An Open Letter To The Males In My Life
We need to talk.
Please don’t stop reading. Please read all the way through, it really isn’t a long read, I promise.
I am fully aware that I have been pretty blessed with some pretty awesome males figures in my life, whether it be friend or family member. Please, know that in all of this, I speak only in love and kindness and respect.
I am decently sure that most of you know that I am incredibly passionate about rape and sexual assault and sexual violence and the like. I realize that by now, you might be zoning out because YOU have never raped anyone, and you LOVE the women in your life. YOU don’t actually have to change.
Right? … Right?
Well… maybe you shouldn’t look at it that way.
Now while I totally agree that most guys haven’t actually actively raped someone, and I doubt I know many guys that are close to me that have, how many of you have helped stop it from happening to others?
Have you laughed when a coworker or friend tells a rape joke?
Have you made sexist jokes, then gotten angry when a female takes offense?
Have you commented on other women’s clothing, calling them whores or sluts?
Have you catcalled women?
Have you commented on a rape case, saying that the girl must have wanted it because *insert completely irrelevant information here*?
Have you excused a boy’s behavior by saying “boys will be boys” or the like?”
Have you automatically taken the side of the male in a feud between the two sexes without thinking?
Have you told young girls that if a “boy is mean to her, he must like her”, when in reality, that just normalizes domestic violence tendencies?
Have you complimented your daughters more on their appearance than their minds?
Have you called other women ugly in the presence of your young girls?
Have you been involved in “locker room talk” and normalized it?
You see, the dynamics that have allowed rape to exist and thrive can be attributed in part to two things: sexism, and the objectification of women. These are the building blocks that sexual violence stems from. As a survivor, I really wish that my perpetrators had been taught growing up to respect women. I really wished that his friends were scolded when they talked about women like objects. I really wish that the men that surrounded them understood that just because you are not actively raping someone does not mean that you have done all you can to stop rape from happening.
I have no doubt that my dad loves me, and I bet if my dad had the option of going back and educating the men that raped me, he would in a heartbeat, as would most of the men in my life. I strongly believe that if you all were to band together and hold each other and your sons accountable, real change would occur, and the world would be a bit safer for me.
Maybe, in doing so, you could protect your daughters and future daughters as well.