With the world still reeling from the brutal gang-rape and murder of the young woman in India by six men, and with the United States divided over the rape in Steubenville, Ohio, allegedly perpetrated by two high school football players and then laughed about by other male students, the time to talk to boys about being respectful and nonviolent is NOW.
In direct response to the Steubenville incident, Chris Menning, the Editor of ModernPrimate.com, created this passionate video about rape culture. He asks: “Is it possible that these boys didn’t question what they were doing because of the attitudes of their role models in school and society as a whole? Furthermore, can pre-emptively teaching them not to be creepy also teach them not to commit rape?”
I do think conversations about healthy masculinity and consent are important, as are conversations about entitlement (someone who is trying to look attractive isn’t necessarily doing it for YOU and if you see someone too drunk to talk coherently, it’s not your right to harm them) and how not to be a creeper. I also think the earlier adults have these conversations with boys the better.
Here are a just five examples of relevant programs and resources that parents, teachers, coaches, and other adults who work with youth or can be a good influence on them can use.
1. Men Can Stop Rape‘s youth development program, the Men of Strength Club, is the country’s premier primary violence prevention program for mobilizing young men to prevent sexual and dating violence.
2. The Futures Without Violence program Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM) provides men with a playbook/toolkit they can use to talk with boys about street harassment, domestic violence, and sexual violence.
3. The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)’s Parivartan program teaches boys in India about healthy masculinity, respect for girls/women, and anti-violence through the unifying sport of cricket.
4. Roger’s Park Young Women’s Action Team compiled their work on addressing gender violence with boys in the Where Our Boys At? A Toolkit for Engaging Young Men as Allies to End Violence.
5. Jake Winn, a Peace Corps volunteer and a youth development facilitator in northern Azerbaijan helped his male students make an Anti-Street Harassment video. The title, “Ay Gardash! Kishi Ol!”, can be translated to, ‘Hey man, be a gentleman!” He also developed a companion lesson plan: Street Harassment Lesson Plan (English) | Street Harassment Lesson Plan (Azerbaijani)Share on Facebook