What Men Can Do to Stop Rape
We live in a sexist society in which men have privileges and prerogatives unavailable to women. To support these sexist patterns, men are taught to be dominant, and women are taught to be submissive. In particular, men are encouraged to take whatever they want. Thus women are no longer viewed as people. Instead they are viewed as objects to please men, to be taken. It is these attitudes that define “rape culture.” In a society that also tolerates widespread violence, understanding and love between human beings is drastically reduced.
How can we take individual responsibility for the future? What can men do to replace the attitudes that encourage and accept rape?
- Confront men who use sexist language or make jokes that are degrading to women. This only perpetuates the idea that women are objects, less than human, around to be dominated.
- Don’t allow yourself to be entertained by rape. Rape is a common device used in the media. Many of the myths about rape are depicted in the media. Refuse to watch shows that use rape to “turn on” the audience.
- Don’t allow psychological rape or commit it yourself. Psychological rape consists of verbal harassment, whistles, kissing noises, heavy breathing, sly comments or stares. These are all assaults on any woman’s sense of well-being. The underlying intention is to intimidate the woman. They are power plays couched in the language of sex.
- Don’t rape. This may seem obvious or offensive, but rape can be an elusive subject. In a recent national survey on college campuses, one out of 12 men admitted to fulfilling the legal definition of rape, but did not admit raping someone.
- Support women who have been raped. Rape is a traumatic experience that causes a woman to lose her sense of control and security. Offer her your support and acceptance, but don’t make decisions for her.
- Examine your own attitudes. We are not static individuals. Examine your attitudes and see if they make sense. People once thought the world was flat. Now we know better. Remember when most people thought women were inferior to men and men had the right to control them? That’s what we’ve been told all our lives. Now we are learning better.
– Reprinted with permission from The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.