatim, what he said to me one week after moving in, without any indication he thought it was anything other than good advice:

    “My best friend told me how to get laid. I need to go to the club, and look for a girl who is so drunk she doesn’t know how to find her friends. Get her home, you get laid.”

    This was not seeing something and thinking “hey, why not” and not giving in to peer pressure. He was given instruction. He had no problem stating what he wanted to do. I informed him it was rape, and his response was that no-one does anything about “stuff like that”.

    And you are right. It’s clear with this kid that sex is about conquest and nothing else. Now that he has met a girl he seems to like, it’s odd seeing him wrestle with emotions other than lust. I certainly hope his “girlfriend” is safe.

    But what’s more frightening than that, is that when a young man was sexually assaulted by three women in Toronto (as was reported in the papers – three women offered a man a drive home, then took him to a parking lot and tried to force him to have sex) my young tenant asked me why a guy would report such an assault. he was incredulous that any man would report such a thing, lest he be shamed by it.

    In other words, he did not have the respect for a MAN who was assaulted, when that man reported the crime. I’m renting a room to a young person who does not understand the concept of human dignity, even when it is applied to himself. It’s pretty clear to me that this young man would rape a woman and not even consider that she might go to the police. So for Halifax police, i’d like to say “good job enabling the rapists of your city”.

    If you raise your son to be a decent human being, it might enter his head that what my young tenant’s friends instruct him to do is wrong. It might be a good idea to teach him to respect himself too – otherwise I doubt he’ll have much respect for anyone else.

    • Becky Rutkowski Long April 16, 2013 at 1:58 am #

      Thanks for your wonderful response! I have heard young men (and, sadly, older men) make these same remarks. Media and peer groups do instruct boys (and men) that “getting laid” is the ultimate goal and is to be achieved at all costs. Women are objectified and dehumanized to the point that we are simply the means to an end.

      • Francis Agnello April 17, 2013 at 6:07 am #

        I am appalled at your ignorance and lack of knowledge. I am amazed at society which says that when a man wants to have sex it is called lust and when a women wants it, it is pure and consensual.
        Do you know what kind of men rape women? Let me tell you: men who HATE women. And this hatred comes not from any instructions or ultimate goals – it comes when they feel deprived and cheated.

        You want to know why men view women as objects? It is because they are themselves treated as robots – whose only purpose is to go out and hunt resources. They are denied love, affection and care. They are condemned when they fail and respected only when they achieve.

        So next time and go about blowing your trumpet about teaching men to not rape, it would be better if you just give them the same care,affection and support which a girl would get.

  11. Arlie April 15, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    What a wonderful post! As the mother of an 8 month old boy I believe so strongly that we need to teach Boy Power to our new generation in such a way that re-thinks and re-defines what it means to be a strong and courageous young man, minus the old stereotypes. Change through empowering positive associations and role models.

  12. The Silver Voice April 15, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    Shockingly insightful post that has stunned me! And of course we DO teach our girls how not to get raped….time to change the world! BOYS – DO NOT RAPE GIRLS

  13. The Silver Voice April 15, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Reblogged this on A SILVER VOICE FROM IRELAND and commented:
    Very insightful and shocking blog post about why men rape – WHY do we teach our girl children not to be raped, yet we don’t teach our boy children NOT TO RAPE girls? Why?

  14. naturallygreencooking.com April 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Reblogged this on Naturally Green Cooking and commented:
    I have never reblogged anything. This, this was not only worth it, but necessary. Thank you The Belle Jar for your words.

  15. Ashley Austrew April 16, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    This is such a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece. Thank you for sharing it.

  16. Indian Homemaker April 16, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    Reblogged this on The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker and commented:
    This is why we need to take teaching men not to rape very seriously.

  17. spam homer April 16, 2013 at 5:23 am #

    i read first few lines..

    same shit. same insecurity. same crap filled with eloquent english words. same drama.

    bitch please..

    cant you see good things in life…beyond rape maybe? or beyond the petty world of personal insecurities, vengeance, fears..

    people like these should not become parents.

    • Daffy Duck May 9, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Beyond rape? Here’s some eloquent English words for you: You are a cretin.

      What you are saying is “so what if there’s young women getting violated and being told its their own fault…look at that pretty mountain over there”

      Anyone who structures their argument with “bitch please” obviously has no chance of having an intelligent or relevant argument on this issue

      People like you should not be allowed to comment on pieces like these.

  18. Wily Coyote April 16, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Our (me, my male cousins, close neighbourhood boys) families brought us up with high standards of expected behaviour. The boys were brought up as young gentlemen, to respect women, to protect them from danger and to accept a ‘no’ as a no, gracefully. The girls were brought up as little ladies, modest dressing and ladylike behaviour was instilled in them. They were also taught that men in the outside world need not necessarily be brought up in the same way as their brothers and cousins. Late nights, mixed group parties, boyfriends etc were a strict no. In other words, they were brought up sensibly.

    Instil respect for women, in your little boys and common sense, in your little girls.

  19. justagirlfromaamchimumbai April 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    This is such a thought provoking post. I don’t have children and I often wonder whether I want to have kids in the sort of society we live today. Every day you read stories in the news about rape, it has become a given that somewhere in the world around us a few women are getting raped by some men who think it is ok to destroy a woman’s being like this.

    Loved this post.

    • JazzCat April 16, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

      I hear what you are saying and the frequency of rape is beyond words.

      But I would ask you this.
      When did we see in the media the story of the gentle sensitive boy who perhaps foolishly approached a girl in his class, having spent weeks plucking up the courage, to ask if she’d like to go on a date with him.
      Everyone knew he was working up to it, even if he thought he was keeping it a secret. So when he walked up shyly to ask, the girl was ready with a snappy put down and all her female friends, thinking just how clever they were.

      And the boy shamed, turned about and walked away alone as the laughter echoed behind him.

      He didn’t come to school the next day, or the day after that. The following week the headteacher soberly announced that he had passed away. They didn’t dwell on his suicide for the sake of his family.

      Did anyone ask why he had taken his life? Did anyone really care? Wasn’t he just a pathetic loser?

      Most boys don’t kill themselves fortunately, but any reasonable teacher will tell you of seeing the decent kind gentle boy crying silent dry tears.

      It doesn’t make the headlines because no one cares……….

      • justagirlfromaamchimumbai April 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

        Yeah you are right as I said there is so much apathy around us. We need to teach our kids to be more sensitive .

  20. Kerry April 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    I just posted this same comment on a blog that was linked here. Thankyou for speaking out

    April 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    When the news story came out of this young girls suicide following her rape I was once again throwing my hands in the air and asking “Why?” This is such a difficult subject in this day and age of social media. I don’t do Facebook because I think it dumbs down our socializing. It is cheap and fake and people need to get back to the basic of having conversations and writing letters. The boys in this story have no idea about real life. It’s all about the picture on the little screen and not the flesh and bones they have violated. What’s the solution? I don’t know. Get the gadgets out of the hands for a while maybe. Technology is amazing but it can also be poisoness and toxic. Thankyou for bringing this difficult subject to light.
    ment on a blog that was linked here. Thankyou for speaking out.

  21. JazzCat April 16, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Trying to teach boys not to rape is in my opinion starting at the wrong point. We need to start talking to boys about how their biology works and what is happening to them when they are exposed to visual and behavioural stimulation. We need to explain to them how their biology is exploited, so they can recognise their own vulnerabilities. There’s no point starting out lecturing them or demanding that they control themselves, they didn’t choose to be born boys and they didn’t choose to experience the complex and often overwhelming emotions and compulsion connected with their biology.
    We do need to teach boys to tell girls in no uncertain terms when their behaviour makes boys feel uncomfortable and to recognise the disrespectful aspects of girls behaviour towards boys. We need to positively encourage boys to reject and walk away from girl’s behaviours that exploit their biology. Boys need those tools and to feel empowered in that way. This means saying to girls “I don’t want to play your game because it makes me feel uncomfortable and it tells me that at heart you don’t respect me. Goodbye!”
    We also need to recognise, and respond to, the fact that many boys are starved of basic affection in their lives. This leads them to pursue girls in the hope of that affection, which in turn leads to rejection and then the development of indifference and callousness in boys. It’s not the girls fault, it’s the boys parents and every other adult around them (I.e. Us!)
    We also need to recognise that boys are keen observers of the world, even if it may not appear so and their perceptions differ quite remarkable from that of girls. If the little boy who grows up in a household where he hears his mothers, and other women’s, endless gripes about his father and other men but he doesn’t hear his father make the same comment. yet he observes little difference between either of them, he may readily conclude that mummy & other women aren’t nice people. If his parents have broken up this may be even worse. At school he may experience daily petty discrimination against boys by the overwhelmingly female teaching staff, and that girls behaviour is awful (& girls can be really awful). And then he’ll hear all the positive reinforcement & support for girls that boys don’t get.
    For decades our societies have denied boys understanding and sympathy and have been ever ready condemn them all for the transgressions of a few. We have put out confused and confusing messages about what we expect from them. We certainly have not given basic respect to boys, and it is little wonder they don’t show respect to us.
    In my experience most boys are straightforward decent human beings trying to make the best of a difficult situation. We certainly don’t see the horribly manipulative and destructive behaviour in boys that we see with teenage girls. Also because boys are quiet when they are hurt, we ignore them – and the suicide rates are the acute statistic of this.

    • Francis Agnello April 17, 2013 at 5:41 am #

      Finally I see a comment which makes sense. A fitting reply to the overwhelmingly biased article.
      Your comment made me proud.

    • Femmed April 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      Your whole concept is based on the patriarchal ideas of sex and sexuality. The thought behind males being more sexual or even possessing less control over their biology is very outdated. Furthermore, the problem here is not that boys are unaware of their hormone crazed feelings, it’s that they have never been taught to handle it in an appropriate manner. To say that a girl is exploiting a boy’s sexuality implies that she is fully aware of her actions, which would not be the case if she was inebriated. Moreover, the use of ‘exploit’ implies that the girl is somehow trying to get him to assault her just for shits…..which believe me….is probably never the case.

      A society which has taught men to repress their feelings was created by men themselves. I do agree that both sexes should be more open and honest with their feelings, but to say that rape is high because boys have no deep conversations is such an inaccurate statement blanketing the whole concept of rape.

      Yes the girl made a series of bad decisions being at such and such place in such and such state….a position you wouldn’t even want your son in because vulnerability can bring about theft, attack, and even rape. However saying that boys have been manipulated to behave in such a manner is like saying that Jack the Ripper was essentially a good guy….his mom just didn’t love him enough, and so he became a serial killer. When something is inherently wrong….it’s wrong.

      But please, do keep telling me now men have had it tough for so many years. It’s fascinating.

      • JazzCat April 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

        Oh my dear, isn’t that just the easiest way of avoiding everything – it’s the fault of the patriarchy. We are all so certain that the “patriarchy” gave men so much power and control over women that strangely even in ancient texts such as the Mabinogion, rape is a crime to be punished severely. Even Blackstone confirmed that by the 16th century the concept of wife beating being legal had been lost in the mists of time. yet despite this it’s always the fault of the patriarchy.
        It’s the fault of the patriarchy that men suppress their feelings, and that mothers systematically from birth deny boys emotional support they provide their daughters. These mothers are so brain washed by the patriarchy that it overcomes and suppresses the maternal instincts.
        The reality is that boys basic biological and intellectual make-up is markedly different to that of girls. Boys exhibit far wider ranges of intellectual capacity than girls, more likely to be autistic than girls. Boys intellectual development is different than girls, which in our post-industrial society can give girls an enormous advantage particularly in communication skills and the ability to assess situations rationally. Boys get into trouble simply because they cant read situations properly and the flow of testosterone exacerbates this.
        Re: men having a tough time. As women we have an immense capacity compared with men to sit down as sisters and tell ourselves how hard life is, and how easy men have it. And we’ve been saying this so long that even men accept it. But when have we walked a mile in men’s shoes? Not the good bits of the top job etc, but the crap bits such as their treatment in the courts or the draft and any number of other events. It is time we adopted a little humility and acknowledged that it has been the tax that men pay that has largely funded the feminism that has stripped them of whatever advantages they might have had.

        The overwhelming proportion of boys and men never hit or rape a girl or woman in their lives. Let’s all start there shall we?

    • still a boy May 8, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      Ma’am, thank you so much for that reply. I’m a recently grown man and I have never raped/hurt/abused a woman. I have as many guy friends as women friends. I have been hurt by both men and women. I have also received a lot of love from men and women and everyone in between. People are people, some good, some bad. Bad men rape, bad women do some crap which has never really been spoken about on social media. But when you’re at the receiving end, it just doesn’t matter whether the the person is male or female, feminist or chauvinist. The problem with feminism is, and I say this with the utmost respect being in full knowledge of how much good it has done to the world and towards the elimination of patriarchy in society which is a bad bad thing, it is something a LOT of people for a seemingly higher moral ground which is something that further polarizes the masses. Rape is bad. Violence against women in bad. These things ought to be common knowledge. ANYONE who doesn’t get that is either an idiot or mentally ill. But saying things like patriarchal ideologies have been created by men so all men must be subjugated is terrible.

  22. Arnold April 17, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    u should be bold enough to make ur son follow the law at any cost, otherwise send him to police

  23. Nathan April 17, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    There is no defined method to teach our children not to manipulate each other , take advantage of trust or use their physical powress to overcome one another .The only proper way in which you can teach your posterity is to live the life you want them to live . Every kid i know considers their dad/mum to be their first role model . You ve just got to be empathise as well ….. All de Best

  24. starlitwishes April 18, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    Came here through IHM. Brilliant post! True to the core. The role social media has played in the cases you pointed out makes me sick. Not only were these girls violated, but their trauma was publicized and used to make their life more of a hell. And you are right – these boys are not monsters. They are the product of a society that has taught them time and time again that ‘boys will be boys’, that ‘no means yes’, that a girl who is drunk/wearing ‘skimpy’ clothes/partying or a billion other so-called ‘immoral’ things is ‘asking to be raped’. And until we change what message we send to our children, both girls and boys, we cannot change how they treat each other.

  25. desbest April 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    But sex is a conquest, because it’s rationed. People treasure what they can’t easily attain. Who doesn’t?

    • anneliesehuss April 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

      It’s easier obtained than most people think. For the first time in my life I’m currently dating a guy who makes it clear that sex isn’t what he is looking for. Before him, I never went for long without having sex. I enjoy sex as much as anyone else, but in the six months I’ve felt a stronger connection to this man than any I’ve had before.

  26. Nock4Six April 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Fantastic entry. Thank you for sharing.

  27. spicesandpisces April 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    Reblogged this on of spices and pisces and commented:
    I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to write things this way….but couldn’t help myself from sharing it. No, it’s not food…but it’s something worth reading.

  28. Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator April 19, 2013 at 4:31 am #

    Reblogged this on whisper down the write alley and commented:
    Should I assign this essay for my college students to read?

  29. Amogh Natu April 19, 2013 at 6:33 am #

    Reblogged this on Amogh Natu's Blog and commented:
    A must see article about our current society and rape.

  30. Wizzy April 19, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Parents who give time to upbringing and instilling good moral values do not face such problems. So just relax. NOTHING will influence if you teach the children right from wrong and imbibe good values in them, which I am sure you would.
    Rape is ALWAYS due to something wrong in childhood and upbringing; it is seldom movies or parties etc, etc because what we learn in our childhood from parents stays all our lives

  31. Brandon Seevers April 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Blaming society is a cop out to the highest degree; we are all part of that creature. A rapists primary motivation is about control and contempt toward the victim. I don’t doubt your sincerity but I question your biology.

  32. John Kpisnov April 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    i find it quite interesting how you talk about your drunk son still being responsible for what he might do in the heat of the moment, yet you don’t offer the same kind of respect to a drunk girl, whom you describe as as not currently having “all of her faculties intact.” what about your son? he clearly doesn’t have his faculties intact since he’s drunk and so he clearly can’t give consent either.

  33. santosh April 25, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    if you cant understand your son and explain him in a manner he understands that his personality is wrong or could lead to doing something wrong then no one can help you. especially keeping a realistic relationship with him, not bossing him around. Trust your children and they will trust you. mould their youth, inspire them. firstly follow the law

  34. Bobby Cherian April 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Dear Bele Jar,

    Your articles are fantastic and you definitely are sensitive to social realities.

    I could nt understand, why would you use abusive languages – the F word among your commendable good thoughts. It kinda of spoils the good read and you dont have to use the F word to make a point. I doubt, it makes a writer look cool.

    You might say “Yes! Daddy and F off because this is my life”. But remember, we readers give the writers a life !. You write for a world of appreciation. Let new thoughts keep coming ! Keep it flowing purely !

    • bellejarblog April 27, 2013 at 1:04 am #

      I think of it more as a dialect than something I use to make me look cool. Or else I use it as an intensifier :)

      I always think of the passage from Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, when she says of the Brooklynites:

      “Obscenity and profanity had no meaning as such among those people. They were emotional expressions of inarticulate people with small vocabularies; they made a kind of dialect. The phrases could mean many things according to the expression and tone used in saying them.”

      It’s like that on the east coast too – I think that’s where I get it from.

  35. Puran Rawal April 27, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    its really wonderful less
    on!

  36. Smaktakula April 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    Ironically, I found this post to be much more reasonably written than the blog post by through which I found it. Like that author, I think your fears are probably unfounded or at least misplaced (and I qualify that with “probably,” because I have enough trouble helping my wife to raise my own kids, and don’t need to be telling anyone how to raise theirs).

    I think the media has created the impression that sexual assaults are on the rise, and that young men are conditioned to be aggressive sexual predators. I want to be clear that I’m not saying that sexual assaults aren’t happening, or that the perpetrators aren’t almost always men and usually of a certain age. The danger is there, and some men ARE predators.

    But most men aren’t. I went to college years ago, just as violence against women was starting to get national attention. But even then we knew that you didn’t take advantage of a passed-out girl. Yeah, some guys did, and in some cases were expelled.

    There are always going to be people who act irresponsibly, and some of them will do heinous things to women, for which they will hopefully be punished. There’s no reason to believe that your son will be anything but a gentleman.

  37. Akash May 7, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    The best way to prevent such mishappenings is to teach young kids about spiritual values, loving and believing in GOD and thinking about JESUS before committing actions. That must help.

  38. Leela Parvathi May 11, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    Finally I find that some parent is really interested in raising the son to become good sentimental in true form of human beauty in the correct age. It is at the years of 2 the child becomes open to the education that the parent can give it because the child believes in everything what the parent says to the child since the child loves the parent like its own God(pediatric Pschology
    )

  39. Days of Broken Arrows May 12, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    I can’t remember ever reading a more unrealistic, fantasy-like tale of what male sexuality might be like. I’ve honestly never heard of anyone with less understanding of male sexuality than in this post. I assume the ridiculously high-handed attitude evidenced here meant less for your son and more for your liberal friends to clap you on the back. Or to win some kind of feminist award. But since you did post it, here is a dose of reality.

    First, the vast majority of men do not rape. So the premise of this post is disturbing, statistics-wise. You should sooner worry about your son committing suicide. Look at the stats: you’re more likely to have a teenager who blows his brains out than rapes. Or one that gets messed up on drugs. Suicide is a male problem. That’s why it gets no media attention. Here is one of many links you may find useful in the future:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/05/uncomfortable-truth-why-do-more-men-women-commit-suicide

    You also assume a bunch of things. Like this: “If he is heterosexual, he will want to be physically close to these (drunk) girls. He might kiss them. He might even do more than that.”

    Or he might not. In fact, he probably won’t. As a former teenage boy, I can tell you I and many of my friends were turned off and a bit frightened of drunk girls. We avoided them, sensing out-of-control trouble. Most of us were college bound and tried to avoid prison cells. Most boys don’t study for years only to throw it away. In fact, the instances in college I saw when a guy did kiss a clearly drunk girl, he was razzed FOR doing it and/or told to “move along” by a bigger dude. Yes, the opposite happens, but men are naturally chivalrous and they jump in to save the drunk girl more. You just don’t hear those stories on the news.

    “If and when he engages in sexual acts at parties, my son will almost certainly be egged on, or at least encouraged, by his peers.”

    Wrong again. Teenage boys trash talk a lot, but only its rare they “egg on” someone to have sex in the context of a drunken party. Boys tend to avoid sex talk with each other due to the homoerotic undercurrent.

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your version of reality from, but it’s not the same one I live in, and I’d venture to say it’s not the same one most men or boys live in. Get our of your NPR bubble for a bit. Read some real statistics on sites like Glenn Sacks.com. Please do a little research on what teenage boys are like before your child grows up.

    Reading a post about a mother worrying her 2-year-old will rape is like reading a post a dad is worried his 2-year-old daughter will be “a slut.” It’s creepy. And presumptuous. And will probably be a huge source of shame for your son, should he know his mother views him not as a human but as a “potential rapist.” Nice work, mom.

    • Hi June 24, 2013 at 5:28 am #

      Well sir I do realize that what you posted is your opinion and all, but it is just that; your opinion. I myself am a teenager at the moment and I know from experience that what there are two sides to this story. First of, there’s your side, which is completely honest, teenagers are way more likely to commit suicide than rape. Secondly it’s true that a drunken girl would be a turn off to most and that peers wouldn’t ‘egg on’ to do something.

      Then there’s the other side. In which teenagers are unaware of what rape really is; forced sexual interaction, especially when hormones are high and the opportunity arises. The subject may, for some unknown reason, not be aware that the other person doesn’t agree and start or continue what is legally defined as sexual harassment. As long as one person doesn’t like what is being done to them. Now I know for a fact that not all boys are the same, especially if under the influence of drugs. Every other Monday after a weekend party you hear tales of alcohol and wild partying. Some people take advantage of whatever opportunity comes at them, and most times the partner is willing, but not all the time.

      Finally, the woman was only using her son as an example to explain her point of view. There is nothing wrong with thinking about what your child might do when they are older, be it good or bad, and there is nothing wrong with expressing those thoughts and making a point with them.

      Well, just to say you were a teen. Whenever that was times have changed, for the better or worse nobody knows, but they have and will continue. I only ask that you learn to adapt and think about other sides of a story before criticizing someone who was only trying to talk to people. Please and thank you.

  40. oogenhand May 12, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    Sweden has the highest number of rapes in the world. Painting your hair black is enough to escape rape.

  41. Buck Swamp May 14, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    So you’re worried that your 2-year old son will grow up to be a rapist? Really? I feel sorry for your kid. You’re a classic example of why most boys that are raised by women do not thrive.

  42. Anonymous May 21, 2013 at 2:49 am #

    GO FUCKING KILL YOURSELF, YOU FUCKING EVIL BITCH. WITH AN EVIL SICK FUCK OF A MOTHER LIKE YOU, YOUR SON IS GOING TO GROW UP TO BE A CRIMINAL WHO RAPES HUNDREDS OF WOMEN. YOURSELF INCLUDED, YOU SICK INCESTOUS WHORE!

    • ANONYMOUS June 24, 2013 at 5:30 am #

      WELL IF YOU INSIST ON USING CAPITALIZATION THEN I WILL TOO. SHE WAS ONLY EXPRESSING HER POINT AND IF YOU DO NOT LIKE IT THEN LEAVE. OTHER WISE SHUT UP PLEASE.

  43. Nathan June 21, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Your article highlighted factors that may encourage rape, and demonstrated a real desire to reduce its occurrence. You appear very sensitised to issues of particular note to women. As a male, there was one feature I found distasteful. There was an implication that to be born with male genitalia, one would be an inherently potential rapist, at the mercy of cultural influences, and in need of the insight of my mother (yet likely to reject the proper moral guidance from her). I’m sure you have probably been negatively impacted by stereotyping. I feel as a member of a class assigned to me because of the organs I was born with, that this article implies I have inherently less moral insight and more moral potential criminality. Please be mindful of your writing. If you do believe you are morally superior by way of your gender, please state it clearly at the outset of your article, rather than implying it throughout in a patronising tone. If you don’t see it and believe in true social justice for all, I invite you to change the gender terms between male and female and it should become obvious. I recognise this is your own personal struggle and that your intention is not to offend or hurt, but to raise awareness of your personal dilemma while drawing attention to a larger perceived social evil. If you could do that without marginalising an entire group of people who are mostly innocent of the crime implied, you will gain a greater audience.

  44. Mike January 21, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    LOL. I think you have more chance he will be a 22 year old virgin then being a rapist.
    More guys are virgins than rapists.
    You ever been to college?
    Which guys get laid, the jocks that play sports and the Fraternity guys with high status. All other guys about (95% of guys) just sit at home studying or playing computer games, because no women want them.

    Come back 20 year later, when your son is still a virgin and ridiculed by every girl in college and harshly rejected by every girl he tries to ask on a date.
    If you still a feminists then, you proven not to have a heart.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How We Teach Our Sons To Rape | Come up Screaming - April 13, 2013

    [...] Reblogged from The Belle Jar: [...]

  2. Teaching Our Sons To Rape | Ahrcanum - April 13, 2013

    [...] Written by http://bellejarblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/how-we-teach-our-sons-to-rape/ [...]

  3. How We Teach Our Sons To Rape | Eccentric Lady's Place - April 14, 2013

    [...] Today I came across this blog post, and it struck me. I think something has to change about it. How We Teach Our Sons To Rape. [...]

  4. Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion | Clarissa's Blog - April 14, 2013

    [...] And here is a horrifying post from a mother of a 2-year-old who is already having fantasies of him…. This happens a lot more often that you might want to imagine. I have read and heard so many of these outbursts from mothers who believe that there is a vicious animal hiding inside their sons. If this is the reflection of yourself that you see in your own mother’s eyes, how easy do you think it is to disappoint Mommy and not rape anybody? It is just horrifying that such parents then inflict their deeply traumatized off-spring onto the rest of us. [...]

  5. Rape is not a moral judgement | The Most Boring Radical - April 14, 2013

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  6. Swati Nitin Gupta - April 16, 2013

    [...] This is a blogpost from a fellow blogger on wordpress http://bellejarblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/how-we-teach-our-sons-to-rape/ [...]

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  11. Even if it is just a stare … | A rush of blood to the head - April 26, 2013

    [...] the previous generation telling their sons that. They should have. They should have said everything she said here. We should have, as a society. I’m not blaming them parents just yet .. I am just skeptical. [...]

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  14. Changing the Conversation about Rape | Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault - May 17, 2013

    […] victims. Parental responsibility to protect young people is essential to the conversation about preventing rape. While there are some people who may think “parents are not responsible” for what their children […]

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