Monday, March 28, 2011

To Prevent Men from Raping Women

Kristen asks "Why are there ... no classes for men on how to recognize attitudes and trends within themselves, their friends, and society in general, which leave a back door open for rape to happen?"

So how do you answer? What would you -- or do you -- tell boys, adolescent males, or full grown men?

My spouse and I tend to talk with our son and our daughters about sexism together in the same room. However, we also have times where she talks with the girls and I speak with the boy in different ways. My wife, for example, discusses with our daughters the fact that societies worldwide -- as Mary Pipher and Margaret Mead and Simone de Beauvoir but not Sigmund Freud nor Aristotle nor the male pastor in the church down the street, for instance, have observed -- view females as sex objects. From adolescence to menopause really, there is little relief from the external sexism. While I work with my son on his potential complicentcy in de-valuing people whose bodies are sexed female, on his views of girls and women. He has had one serious long-term relationship with a young woman in college, and their insistence together on egalitarianism was important, and to me was impressive, unusual.

But we're still learning. What would you advise us read, or have your own maturing children read? What should young men study?

Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender by A. Nicholas Groth?

Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape by Susan Brownmiller?

The insightful Transforming a Rape Culture, written by notable feminist women and men (edited by Emilie Buchwald, Pamela Fletcher, and Martha Roth)?

And why shouldn't men (and not just women only) know and read He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know by Jessica Valenti


Kristen said...

The public schools in my district provide anti-bullying instruction to children of grade school age. I would think that such instruction could be modified for rape prevention classes in high schools, with a particular emphasis on societal attitudes towards women as a causative factor.

J. K. Gayle said...

Yes, Kristen. That's very important! Googling, I see that in London and in Washington, DC, there is some school instruction on rape prevention:

If we don't have these in our own school districts, perhaps letting administrators, teachers, and PTAs know about the programs already in place elsewhere is a beginning. You've encouraged me now to do that for my own kids' schools.