Photo courtesy of The Atlantic.
With the rise in concern over the amount of women who have been sexually assaulted, several are coming to the conclusion that this issue stems from the difference between how men and women are raised. From a young age, girls learn to accept cruel behavior from boys, excusing it, and believing that underneath the hurtful behavior, there was good intent.
The issue stems from the difference between how girls and boys are raised. Parents should be expected to show their son how to respect women and treat them as human beings, not objects. Women are equals that contribute to the human experience, not objects whose sole purpose is to serve and entertain. Many men aren’t taught what basic respect signifies or what constitutes as offensive to women. As boys enter their teenage years, they should be taught the importance of consent instead of teaching girls what they can and can’t wear.
While parents avoid teaching their sons respect, they instead raise their daughters to fear men, oftentimes even the men within their own family. Women are told they need to “cover up” their bodies in order to make sure they don’t create distraction, but men aren’t expected to have basic self control. Women should not have to accommodate in order to avoid assault, instead, men should learn respect and self control. Teaching women to ignore being harassed rather than teaching men not to harass women is counterproductive.
Recently on social media, there has been attention drawn to the “97 percent” which refers to the percentage of women who have been sexually assaulted. Data collected from a YouGov survey of over a thousand women in the UK found that “97 percent of women aged 18 to 24 have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces, and more than 70 percent of women of all ages have endured such behavior.” Instead of acknowledging the issue, several have been trying to prove the statistic to be inaccurate and untrue. No matter the percentage, anything above zero is far too high and should not be tolerated.
When a woman is assaulted, the first question many ask is “Well, what was she wearing?” As though her wardrobe was the root cause of the assault. The fact that people still view what the woman was wearing as a reason she was attacked is horrifying. No matter what a person is wearing, it is no excuse for someone to sexually assault them. Those who claim that she was “asking for it” based off of her clothing are part of the problem.
Women are taught that men are physically stronger, secure, driven, and the initiators. Women are raised to wait to be asked out, raised to abide by the man who seeks them, raised to be passive to the desires of a man, and raised to place such importance on their physical bodies as a means to attract love and attention. It’s an unspoken rule, you look good to be desired. If a man desires you, that should be a “good thing”. It’s this exact mentality that allows for young boys and men to have a sense of entitlement and see no wrongdoing in their degrading and disrespectful behavior towards women.
A trending confession, when asked “If you could change anything for 24 hours, what would you change?”, many women have confessed to something along the lines of “I would vanish men for 24 hours so that I could take a stroll at night in peace and not fear being assaulted or raped.” The fact that women can’t even take a walk at night due to their fear of men is incredibly disappointing.
Countless men aren’t even aware that by pressuring women into doing things they are not comfortable with, they are contributing to the problem. Convincing a person to do something is nothing short of disrespectful. As people, we should all be able to function and express ourselves without fear that assault awaits if we don’t compromise to the norm society has set.