Mother and rape survivor Jody Allard has penned a powerful Op-Ed for The Washington Post, in which she describes her teenage sons, ages 16 and 18, rolling their eyes and arguing when she broaches issues of sexism and misogyny. Raising the Stanford University sexual assault case, she says one responded with “Not rape culture again,” and the other, “There’s no such thing as rape culture. You say everything is about rape culture or sexism.”
Those responses, coming from her own kids, shocked her and motivated her to speak out about how merely informing teenage boys about consent is not enough — they need to be encouraged to “have the courage to speak out against rape culture, too.”
Although they are “good boys,” she says, they are failing to be allies in the fight against rape culture.
Teenage boys, she observes, are reluctant to step outside “the pack,” continuing instead to “at least dip their toes into toxic masculinity.” Their passivity, she argues, perpetuates the same broken system that meant ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner served only six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
While her sons, and other teenage boys, know about consent they do not talk about it, she says, and that is a problem. “You don’t earn the honor [of being a good man] by simply shaking your head when you hear about Turner and other rapists being given lenient sentences,” writes Allard. “You earn it by acting to end rape culture, and by doing it even when it’s awkward and uncomfortable as hell.”
Read the full Op-Ed at The Washington Post.