Set Rape Education Back 20 Years?

I know, not everyone cares. Probably, most people don't care.

And I realize that intellectuals believe in free thought and the right to behave as one believes is within one's rights, and a benevolent government doesn't interfere with personal liberties, rights, rather supports the right to speak whatever is on one's mind (we do that here), no matter how much it hurts another.  Bill of Rights.  Freedom of Speech.

The implication of one writer's rant on rights is that governmental legislation of verbal (maybe physical, too, I don't know), sexual, gender, ethnic, and racial harassment, to name a few types of violence, violates individual rights.

If you haven't had rape education, which is voluntary, unfortunately, you might agree to a degree.

Rape education, or sexual assault awareness, isn't about how to rape.  Rather the purpose is to disseminate information about the health risks, the consequences of rape.  On college campuses it is the school's obligation to sponsor such awareness if that school receives federal funds (think the federal student loan program).

But some people think the schools should stay out.

Perhaps they think that parents will pass it along, this type of proprietary knowledge, with the ketchup at dinner.  Read the story here: College Accusations and the Presumption of Male Guilt.

You can let me know what you think over there if you're interested.



Leigh said…
Perhaps if we start EARLY (like pre-school - like you mentioned in an earlier post a few months back) with courses on classical virtues and basic philosophy we could reduce the amount of resistance to facing our collective problems?

But then again - how about framing it in a historical context? So that it doesn't feel so blaming to the guy?

Gah. You know, I don't know. It's frustrating that we can send people to the moon but we can't solve some of the oldest, most important problems.
Anonymous said…
Could the topic be widened to include all relationship power issues? My son in elementary was harassed by a little girl until he threw a rock at her. Who got in trouble? Well, he did of course. Do women have any responsibility?
therapydoc said…
Leigh, good ideas, and Anonymous, yes women have to own responsibility when they perpetrate violence.

Historically, however, the solution to sexual assault has been to talk to women, to tell them, Too bad if you want to drink, you'll get into trouble if you do. Just don't. Or, Too bad if you want to dress that way, it's your fault if you get raped if you do.

Now we talk to the men and say, Guess what? If you rape her, it doesn't matter how she dressed. If you over-power her, it's a felony and you might go to jail. Or, You didn't get informed consent for sex? She says she never wanted it? We hold you accountable, not her. Be sure before you think you have that green light.
Leigh said…
I think I know what you are talking about - my nephew is in much the same position. A girl who is super popular was picking on him mercilessly because he is poor and learning disabled - such an abuse of power and she knows it - it just makes her more popular. Sigh. I worry that he will become a woman hater (already is) or much, much worse.

But I think that's for different discussion.

I'd like to see some studies on boys vs. girls reaction/behavior to bullying/rejection. I'm thinking boys would physically lash out at others more often then girls.
lynette said…
you know, from an intellectual perspective, i can see where this might irk some men. and in reality, rape is not only a crime men commit against women -- sometimes it is men on men, women on men, women on women. although it is also, in reality, most often men on women. still way too often. look at the statistics.

i was raped in college. by a friend. i was drunk. i said no. i never reported it. who would have listened? i hope my daughter is never in my shoes. i hope my son is never that boy.

we seem to have no problem stating that murder is wrong, adultery is wrong, lots of people have no problem saying abortion is wrong or stem cell research or liberals. why as a society is it still so hard to admit that rape and other forms of abuse are WRONG? and that most of the time, it is MEN who are doing it. if we get the message across loud and clear, perhaps they will influence one another to NOT do these things, instead of egging each other on.

i agree with the posters on healthy relationships. i contacted our middle school wellness department after i learned that they covered bullying in 6th grade, but healthy dating relationships did not come up till 8th grade. i asked "isn't it the same thing, just different context? if we wait till 8th grade, isn't that a little late?"

it seems to me that part of educating our younger members of society is teaching them how to be members of a society in which doing harm to another is wrong -- it is in the best interest of all to do so.

as the mother of a son, i am sorry there is this need to reinforce the message to our young men. i know when he is that age, he will take offense. and i will explain why it is necessary. we have been talking about healthy relationships since elementary school (and yes, about the dating context too).

someday, i hope we don't even need to bring it up.
therapydoc said…
Thanks so much for sharing, Lynette. Courageous stuff.
Nectarine said…
This is why I like initiatives like the White Ribbon Campaign. It is geared toward educating men that women abuse is not okay. However by giving them the opportunity to "own" the fact that they oppose it, show it off wearing the ribbon or supporting the campaign, I think it reduces the shame and blame element that is often perceived with rape education.
This campaign ran every year in my high school and many others.
Syd said…
I wrote about abuse towards women today. I am tired of the objectifying of women by men who have no idea about the intelligence or feelings. Women are treated like horses at an auction. I know that the women who put themselves in situations bear some responsibility, but I also see the men as being powerful and basically teaching women that in order to be accepted (by them), a woman has to act like a bimbo. And the women do to get approval. It seems so wrong and psychologically devastating.