Because Amber Cole is Just a Kid and Boys Learn to Be Boys

It ain’t no fun/if the homies can’t have none. – Snoop Dogg

You know, there are a lot of people weighing in on this Amber Cole thing. But most of the conversation is about her, as is par for the course in our culture. The boys involved are still anonymous in the eyes of the world. For me, I always wonder why there aren’t open letters to these kids? There are tons to Amber Cole – people saying they could be her father, people saying STFU with all that victim-blaming and feminist-scapegoating madness – but no one seems interested in writing letters to the boys involved.

But hey, maybe it’s just me. I guess when one of your friends – along with a person who sexually assaulted you – ends up in jail for gang rape, you start thinking about things a bit differently.

After I wrote the Not Rape Epidemic, right after I submitted the essay, but before it was actually published, I ran into an old friend at my local library. I hadn’t seen this friend in a decade – indeed, I didn’t remember her name until I left the library. Yet somehow, we both happened to be in the same library, at the same time, on the same day, after not seeing each other for ten years. We say hey, make small talk.

And then she asks me: “Did you know T got out?”

We both were silent for a second. We hadn’t talked since before the incident. She didn’t know that I had been to that trial. She didn’t know I had seen the girl. And I had forgotten she was far closer to him than I was. When T and the other kids were sentenced, we calculated they would get out when we were in our 30s or 40s. We didn’t realize how the system works, and how a lot of people end up released early. T had been incarcerated from age 14 to about age 24.

“His sister called me,” my friend continued. “She asked me if I wanted to come to his his welcome home party.” She looked at me, stared hard so I could feel the weight of her pain.

“How am I supposed to look at him after he did something like that?”

Folks have been largely silent on the role of boys and men in all this. Who, exactly, taught this young kid that the right way to treat a girl who likes him is to ask her to perform a sex act in public? (If the rumors are to be believed, she was attempting to win his affection.) Who taught the boy with the camera that they could video record sex acts and upload them to the internet without consent of the principals? Who the hell is the third kid who is just watching? Why is he hanging around while this is happening? Is anyone concerned that the things these boys learned, either explicitly from their peers or implicitly from society? That these actions got two of them arrested? Started them down the pipeline for incarceration? May have them branded as a sexual offenders for the rest of their days?

Oh, but that’s cool right?

When Jimi Izrael writes:

I am Amber Cole’s father and this should go with saying: I am angry with those boys. But I knew those boys. Those boys were my friends. I grew up with those boys, hung out with those boys.

He writes that he is the other guy. But there are no other guys. My friend didn’t have problems with gathering female attention. He didn’t seem like the type to do something like a brutal gang rape ending in sodomy. And, if what I knew about his personality wasn’t completely wrong, he probably did not participate. But he was there. He watched. He did not help this girl, being beaten bloody by one of his friends. He didn’t stop the act. Maybe he tried to intervene, maybe he didn’t – I don’t know, he had already been tried and sentenced. But he was there. And he left with the other perpetrators. That’s why they have accessory charges.

And that’s why I don’t want to think about him, and that’s why my friend didn’t want to look him in the face. Because he was there and said nothing.

Our culture teaches boys that this is okay. That it is okay to use people. That you are expected to disregard a woman’s feelings, to do what you want with her, to find women who are pliable who you can mold, who will seek your favor and happily trade a few moments on her knees for her affection. Our society teaches boys that this is ok, that this is what you do with women. The onus is on women not to be used. Men do not hear “don’t be an abuser” in the same way men don’t hear “don’t be a rapist.” The onus is always on women keeping themselves safe, on women not putting themselves in positions to be attacked or exploited. And when something does happen, when teenagers being teenagers suddenly becomes a nation newsstory, everyone wants to talk about what the girl should have done to prevent herself from being in the situation.

Once again, we aren’t talking to the boys.

So if the boys don’t know what is wrong, or why what they did was wrong, they will never know. Because we don’t talk to boys in that way. We want them to muddle through on their own, we allow them to consume messages that say the path to proving your masculinity lies in dominance, in the subjugation of women for sexual means. Because that’s all this really is. A boy, thinking he could be seen as cool, if he could get this girl to do this thing while his friends watched. A girl, thinking she could win this boy, by doing this thing, not realizing this wasn’t a game she could ever win.

We talk about the school to prison pipeline. We don’t talk about this.

We don’t tell boys what they learned is wrong. So we shouldn’t be surprised if they repeat the behavior, if that behavior becomes habit. We tell them, in our actions and words, that this was okay. Because there’s little outrage directed at these boys. So if they draw the conclusion that “she shouldn’t have let me do it” instead of “that whole situation that I orchestrated was wrong, and I hurt someone else very badly, and I hurt myself,” we shouldn’t be surprised.

And if these boys then repeat that behavior, then we shouldn’t be surprised.

Because we are too busy lecturing Amber Cole. We don’t know what’s going on with these boys. And so, it is only a matter of time before the women who know them cannot bear to look at them either.

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  • Nonya4

    Some thoughts here on a very sad and yet ever-present and will-never-goaway issue:

    1) If we as a society are really concerned about girls, let’s start by banning video games that objectify women and promote violence

    2) If we as black people are concerned about our girls – can we please get BET off the fucking air? It’s toxic – I don’t care to hear the bullshit about “rap is art” – it’s toxic garbage that does more harm than good

    3) Sex sells – we as a society spend more on sex related items/activities than anyone else…is it no wonder that our morals are so depraved

    4) Yes it’s bad that this 14 year was filmed in such an act…the reality is that kids this age are having sex, many of them are becoming parents…are we surprised by the act or the filming? I’m surprised by neither – all I can say is that it’s more telling/disgusting that someone (esp adults) would want to watch this

    5) oh, and as for the shame of being online filming – can we say Kim Kardashian? funny how many people idolize her

    6) Yes we need to have a conversation with boys, but first lets have it with men. Many of whom sadly, are still boys.

  • Nonya4

    Some thoughts here on a very sad and yet ever-present and will-never-goaway issue:

    1) If we as a society are really concerned about girls, let’s start by banning video games that objectify women and promote violence

    2) If we as black people are concerned about our girls – can we please get BET off the fucking air? It’s toxic – I don’t care to hear the bullshit about “rap is art” – it’s toxic garbage that does more harm than good

    3) Sex sells – we as a society spend more on sex related items/activities than anyone else…is it no wonder that our morals are so depraved

    4) Yes it’s bad that this 14 year was filmed in such an act…the reality is that kids this age are having sex, many of them are becoming parents…are we surprised by the act or the filming? I’m surprised by neither – all I can say is that it’s more telling/disgusting that someone (esp adults) would want to watch this

    5) oh, and as for the shame of being online filming – can we say Kim Kardashian? funny how many people idolize her

    6) Yes we need to have a conversation with boys, but first lets have it with men. Many of whom sadly, are still boys.

  • Anonymous

    Hear, hear! If it wasn’t for Adam Serwer, I wouldn’t have heard about this at all, and when it sank in that a 14-year-old kid did this with people watching my jaw dropped. Something really is wrong at home there. But something is wrong at home that anyone involved thought this could be OK. 

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  • Anonymous

    I agree with you that the boy may also have been under pressure to “perform” and may have felt coerced. But you are missing the key ingredient of what makes sex into sex and not sexual assault – namely CONSENT. Consenting to oral sex is not the same thing as consenting to be recorded or consenting to have the recording spread all over the Internet. Until the latter two things are no longer considered “consequences” of consenting to the first thing, this discussion is going nowhere. Who made the decision to upload and spread that video? That person is a victimizer, period.

  • Tiffane

    Ah, yes. There’s much discussion about victims and for victims, not enough about not being a rapist or what it means. Victims won’t be victims if we stop focusing on them but focus instead on preventing a perpetrator from becoming one.

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  • Aya

    To those who ask why Amber Cole is the considered the victim when the boys are not, even though they all participiated:  

    Amber Cole was the one who was taunted, sent threats, told she was a slut, given lectures on ‘respecting herself,’ and bullied out of school .  The boys weren’t.   She did consent to giving a blow job, and while she was probably too young to be doing it and the venue was inappropriate, there is nothing innately with the act and she didn’t hurt anyone.  She didn’t consent to having an illegal, private video of her posted on the internet (even in the most low budget porn, you have to sign papers allowing it to be distributed and show id). The guys did it knowing that it would humiliate and hurt her.  The difference there shouldn’t be as difficult to see as it is for some people.  

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  • Anonymous

    I am only approving this to correct a key assumption.

    1. *If* Amber Cole consented to perform a sex act on one or ALL of the boys, that’s between her and them.

    HOWEVER,

    2. Consenting to perform a sex act and consenting to have a 3rd party record and upload that act and broadcast it are two completely different things. Why is that so hard to understand? It is not ok! You do not upload videos and images of people without their permission, and you damn sure don’t upload sex acts because that is when it crosses the boundary into criminal acts.

    Before you start citing records that a bunch of uninformed kids put together, you may want to take the second to step to them to let them know there are legal ramifications to their actions, instead of fostering the same kind of “well, if she’s gonna let me” attitudes that got us here in the first place.

    Finally. We’re on the internet. Don’t be passing things around unless you want them to go viral. I really hope that you didn’t put that link on other sites, because suddenly, those kids could be the subject of the same unwanted attention Amber Cole now has, and receive the same type of backlash. They deserve better than that. And they deserve to learn from someone who has their best interests at heart. Seriously, what the fuck?

    • Lyonside

      I don’t know what comments you’re not approving, but I can guess. I just wanna say Thank You for reading them, so we don’t have to.

    • Lyonside

      I don’t know what comments you’re not approving, but I can guess. I just wanna say Thank You for reading them, so we don’t have to.

    • Random commenter

      I don’t think this comment was really worth posting. The guy’s Facebook page indicates he’s been posting the exact same comment on all kinds of sites, including one video saying the whole Amber Cole thing was a hoax.

  • Anonymous

     WHO ARE THEY? WHERE ARE THEIR NAMES? WHY HAS THE MEDIA NOT PRINTED THEIR NAMES? @LATOYA PATTERSON do you know who they are and could you please print their names and ages! 

    Amber Cole is apparently a pseudonym, to protect her true identity. 

    Even if I knew the names of the boys involved, I would not print them.  As far as we know, everyone involved in this situation is a minor. You don’t release the names of minors involved in these crimes. And, if memory serves, most media outlets haven’t gotten involved.  This was a story driven by Twitter and the blogosphere – media began reporting on it afterward.

    This would not be child sexual assault, unless they prove that Amber Cole did not consent to these activities.  That could go either way – the third boy could just be observing or he could be enforcing.  We have no idea.  Not sure if Baltimore has Romeo and Juliet laws , but that would also mitigate things.

    In this situation, we have things that are morally wrong, and things that could carry a criminal charge.  

    The first and second boys did something morally wrong, but what they did was not a crime.  It isn’t a crime to manipulate someone, though it is wrong.  You don’t get jail time for being an asshole. What those boys did was stupid and damaging, but it is not something to incarcerate someone over.

    The third boy, with the camera, is the one who chose to record the act, which opens him up for some liability.  Now, I am not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice, but considering they have been prosecuting kids for distribution of pornographic images, he could be on the hook for that. (And if the other two colluded in uploading and distributing the video they could also be liable.) That’s the crime here – recording a sex act involving a minor.  It was also uploaded without her consent, but her consent wouldn’t mean much even if it had been given before hand.

    And returning to morality, these people who watched should not have done so.  And instead, they try to deflect that by saying “well, if she was grown enough to do it.”

    These are kids. We are adults.  The onus is on us to know better and to teach better.

    • http://molecularshyness.wordpress.com jen*

      I am so relieved that Amber Cole is not her real name.  

      • Lyonside

        Unfortunately, this is the Internet. I feel like it’s only a matter of time…

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  • Anonymous

    Yeah, all of this.

    I also wonder if, by focusing our attention on the victim, we fail to ask ourselves what might have happened to these boys to provoke their view of what is acceptable behavior toward others. So many young kids are introduced to sex by being abused. Are they simply giving back the kind of abuse that they once got?

    • Anonymous

      Excellent point.  This was intended to be a show, and clearly, somewhere along the line, the boys had decided this was ok.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Carroll/100003021167235 Mary Carroll

    Love the blogpost and the comments.  But I wonder if we don’t need to expand the question from “what should we teach boys about how to treat women” to “what should we teach kids about how to treat people.”  Cases like Amber Cole’s are horrific, but they may simply be an extremification of the day-to-day cruelty commenters described experiencing from “groups of guys,” and also an extremification of the bullying that infests most middle and high schools — among girls as well as boys.  I know it’s tough, but we need somehow to teach kids that what makes them valuable, lovable human beings is what they accomplish, not how many people they can (at one end of the spectrum) make miserable or (at the other end of the spectrum) beat the crap out of.  And, in part, that teaching has to be based on the way kids see adults treating each other…. 

    • K*

      I think once you start to focus on kids treating “people” better, you aren’t focusing on the real problem of men sexually abusing girls, and boys sexually harassing girls.

    • K*

      I think once you start to focus on kids treating “people” better, you aren’t focusing on the real problem of men sexually abusing girls, and boys sexually harassing girls.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, I had not heard about this situation until now. Unfortunately, I am not all that surprised. It certainly harkens back to the R. Kelly child-rape sex tape case. I was in high school when this happened and nearly everyone I knew had seen the video at least once. Even some of the teacher’s at my school were talking about it(!). The same victim-blaming took place and the same accusations were made as with this case. Even women and girls were blaming this young lady for engaging in the act, even though R. Kelly was an adult. We all know how that case turned out. With misogyny rampant in every corner of society among all classes, races, etc and all of the new media outlets available to the average human this was bound to happen.

    Also, not to sound like an old fogey (which I am not), but I think part of why this occurred (specifically the recording aspect) was not only due to lack of parental guidance,  ingrained societal misogyny and double standards, and little anti-sexual assault education directed at males but also to the normalization of these kinds of behaviors by media and celebrities. “Performing” sex and sex voyeurism is so normalized now, whether it is celebrities posting nude photos of themselves on Twitter, videos on YouTube and of men secretly filming women’s body parts in public, reality shows like Jersey Shore and the Real World that make constant drunken casual sex recorded on camera for the world to view seem like the norm, or celebrity sex tapes a la Kim Kardashian who used it as a platform for stardom. This media is aimed at pre-teens and young teenagers. I am not blaming the media and celebrities for the boys actions, but I do think they have helped to create an environment where sexual voyeurism and exhibitionism is seen as normal.

  • Anonymous

    Things are TERRIBLE for young girls right now.   It seems like men don’t know how to treat women anymore. And people aren’t raising their sons to have respect for women’s bodies, and women are being taught that this treatment is “normal.”  Its just sickening.  There should be an “it gets better” campaign for young girls.

    • LMNOP

      Except, does it get better?

      • Anonymous

        It’s gets more gray.

    • Marisa

      There should be an it gets better campaign for girls! While I agree with your sentiment that both boys and girls need to be taught how to respect their bodies, I’m disturbed by your claim that “men don’t know how to treat women anymore.” Women have always been treated with disrespect. I would say that men have yet to learn how to treat women. Kathleen M. Brown’s Good Wives, Nasty Wenches & Anxious Patriarchs and Dorothy Robert’s Killing the Black Body demonstrates that the U.S. created its notion of citizenship through the inhumane treatment of women. This isn’t new. It just repeats itself over and over again. I’ve heard the argument that the demand for equality has confused men. Why? It’s asking for equality. Treat other as you would have others treat you, with respect! What’s at stake is patriarchy. How do men treat women as equal but still control them. That men knew how to treat women in the olden days gives credence to the myth of chivalry that requires women to behave like damsels in distress. I think you are right on with a need for an it gets better campaign for girls, but only if it asks for equality.

    • Marisa

      There should be an it gets better campaign for girls! While I agree with your sentiment that both boys and girls need to be taught how to respect their bodies, I’m disturbed by your claim that “men don’t know how to treat women anymore.” Women have always been treated with disrespect. I would say that men have yet to learn how to treat women. Kathleen M. Brown’s Good Wives, Nasty Wenches & Anxious Patriarchs and Dorothy Robert’s Killing the Black Body demonstrates that the U.S. created its notion of citizenship through the inhumane treatment of women. This isn’t new. It just repeats itself over and over again. I’ve heard the argument that the demand for equality has confused men. Why? It’s asking for equality. Treat other as you would have others treat you, with respect! What’s at stake is patriarchy. How do men treat women as equal but still control them. That men knew how to treat women in the olden days gives credence to the myth of chivalry that requires women to behave like damsels in distress. I think you are right on with a need for an it gets better campaign for girls, but only if it asks for equality.

  • LMNOP

    I’m about to be really overly personal here, in the safe anonymity of the internet, but I got gang raped when I was a teenager, and i think about this kind of stuff (but much less eloquently) every. single. [expletive deleted]. day. I wish I could put my thoughts on all this stuff into words, but until I can, I really appreciate what you’re saying and doing here.

    • Lyonside

      Hugs, prayers, and/or virtual chocolate, if you accept them. To you and all the survivors.

    • Lyonside

      Hugs, prayers, and/or virtual chocolate, if you accept them. To you and all the survivors.

  • michele bee

    truly the best article I’ve read on this issue. People really need to stop letting tv and other kids raise their children, girls and boys, and start talking to them to try to change this pattern.

  • Big Man

    I think the vast majority of men understand that “rape” is wrong.
    But, we rarely think about the broad spectrum you discussed in your earlier piece. I don’t think most men, in civilized situations, are going to forcibly rape a woman, but I have less confidence in situations that involve high stress or emotion.
    More importantly, men need to be taught, as I plan to teach my sons, that they should enter into relationships with women aware that their actions have consequences on other people. I think too often we don’t discuss with men the reasons why women make certain decisions in relationships, and the responsibility that comes along with the power that many women willingly give to men.
    If a woman cares for you and is willing to do things for you that are not in her best interest, you have a responsibility as a man to refuse to take advantage of her. Unfortunately, men are taught just the opposite. When I was a younger it was a rule that you pretty much tried to go as far as you could go with any chick, and only pulled back if she resisted. And you didn’t pull back that fast, and you always tried again.
    Looking back, that was clearly wrong, but it was the prevalent idea, and it was seen as conquest to convince women to do things that were against their self interest but benefited you, particularly if you could get other people to witness it.   It wasn’t until I was married and had discussions with my wife that I realized how a woman’s affection for a man will cause her to willingly do things that she doesn’t want to do and that violate her sense of well being. It shocked me because I really began to understand how many things girls do that they don’t want to do, but feel like are mandatory if they will find love and affection.

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  • Anonymous

    it sickens me to no end, the amount of comments and videos coming from adult black males victim blaming! Or suggesting their own daughters would never see the light of day. the solution is always to further police and control women which is just another form of oppression. I don’t even think a lot of people are aware that challenging/questioning the young boys and what they’ve been taught is an OPTION. It’s just this default stupid thinking that men can’t hold themselves back from sticking their dicks in things and women should just hide out in a bomb shelter until someone whispers the secret code ‘marry me.’
    It ALSO disgusts me how many adults are watching and rewatching and sharing a video of a child (a young black woman) engaging in this. WHO IS PROTECTING HER? I can’t shake the suspicion that if this girl were white… even anything but black, it wouldn’t have been allowed to get as much circulation as it did. SOCIETY is sitting here laughing and partaking in child abuse (because it is child pornography) and no one has rung the alarm no one is saying anything because it’s so normal to everyone. That is a problem. I have NOT seen the video because I would feel like I too, would be hurting this young woman. I can’t help but feel like part of the reason this is okay, is because with black women being so oversexualized in media we think it’s okay to do this. but it is so wrong. Gosh, I feel for her. the amount of stupid things I did as a younger teen I’m lucky no one was gutsy or creative enough to record. These are those private things that teens experience for the first time that are supposed to be personal and special.. and now for the rest of her life she’s living with people constantly consuming, analyzing and dissecting it. I think all of society took part in killing the innocence of a child (and she was innocent.. a lot of times sexually precocious teens are just mimicking styles of behavior that draw attention.. which apparently she desired from the young man). we really are all responsible. This story touched me in such a unique way because I can’t help but think the minute my future daughter develops breasts she’ll already have more responsibility in any sexual or seemingly sexual situation than her male counterparts.. adult or minor.

  • Marisa

    I grew up in a single parent home with four sisters. It was a house full of women. We were taught to keep our bodies safe. To always fear what they could do to us. Growing up in a poor Black and Hispanic area of the Bronx, I was always weary of the boys who hung out on the corner. As a pack they accosted us. If you showed any sign of weakness or interest their harassment became physical. On a one on one basis their language became softer, but they always turned to their boys for approval. A friend I met in college was raped at the age of 15. She grew up in the midwest in an all white middle class neighborhood. The boys didn’t hang out in the corner. But they did harass girls, very much the same way the boys did in my old neighborhood. She said her life had been a John Hughes movie until it took a violent turn at a party in a house without adult supervision. She did as she was taught. She got dressed up, like girls do, for a party and flirted with the boy who showed her interest. When he wanted more and she said no, she was beaten into submission. Young girls are taught to behave like “good” girls as not to bring bad things upon themselves. To suppress sexual desires that might get a girl hurt. When I first heard of Amber Cole I was angry and wondered about the boys’s parents. I resist the idea that these boys could have been any boy out there. That regardless of the double standard that we adhere to regarding gender responsibilities that not every boy out there would commit a sex crime. I read the open letter in Gawker to Amber Cole and the forgiving attitude it demonstrates towards the perpetrators. I don’t take the same attitude. I grew up knowing men capable of violence against women, but they weren’t my friends. They couldn’t be. The open letter from an Amber Cole father suggests that this form of violence is accidental and not something that is taught. It can’t be. Just the way I was told to cross my legs at the ankles and keep my knees together so that no one could see up my skirt, someone was teaching the boy who try to pull up my skirt during recess how to disrespect my body. Gender construction is at the heart of these types of crimes. We need to teach our boys better. How to respect their bodies and other bodies too. 

  • Anonymous

    Actually we DO talk to boys by NOT talking to them while allowing them to consume media that has wink, wink, nudge, nudge connotations OR rap lyrics that equate manhood/hipness with sexual virility. The camera is there in Amber Cole’s case because these kids represent a YouTube Generation of reality TV consumers that believes everything about you should be put out for human consumption. So I’d say we send very clear messages to our boys (and, later, our men) as a nation. I’m not sure what parents are telling their sons (if anything) but every young man isn’t out there engaging in these activities. What is the difference between those young men choosing to do what’s right and those choosing to do what’s so very wrong?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=599516839 Todd Graham

    I agree on the teaching part.  The problem is that for so many young boys, there’s no one to teach them how.  At best, what you end up with is a woman’s version of what a man should be, which while not abusive, tends to flail around as a man and definitely not able to teach the next generation.  At worse, well…you heard about the vid right?  I think society needs to figure out how to teach the next generation the positive valuyes of manhood, because otherwise, the negative parts will win.

    • K*

      So, you’re saying that single mothers are the problem, and that these sorts of things are extreme, isolated incidents?

    • K*

      So, you’re saying that single mothers are the problem, and that these sorts of things are extreme, isolated incidents?

    • Lyonside

      Single mothers are NOT the problem. A society that devalues, ranks, and commodifies women is the problem. I’m pretty sure that “a woman’s version” of what a man “should be” (really? there’s only ONE definition of how to be a MAN?) would NOT ACT LIKE THESE BOYS. So they’re not flailing around trying to meet their mothers’ expectations and failing. They’re not meeting them AT ALL.

    • Lyonside

      Single mothers are NOT the problem. A society that devalues, ranks, and commodifies women is the problem. I’m pretty sure that “a woman’s version” of what a man “should be” (really? there’s only ONE definition of how to be a MAN?) would NOT ACT LIKE THESE BOYS. So they’re not flailing around trying to meet their mothers’ expectations and failing. They’re not meeting them AT ALL.

  • Big Man

    Damn, this was powerful. For real. Well done indeed. Gives me something else to think about when I’m raising my boys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=599516839 Todd Graham

    It’s funny that you mentioned that boys aren’t told not to rape, because my dad told me in no uncertain terms not to rape, and to not be in any situations where there’s any doubt to her consent.  Sadly, there are a few misguided women who like to make up rape cases, and they are the accessory to the thousands of girls and women attacked who remain in silence.

    Back to the boys, I think the issue is that, at least in the Black community, we are so (and rightly so) afraid of our boys being emasculated by society that we end up encouraging them the other way.  I think we need to learn the difference between masculinity and hyper-masculinity in the Black community.  Unfortunately, too many people in our community, male or female, young and old, are so desperate to have our boys become men that we allow them to be so by any means necessary.  Also, so many people believe that the boys will be OK without much help.  Granted, they don’t visibly hurt like women, but the pain they feel ends up in women through their role as victimizers.  After all, we believe it’s more manly to hurt that to reveal pain in any sort of way.

    • Anonymous

      It’s funny that you mentioned that boys aren’t told not to rape, because my dad told me in no uncertain terms not to rape, and to not be in any situations where there’s any doubt to her consent.

      Some men do get this message, but not many.  So society reinforces that rape is bad, but doesn’t really discuss what rape is, which is why things are hazy.  Most people don’t have a dad like yours, who took that extra step of saying consent.  I tell my younger brother these things, but that’s because of what I saw.  It terrifies me to think that he could be like the last kid in the trial I went through – his argument was that he technically didn’t do anything wrong because he left.  But he had started there.  And it’s so easy to stand by and think that you are fine because you didn’t do anything.

        Also, so many people believe that the boys will be OK without much help.  Granted, they don’t visibly hurt like women, but the pain they feel ends up in women through their role as victimizers.  

      True, true, true.

      • Blumaterial

        Great points.  Society, as a whole, only tells men that rape is bad, similar to the way that society tells people that racism is bad…but there is no further clarification to what “rape” or “racism” means, other than on a person-to-person basis.  Basically you are lucky if the right people enter your life and give you a good explanation.

  • http://twitter.com/MalikPanama Malik

    I have given similar frustrations on other blogs. I believe in addition to us not discussing this with other young men; we don’t have any expectations for men when it comes to relationships with women. For me, the ‘boys will be boys’ adage is more about relenting that boys/men have an inability to do and be better. And maybe, given how so many people gladly accept this notion, there might be far more truth to that than I am comfortable in admitting. Regardless, the notion still offends me because this type of behavior is easily preventable. Teaching and reinforcing the belief that victimizing women to assert masculinity should not be a hard thing to instill in young men. I’m rambling. I’m losing focus. All apologies.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t apologize.  These things are murky. Why do some men get the message and some do not?  I feel like a big part is getting men to talk about these things in the first place…

    • Anonymous

      You definitely aren’t rambling, nor losing focus. I applaud you for not only taking the stand that you have, but standing up and making your voice heard on various blogs around the internet.  I saw your comments on a few of them, and was encouraged that there are men out there that get it.

    • LMNOP

      I saw your comments on another blog and I was really impressed. You were like the whack-a-mole of rightness, new comments kept popping up and you were just like BOOM! what about this?
      I think we should all hold men to higher standards. The idea of masculinity being all about degrading women seems like a cop-out to me. It takes a much stronger man to hold themselves accountable for their actions, and strive to be better than the caricature of manliness society feeds us.

    • Khujeci Tomai

      Don’t give up. Very important for men to speak up, and repeatedly.

    • Khujeci Tomai

      Don’t give up. Very important for men to speak up, and repeatedly.