The attached video from Brisbane Boys College Captain Mason Black, whilst resoundingly courageous and insightful, it also a terribly sad indictment on our society.
It’s truly shameful that in 2021 objectifying women, harassing women, vilifying women and sexually assaulting women is so ingrained in behaviour and society that here in Australia the Police Commissioner is promoting the idea of a “consent app”. A bloody app that both parties log into prior to sex to consent!! Whilst I understand the idea behind it and the desperate need to to something to protect women-this is NOT the answer and would have a host of other issues that would need addressing (that’s for another blog).
Of course it’s only a small percentage of men that assault women and most men are disgusted by this behaviour and protective of women. But if we are truly honest there is another simmering culture of objectifying and harassing women that is far broader and whilst many men would not behave in this way-how many men have seen their mates objectify a woman and do nothing about it? How many men have made inappropriate comments, even to each other about what a woman is wearing or her body or even what they would like to do with her? All seems innocent and fun right?!
I mean “boys will be boys”. It’s been instilled in our culture. Wrong! “Boys will be boys” is the term used for poor behaviour and there’s really no excuse for it.
I am an open, fun loving woman with a good sense of humour and I’ve taken my fair share of this “boys will be boys” behaviour on the chin. Myself and most women I know have been objectified throughout our lives.
We’ve been wolf whistled. I’ve had all sorts of disgusting comments made to me about my body, some from complete strangers and some from men who should have known better. I’ve been leered at and grabbed in bars and clubs and there have been times I reacted but sadly this too can be dangerous as after one such occasion I was physically assaulted.
I know women who have been sexually assaulted and let me be clear, it is never the woman’s fault. Doesn’t matter what she’s wearing, what her sexual history is like, if she was walking alone- sexual assault is an act of violence and control.
We live in a society with huge double standards, where a males “colourful” sexual history is applauded yet if a woman has the same she is vilified. A male is a legend and a woman is a slut. In 2021 how do we still have this double standard?
As women we are taught out of fear to protect ourselves. We are told not to walk alone, especially at night. We are told what to wear to make us less of a target. We know what we need to do to try and stay safe-the question is why should we have to?
When a woman is raped and it goes to trial (the small percentage that do), it’s the woman whose behaviour is questioned. She will be vilified over and over- raped by the judicial system. Her clothing will be on display-perhaps her cleavage was showing. Maybe she had been drinking. Maybe she had flirted. Maybe she was wearing a short dress. Maybe she smiled.
So many maybe’s and none of them matter. If you think they matter then you are part of the problem!
The sexual assault and rape culture throughout schools, universities and colleges across the world is disgusting. Mostly swept under the carpet. These boys/men move on with their lives and the girls/women are left to pick up the pieces of a life ruined– sadly some of them do not survive. If we continue to rug sweep this abhorrent behaviour and in some cases protect these perpetrators for their “one little mistake” we are part of the problem.
I do not care whether you are from a wealthy family. Have a promising athletic career or have been accepted to the best college. If you assault a woman, you are a predator and you need to face the consequences. If anyone thinks you should get a second chance they are part of the problem. You are the problem. What second chance does the woman get?
The narrative absolutely needs to change and it’s up to all of us. We need to stop telling women what they need to do to stay safe and start teaching our boys. Our boys need to understand that any disrespectful behaviour towards women is unacceptable (my son knows exactly what we would do if we saw him disrespecting a woman).
We need to stop telling young girls in schools that they cannot wear a sports top for sport because a shoulder maybe exposed and that could affect a boy or worse a male teacher. We need to STOP portraying women as objects and a piece of meat. We are NOT the problem.
We need to start addressing the problem. And a bloody good start would be the punishment fitting the crime. This starts with an overhaul of how sexual assault is treated throughout the judicial system.
We need to all start being accountable and when we see this behaviour we need to call it out.
Thank you Mason for highlighting what should have been dealt with years ago. Men and women-we are all human so let’s start being compassionate human beings!
Note: Yes there are women out there who are dishonest and make false accusations and that also needs to STOP but statistics show that is a very small number. We have a much larger cultural problem with the objectification, harassment and assault of women.
“We must send a message across the world, that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence- the shame is on the aggressor”.