Monday, August 24, 2009

Rapist and Victim Training

50% of teen boys surveyed at a public health clinic stated they did not routinely use condoms. When ask why, the responses were "It's rape. It's not like it's personal or that you are going to be responsible." and "If you are trying to put on a condom, the girl has a chance to get away and you can't make her stay." When girls were questioned about experiencing any type of intimate partner violence the responses were,"It's not like he raped me or anything. I said no, I don't want to and he did it anyway. I was crying like crazy but he didn't stop." and " He's like my boyfriend. He is entitled to get sex from me, right?" So based on this information, boys are learning that if you want sex you take it, even if it means rape and girls are learning they don't have a right to say no to sex with their boyfriend. In this same survey, 58% of boys ages 14-22 had never been in a relationship, but 75% of those had experienced a train. For those of you who are not into teen culture, a train is one girl and several, sometimes up to 25 or 30, boys in succession. This generally happens behind the bleachers or on a sports field. Additionally, girls are forced into pregnancy then forced into an abortion. Teen boys have a moment of male bonding over turning their girlfriends out to their peers for sex. When you get over the shock of this information, think about what we see on TV and in movies regarding relationships. How many movies have either shown or suggested there was a rape? How many times is sex seen as the manly thing to be engaged in? Pornography is mainstream. Men are seen as predators and women as the prey. That is not to say the opposite is not true. Some women are predators. In fact, a large portion of boys that had gone on to be perpetrators expressed their first consensual sexual experience occurred at age 8 or nine with a woman in her 20's. But more and more, healthy sexual roles are few and far between for our kids. Recently, a news item stated that when surveyed, most kids report their first sexual encounter at age 13 but a huge number also report sexual activity at age 8. Where does this come from? The kids sited in the survey at the beginning of this post are from somewhere around Boston. They were being seen at a public health clinic and a screening was done for domestic/teen dating violence. This survey was not clinically controlled. There are no qualifiers here. This is simple raw data. This is not to say all boys learn to be predators and all girls will be victims. It is merely a wake up call for anyone who thinks they can counter the effects of media and societal influences with a single intervention through therapy or hospitalization. This type of culture has a great hold on the outcomes of the coming generations and in effect our future as a society. Be sure you know who is teaching your children what it looks like to be a man and a woman and how to have healthy relationships with others. Not to address this subject is to abdicate influence in favor of the media influence which is based on ratings and "if it bleeds it leads". This should make us all sleep better tonight!

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