I stood on a street corner with both my boys returning from a routine trip to Starbucks. I had turned my body toward them and away from the man leering out his car window at me. My youngest son said “Mom that guy is totally checking you out. I gave him the stare down.”
Because I am raising boys in a rape culture I couldn’t sink in to my own shame and have the concrete swallow me up as I had wanted. I had to explain to them that some boys are raised to believe that women are objects for their pleasure. They are raised to believe that women ask for sex by how they dress or the volume of alcohol and drugs they consume. They are raised to believe their very own bodies are driven by sexual desires that they have no control over.
At this point the boys think this is ridiculous, stupid and what kind of idiot teaches boys this stuff. I am grateful that they so vehemently reject these ideas. It shows me I’ve done something correct along the way. And as much as I would like to rest here knowing they are not having similar ideas I have to carry on.
I explain to them that because they live in the same world as these ridiculous idiots they have to be on the look out. They have to speak up and step in because not only are these boys and their parents broken in their thinking so is the judicial system. It puts the onus on the victims to prove the crime happened. It takes a woman and rakes her entire life over the coals, revealing her sexual history, questioning her character as a human being, destroying any fiber of worth she might be clinging to. While at the same time raising up the rapist on swim scores and honorary achievements, (Unless of course they are of color but we’ve already broken your hearts with that disgusting truth.). And that because of this system, rapists walk out the door free and are in the world around you.
I explain more. Now since you are one of the ones who knows the only cause of rape is a rapists and that the judicial system does nothing to protect woman, you have to be fierce protectors of the girls and woman you encounter in the world. Team up with them, have their back, watch their drinks, escort them safely home and step in whenever a man forces any part of himself on a woman.
I don’t want this heavy burden for you. I wish I didn’t have to shatter your innocent beliefs about this world we live in. That I could release you into the world with out knowing these horrible things happen. But I simply cannot because we currently live in a rape culture and educating you is the only thing I know how to do to make a difference.