Raising boys in a culture of rape

Before becoming a father I used to be terrified for my unborn sons.

As a father, I guess we’re all scared of something when it comes to our kids. There are real issues to be scared of. GMO’s, all the other crap injected into a food supply that robs us of our true potential, playing in the water, etc…

There are other things though, things that exist outside of our happy little home. Things that even in my career field, I know I can’t stop.

I watched the results of the Steubenville rape case after it became a national story only because it struck a nerve. I usually don’t watch most of the over hyped media portrayed today. I boysdid however watch this coverage, trying to understand what would bring these two men to this illogical conclusion. Especially when the trial, which ultimately concluded with two guilty verdicts against two teenage football players who raped a girl who was so drunk she couldn’t even move from the floor.

As a father, I had to process this and come up with a way teach my boys about this.

A weak man might ask the following questions:

This is the world I’ve got to prepare my son for?
This is what our young men are turning into?
Is that it  so hard to teach your child right from wrong these days?

Listen, real men know rape is wrong. We know that it’s a type of assault, one of the worst kinds done to both men and women. Let’s not sugarcoat it. Regardless its still against the rules our society has in place. In the Steubenville case, it happened because those boys’ parents failed to teach them and hold them accountable. Their little society didn’t hold them accountable because they were treated like heroes and stars, or even worse, like celebrities. At their age, they were “entitled”.

Boys (and girls), rape is wrong. Don’t do it. Ever. Not under any circumstances. The arguments that she had it coming, there was consent, she was drunk, etc doesn’t matter. It’s wrong from a moral and ethical standpoint.  But wait, it’s happening all over the country right? Lest we succumb to the hyper focus from modern media, remember, rape as an act has been occurring since time immemorial. Is that an excuse? Certainly not, and that’s why our society has passed laws against it. Do I, as a citizen of this country, a parent, a father condone this act? Hell no.

The difficulty fathers have now is finding a way to provide a way for our boys to turn into productive men in a society so steeped in rape culture.

It’s very difficult to teach our young men that rape is wrong when other girls will line up to blame, and even shame the victim? How do we teach our sons about respecting society’s rules when our own elected officials refuse to show that respect by exhibiting total ignorance? For me, its pretty simple. I am teaching my boys that they are accountable for their actions. Their decisions will determine their life. I will not be a helicopter parent, so they are already beginning to learn that what they do and say have consequences.

America, we don’t have a rape culture. Far from it. We’ve been taught for many years that rape is an assault to force or maintain control. If you want to see a rape culture, I would ask you to study central Africa where rape is a tactic of war.

Original caption states,

Original caption states, “Dem. Rep. Congo: Meeting for Rape Victims Rape victims who have been successfully reintegrated into their communities assemble in a “peace hut” near Walungu, South Kivu in DRC. USAID-supported health programs have assisted rape victims with counseling, training, employment, and safe living environments.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rape is used to subjugate, dominate, and control another person in the most vile way.

While young men can observe their mothers,  they learn from their fathers. They learn how to be strong, caring, respectful men by observing strong, caring, respectful men.

Real men will talk to their sons even about topics that are painful, embarrassing, and yes, even about what rape is.

Rape culture? No, we have a No Accountability culture. Our biggest issue is that we refuse to hold each other accountable for our actions, decisions, etc. Start doing that and showing what a true example of what right looks like, then, and perhaps only then, can we start to make a real change in culture. Given current events in politics, sports, etc, it’s pretty evident that no one is held liable for what they do but rather what/who they can blame it on.

I’m no longer scared for my sons and the world they’ll inherit one day. Because I’m doing my job as a father and a man to educate them on the rigors of life and providing them with the tools to survive. Because that’s what parents do, or should do. I’m not scared because I refuse to teach my boys that women are victims first. I will teach them that they are just as capable as they are at doing things. My boys will be taught to step in when life, limb, or eyesight is in danger.

My friends and family know that in the line of work I’m in I’ve tried to make our world a little bit better of a place for them when it’s their time to take it on.

While the world might struggle to change for the better, my boys will be ready for the challenge.

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3 comments

  1. Thank you. I worry about my boys too, unfortunately I chose a father who I now realise I do not want my children to be like. I have been considering how best to teach them about this but they do indeed need to learn accountability for all things.

    1. In all things, once you’ve identified what the problems are, you can go about the fix. Since it appears that you’ve done so (as I read your article), the key thing is that once you show them they are accountable for their actions and decisions, then they’ll already know how to treat other human beings. We should not have to distinguish between treating men or women differently. We learn how to be productive in our society.

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