A friend “tagged” me in a Facebook post that linked to this article by Henry Rollins. This a serious enough issue that I want to address it, especially from the perspective of a parent and school board hopeful. My friend indicated in her tag that she would like to see his ideas in our district. I think the spirit of his ideas are right, but I am not sure about the details. I have to say that he did put the blame where it belongs: on the offenders, but also on the society in which they matured. Rollins says that we need “women’s studies in the high schools” and total sex ed where students can “learn how it all works,” and that “rape is rape.” These are the difficulties I have with Rollins’ ideas. I don’t think the problem is a lack of course work or that these men didn’t know “how it all works.” I think it goes much much deeper than that.
In my opinion, the problem is a lack of responsibility, denial of the humanity of others, little respect for human life, and a belief that there are no real consequences to their actions. I could get behind Rollins’ first suggestion, that women’s studies be offered in High School, but if, and only if, the courses were handled with care and in such a way that they avoided any suggestion of the “male bashing” that is often expected in these classes. By all means, teach about the heroic role of women in all facets of life and in the in the world, but do it while respecting men. These women were successful and heroic – sometimes in spite of men, sometimes instead of men, but often alongside men. We can not forget that we are two halves of humanity, and I think sometimes this kind of course does that. They need to teach that women are true equals – different in their femininity, but equally strong, intelligent, and capable. Will that solve the problem? I don’t think so – but for those students who DON’T see women in these roles, it might at least present another point of view for them to develop.
As for total sex ed – I really do not believe this is the answer to this problem. Sex ed is a serious issue, but one for another time. Most men don’t need sex ed to know rape is bad, and “How it all works” has nothing to do with an act being rape or not. Society, family, and general humanity should teach all people – men and women – what rape is, and that it is always unacceptable and deserving of the harshest punishment. Anatomy, contraception, and how to avoid STD’s are not going to teach one not to rape, and in fact there are those who would say it would increase the dangers. Respect is what needs to be taught. The value of humanity and freedom of others needs to be taught. Not “safe sex.”
And Rollins’ last (facetious?) point, that equal time be given to male and female peep shots, I could not disagree with more. However, I could not AGREE more with his last statement: “don’t take that…picture.” It boils down to that – regardless of what the person puts out there, show them we live in a culture of respect. We can begin growing such a culture when photographers refuse to promote “The shot,” and schools and families demand respect from and for everyone. If we do that, movies will change, music will adapt, and young people will start living it. THAT is what I think will lead to fewer tragedies like Steubenville happening in the future.