It is becoming more and more clear of late, that anyone can be victimized, and it is our responsibility to protect ourselves the best we can. This is particularly important for women because they are the victims of sexual crimes the majority of the time. However, this does not mean that it is women’s responsibility to prevent sexual assault and harassment.
This is, primarily, the guys’ job. Though the majority of men will never rape in their lifetimes, most offenders are males.i
Why is this important for us to understand? Because very few of the guys who victimize others plan to grow up and do that. As adult men (especially those of us who do not go around molesting and harassing others), it is imperative that we teach the younger men in our lives how NOT to be “That Guy.”
Here is a list of 13 things men can work to instill in the next generation to stop this cycle of selfish, entitlement and assault.
- Accept that no means no. And accept that a lot of other things mean no. ”Maybe” means no, “wait” means no, “ouch” means no, and a whole bunch of other things can mean no. Accept that nothing other than “yes” means yes until we are shown very clearly otherwise.
- Make choices about the ways we think about the roles of males and females and the ideas that we have about masculinity and femininity.
- Do not hang out with sexually aggressive, criminal, or violent people.
- Do not put up with words like “slut” and “whore.” These words are essentially unfair because there is no male equivalent. It is not OK for a girl to be slut-shamed if she chooses to do sexual things with fifteen people while a guy who does sexual things with fifteen people gets a high five.
- Pay attention to our drug and alcohol usage. Substances make us do lots of things we would not do sober.
- Pay attention to our level of impulsivity and our ability to delay gratification in general.
- If we have any sort of attention-deficit issue, we must handle it responsibly.
- Pay attention to the porn we watch and its portrayal of both women and men.
- If we have been abused, molested, or raped, take care of ourselves. This means talking to someone. Male victims are statistically more likely to act out their abuse on others because boys who are assaulted are less likely to talk about it than girls (and, therefore, less likely to seek counseling or get help).ii
- Be a good friend. We all know someone who has been sexually abused; one out of every five guys is raped or molested before the age of eighteen. If our friends are not sharing these types of things with us, there’s a chance that we are not viewed as someone that is sensitive to this stuff. That is worth investigating.
- On that note, support those you know who have been abused, both female and male (because the stats say it’s one out of every three girls). This means that for every 100 friends you have on Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, around 40 of them have been molested or assaulted.
- So, do not promote rape jokes, rape games, rape music, or other aspects of “rape culture.” Monitor our family and cultural values, judgments, and feelings about women— mainly if they involve women being targets of hostility and violence, or viewed as inferior, as property, or as only there for sex… Ideas about male dominance and thinking that it’s the girl’s job to get guys off also contribute to rape-culture mentality.
- Do not engage in anyone’s oppression based on race, national origin, language, age, level of disability, sex, gender, or orientation, and when you see someone else doing it, say something.
i “Reducing Sexual Abuse Through Treatment and Intervention with Abusers” policy and position statement. Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Beaverton, Oregon, November 13, 1996.
ii “Fact Sheet: Sexual Abuse of Boys.” Prevent Child Abuse America, 2011, accessed August 2011, http://www.preventchildabuse.org/images/docs/sexualabuseofboys.pdf.
Some of this was previously published in Langford’s book, “Spare Me, ‘The Talk’!” (2015).
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