I recently read the article, “I’ve Talked with Teenage Boys about Sexual Assault for 20 Years. This Is What They Still Don’t Know,” written by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laurie Halse Anderson is the author of the popular novel Speak. Not only has Halse Anderson written a very popular book that addresses “conversations about rape mythology, sexual violence and consent,” but she also travels the country visiting schools to give talks with thousands of students in hopes of helping people understand sexual violence. “Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.” This fact shows that in America we have a problem with sexual assault. I believe that teenage boys need to understand this issue more closely because they are not taught to respect women from an early age. I do not think the topic of rape and sexual assault is really talked about in a way that teaches boys what is right and wrong.

“Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.” This fact shows that in America we have a problem with sexual assault. I believe that teenage boys need to understand this issue more closely because they are not taught to respect women from an early age. I do not think the topic of rape and sexual assault is really talked about in a way that teaches boys what is right and wrong.

A way to solve this problem is by teaching boys about consent. Teaching them the ways on how to respect women basically means when they hear a women say the word “no,” it really means “no”. For example, a lot boys are not mature enough to handle it.

One point in this article that really stood out to me was the fact that many boys felt like the character in the book Speak put herself in the position of being raped. For example, “they don’t believe that she was actually raped. They argue that she drank beer, she danced with her attacker and, therefore, she wanted sex. They see his violence as a reasonable outcome.” If boys have that mindset, then they do not understand the legal definition of consent: consent has to be sober, freely given, and on-going. Also, people are less likely to believe the woman when it comes to a situation like this one because they are supposed to be friends and trust each other.

It is true that some teenage boys really do not listen and when some do, they don’t care about the consequences that come with it. However, there are other boys that do care. For example, the author points out that in her experience of talking with teenage boys she has also noticed that, “teenage boys are hungry for practical conversations about sex. They want to know the rules. They want to be the good guy, the stand-up honorable dude. Their intentions may be good but their ignorance is dangerous.”  More boys need to have that same mindset and that is why society needs to communicate with them more openly about what it means to show respect. It needs to start with children’s parents because most kids feel more comfortable talking about the consequences of not respecting a woman with people they trust.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Boys Need to Listen by Ana is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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