What about the boys? Solutions to violence against women.

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3 Responses

  1. Maya Kali says:

    well-spoken!!!I mean typed.

  2. Perseus says:

    You might have trouble getting people to accept this socialization. Seeing humans as human beings, regardless of sex, race, or creed, would help solve most of the world’s problems, but you can’t force that. Ultimately the socialization of these children should come from the parents, and if the parents don’t want it, then it won’t happen. I think the best way to start is in the media with a realistic and progressive approach. Show them the information, and let people decide for themselves.

    To say “What about the boys?” shifts the burden onto people who are more innocent than not. You can’t make men into psychologically healthy individuals by treating them as potential assailants. I mean, it *might* be a good idea if done tactfully and without pressure or intimidation. You can’t use pathos as a persuasive tool because it will not play into a boy’s emotions, and it will only make them feel resentful and manipulated. They will then do the opposite, and then you’ll make the problem worse.

    Lastly, while I pretty much agree with most of what you said, I don’t think you can draw a connection between boys at a private school seducing girls, and rape, or rape culture, or violence against women, or whatever. There’s no evidence to show that these boys are the type that would rape. Their behavior may be abhorrent to any of us, but that doesn’t mean it’s criminal.

    • Dena T. Smith says:

      Thanks for your comments. I just want to address a few of these because I think there’s somewhat of a misunderstanding of what my argument is. I think, if you look carefully at the research on rape and violence against women at large, you will see that the data shows a clear link between the way men are socialized to see women as objects and their likelihood to treat women violently. While I agree that there is not an inherent link between treating girls as objects and engaging in violent and illegal actions, you should also note that tricking girls into having sex with multiple partners and putting pressure on them to engage in sexual acts (as was the case at this school outside of D.C.) is actually rape. There are many different categories of violent crime, including date rape, which one could argue these actions could be categorized as.

      As for socialization, my personal opinion is that one of the reasons girls are seen as “prey” is not because parents are teaching boys to be violent or to treat girls that way, but because the media and other sources of socialization (just seeing what happens in the world) do so…and parents don’t counteract it, for the most part. If we rely on parents, we’re relying on individuals who are a part of a society that generally continues to abide by the status quo. This won’t do. This won’t create change. Something beyond individuals must be the source of change. I do not pretend to know how this would effectively take place, but putting the onus on parents to change the way boys see girls and men see women is not going to solve the problem.

      Lastly, I have no intention of treating boys like potential rapists — this is VERY different than socializing them not to treat women as objects. “What about the boys?” is not asking us to treat boys like potential criminals, but rather to recognize the fact that teaching girls about the potential harm that could befall them is not as useful as teaching boys that girls are not “prey.” This isn’t even about equality – that’s a whole other issue that may be intertwined, but is not the same. This is about a basic understanding that sex must be entered into by mutual consent and that girls are more than sexual objects.

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