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Stop enabling ‘rape culture’ behavior.

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Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

In kindergarten, a boy I had been playing with during recess forcefully kissed me, and when I told the teacher that it made me uncomfortable, she told me, “Don’t be a tattle-tale.”

I was 5 years old.

In elementary school, a boy asked me out and I politely declined, telling him that my dad wouldn’t let me date. He continued to ask me out every day after that and called me names every time I said no.

I was 9 years old.

In middle school, I was dress-coded for wearing shorts that were too short. I was pulled out of class because the principal didn’t want any “boys to be distracted from learning” and any of my “male teachers to be distracted from teaching.”

I was 12 years old.

Now I’m a sophomore in high school. I’m 15 years old. I have an older brother who’s only 4 years older than I am.

My mom tracks my phone, but she always assumed she knew where my brother was.

My mom won’t let me out late at night, but when my brother was my age he was allowed to stay out as late as he wanted, as long as he finished his schoolwork.

My mom always makes sure I have money and a fully charged phone when I’m leaving the house, just in case a boy decides to reach up my shirt without my permission, and I need a way of getting home fast.

She never taught my brother an escape plan. She never had to worry about any of this happening to him. Because even though he’s not much bigger than I am, he’s a boy.

And in our society, boys have earned the respect of others from the day they’re born.

None of this is abnormal to me.

As a teenage girl, I’ve had it ingrained into my head to always be careful of my surroundings and to never trust anyone too easily.

But none of this should be normal, none of this should be expected as soon as my parents found out 16 years ago that they were expecting a baby girl.

Instead of teaching your 5-year-old daughters to not be a “tattle-tale,” teach your sons to always ask before they kiss someone they’re interested in, no matter how long they were playing together at recess.

Teach your 9-year-old sons that no means no, and that rejection is a part of life and does not reflect their own worth.

While you’re teaching your 12-year-old daughters to be careful of what they wear around boys, also take the time to teach your sons that girls are not objects and that female bodies are not made for their viewing pleasure—no matter how much is showing or concealed.

I mean, why should I have to worry that some boy will view our conversation as an invitation to his bedroom because my skirt is too short, my shirt is too low and my words are too “flirty?”

Rape culture starts at a young age, and it’s up to the parents of these impressionable children to teach them that women are not alive solely for the purpose of providing pleasure to your sons.

It’s time to stop excusing their actions as “boys will be boys” and start teaching them what it takes to be a man.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Stop enabling ‘rape culture’ behavior.”

  1. Maddy Martin on December 18th, 2018 9:27 am

    Very impressive. It flows like a lyrical essay. I applaud any sophomore looking to take on a topic like that and the article is beautifully written.

  2. Abigail Whitcomb on January 3rd, 2019 7:27 pm

    I am very impressed. This is real, concise, and professional. This year’s staff of both reporters and editors continue to astound me.
    Continue writing, imagine what you can accomplish by the time you graduate.

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Stop enabling ‘rape culture’ behavior.