Childrearing

UK Ad Aimed At Your Teen Son Shows Him How To Not Be A Rapist

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rape adWhen teaching sons that girls and women are competent partners, capable of articulating opinions and viewpoints that they may not agree with, another important component is respect. Although we unfortunately live in a culture that is quick to slander girls as “sluts” for a variety of reasons and slut-shame young ladies who have sexual desires, the flip side of that same coin is rape culture. Because if there ever was a narrative that was most harmful and dangerous to young girls, it’s the notion that in the case of sexual assault — they were “asking for it,” that “they weren’t really raped,” or that their assault somehow doesn’t qualify as “real rape.”

But a new British advertisement aimed at teenagers hopes to put a dent in those mythologies with a very disturbing, but accurate scenario. The government sponsored ad depicts a girlfriend and boyfriend at what appears to be a party. The two slip into a bedroom and kiss a little before the boyfriend wants to physically take things further. She tells him “no,” and checks her phone, consistently brushing him off. However, the boyfriend persists and eventually forces himself on his girlfriend without her consent. Meanwhile, an alternative version of himself watches, yelling through the glass that the girl doesn’t want to sleep with him while the audience hears the girl weeping.

It’s a powerful message and much needed one among teenage kids (and even adults) who often times only equate rape with some random person who jumps out from behind a dumpster. Statistically, your daughter is more likely to be raped by someone she knows than by someone she doesn’t as a national 2005 survey noted that 73% of rape survivors knew their attacker. Sexual violence between teenage partners is a crushing reality, with the UK reporting that a third of teenage girls and about one in six boys have experienced sexual violence from a partner. An even more startling peek into rape culture reveals that about a fifth of British “16-to 20-year-olds also thought it was probably acceptable for a boy to have sex with a girl if he had spent time and money on her.” The American numbers aren’t much better with the majority of rape victims being boys and girls under the age of 18. And on top of that, a female victims’s first rape often occurs with an intimate partner.

Parents looking to protect their sons and daughters from these crimes are doing a massive disservice by telling kids of both genders that clothes, makeup, behavior, or even alcohol, cause rape. Rape occurs when individuals are in the presence of a rapist — which can very well take the form of a friend, a relative, or in many cases, a partner. And this advertisement, which illustrates a completely standard scenario to boys and girls, highlights that truth well.

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