COLUMN: I will never accept that rape is just boys being boys


Elio Sante Mug

A high school boy holding a girl down, grinding himself against her and trying to take her clothes off. That boy covering her mouth to muffle her screams while she struggles to get away.

Boys will be boys.

If you have heard this story recently, as used by the Brett Kavanaugh apologists, it apparently is behavior to be expected from young men.

But is it? I didn’t do anything like that when I was younger. I know I’m not an outlier. I guess some people were so desperate to have this particular man sit on the Supreme Court that they disregarded sexual assault survivors and trivialized his behavior. 

To excuse the behavior of one man, they accused all men of sexual assault tendencies. Because boys will be boys.

It's dismissive in the worst ways. It – assault, harassment – is just something all boys do? If a girl decides to spend time with a boy, just expect it? I don’t understand how some people can brush off disgusting and heinous acts by explaining it as just juvenile behavior. What would they say if their own daughter comes to them shaken and beaten by the trauma of an assault? What would they tell her?

Boys will be boys.

I’ve never felt threatened or hurt by people talking negatively about the male gender. Honestly, we deserve the criticism. We interrupt women, we have failed to address issues of unequal gender pay, white male privilege. We too often dismiss problems that don’t affect us.

What I will not accept is that men are inherently violent towards women. Sexual assault is not something natural to the male experience. I will not accept the argument that every man has attempted rape in his youth.

Because Christine Blasey Ford came forward with an allegation from 30 years ago, some people – like the President of the United States – are claiming it’s a “dangerous time to be a man." They believe that because a man has done terrible things when he was younger and got away with it, he shouldn't be held accountable now.

We've all done things we regret. We sometimes cringe looking back, but that's adolescence. We figure ourselves out, and hopefully don't do the same stupid things.

Rape is not something "most" men do.

These "boys will be boys" apologists don't want to live in a world where a man can be "brought down" with something he did 30 years ago, despite the trauma and anguish he caused a 15-years-old girl which still haunts her when she's 50.

To them, the 17-year-old boy has moved on. He's established himself as a family man and legal scholar. All has been forgiven. His actions were just part of a boy figuring out how to be a man. 

This caveman-like thinking about men's behavior, and responsibility, is why 1-in-6 women are the survivors of an attempted, or completed, sexual assault. It's the reason we have hundreds of thousands of unprocessed rape kits. It's the reason almost 70 percent of rapes are never reported.

Why would they come forward when they won't be believed or taken seriously?

Unfortunately, part of our society has said they won't take these allegations seriously.

They've told America that boys will not be held accountable for their action.

Boys will be boys.

And now, boys can serve as Supreme Court Justices.

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