Daron has a soapbox moment.
It's time to end it... NOW!
I have heard too many incidents of this occurring recently that is causing me to weep for our girls... and boys. It is happening in our homes, churches and schools and largely we are unprepared for it!
There is something inherently wrong when our girls are no longer safe in schools.... And yes it is happening in a school near you, private, public and christian. Our "good" boys and our popular boys and our "normal" boys are participating in a "raunch" culture that is often unmonitored, unnoticed or tacitly written off. There is something really wrong when our girls are bullied, harassed and objectified at school, in our communities and online and it is time to end it... NOW!
Rape culture is the only way to describe it and it is so entrenched in our society, and its components so ubiquitous, we may sense that something doesn’t taste right, but be at a loss to pinpoint the problem.
The problem is that it is now endemic and ingrained and is invading our boys culture and affecting our girls. Our girls are often cajoled, nagged and forced into performing, posting and sexting obscene acts just to fit in and be popular or to get attention and be desired. These girls are often left exposed, betrayed and made to feel dirty and hopeless!
There are so many factors that contribute to this toxic mix and in reality boys are acting out in what can at times only be described as a pack mentality what they are seeing in the media, sport, their computer games and in their society.
There is something really wrong when our girls are sexually harassed in the playground and classroom being called, sluts, whores and bitches. They are degraded through simulated sex acts, vulgar language and demeaning connotations.
Our girls are copping the brunt leading to emotional and psychological distress and the worse thing is that often the girl is shamed further by disbelieving staff and administrations.
The most worrying thing about this is that it is not just in high schools but is also in our primary schools and at increasingly younger ages.
Here are just some of the components that I think contribute this culture. You might be able to name some more.
1. Video games... Many video games reinforce gender stereotypes. In many games as men progress they put on more armour and as women progress through the levels they lose their clothing. Players are encouraged to hurt or kill woman (for example raping and killing women in Grand theft Auto 5 in order to progress to the next level.)
The average Australian child spends 40 plus hours per week in front of some sort of screen and most of that time is spent in online gaming.
2. Violent music (rap, heavy metal) terms regularly used sluts, bitches, whores, raping, choking, shooting. Studies have shown that men who listen to misogynistic music were more likely to be aggressive towards women and increased adversarial sexual beliefs
3. Violent Porn is now the norm on the web and our children are being exposed to it at an increasing younger age and they are downloading it in their bedrooms. These videos include physical aggression including pushing, biting, gagging, choking and mutilating. They also include verbal aggression including name calling, threatening physical harm.
Soft porn on our billboards, shop windows, magazines and advertisements objectifies, pornifies and places women in subservient positions and roles. This is the wrapping paper of society that our children grow up in.
Pornography is a potent teacher of both beliefs and behaviours. It teaches sexual behaviours and attitudes towards women and girls. Traditional models of courting such as hand holding and kissing have now been replaced by the expectation of sex acts from the very first date of an increasingly violent nature and both our girls and boys are bewildered and humiliated by this. The affects are devastating.
4. Cultures of honour. Based on a man's strength and power to enforce his will on others or to command deferential treatment. The emphasis is on a man's strengths to protect his family and possessions. They are hypersensitive to insults and threats to reputation and these threats are met with violence and aggression. In this culture women are to be modest, faithful, deferential and passive.
5. Poor modelling/mentoring. Poor father models or the absence of a father model increases the chances that boys grow up with a poor view of women.
6. Passive action/failure/denial to call out rape culture. People in administration and power say that "boys will be boys", "my boy couldn't do that", "that wouldn't happen in our school", "no doesn't really Mean no", "she must have led him on", "it must mean he likes you", turning a blind eye, saying the girl did something to provoke etc all assist in the promotion of a rape culture.
7. Patriarchal enclaves where women are subordinated in favour of men often using theological reasoning and a "thus says the lord" approach condoning women's subordination. Rape culture is at its most horrific when it is condoned in the name of the church and God.
It is time to stand up and collectively shout enough is enough and take a stand up for our girls and boys! This change has to start with you and me. We have to stand up and call out rape culture for what it is. It is time to take back the proverbial village.
It's time to end it... NOW!
Daron hops off his soapbox and begins to call rape culture for what it is!