“She shouldn’t have had so much to drink!”
“She was asking for it!”
“Look what she was wearing!”
“She shouldn’t have been out on her own!”
These are just some examples of the things people say when they hear that a woman or girl has been sexually assaulted. And that is exactly what happened – they were assaulted; their bodies taken advantage of without their permission. And yet we continue to question their decisions or behavior, when heinous acts are being committed against them?
We spend time educating our daughters about the 1 in 3 women who will experience physical or sexual violence over the course of their life (World Health Organization, 2016). We tell our daughters to carry alert whistles or pepper spray and to not walk alone at night. But, as important as it is to teach our daughters about how to be safe, how many of us are stepping away from focusing on the “responsibility” that our daughters carry and instead, properly placing it back on the men, who are the perpetrators. How many of us are choosing to no longer accept the patriarchal disrespect that women experience and instead, take action to hold men accountable for their actions. This is a call on all the fathers and grandfathers, uncles, and big brothers…it is time for us to teach our young men and boys how to be sexually respectful, to demand of them that they ask for permission and that they care for the other person more than power, pleasure, money, or status. Violence against women is not right (even the label on the violence absolves men of responsibility). Blaming the victim is not acceptable. It is time for the perpetrator to bear the blame. It’s time to end the Violence Committed By Men.
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Authored by: Lance H – Chair of MentorAction