Wed | Sep 22, 2021

Letter of the Day | Teach boys to respect girls and their decisions

Published:Monday | April 19, 2021 | 12:05 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The article by Dr Michael Abrahams, ‘Teach boys not to rape’, in The Gleaner of April 13, is a timely and relevant one. I am concurring with Dr Abrahams that most of the teachings about sexual issues are taught to our daughters/girls. Being cognisant of the present dilemma with our children as victims, more so our girls and women, I totally support the concept to teach our boys ‘not to rape’.

I am very much open to commence teaching my teenage son not to entertain the thought of rape, neither to participate in such an act. I will also commit myself to teach other boys in my community that the act of raping is not only inhumane, but that it does cause lifelong scars and painful memories. As I read the article, it was alarming to know that most people have not received any education about what consent is, looks like, or how to do it. I wonder if that’s maybe the reason we sometimes use the statement ‘silence means consent’ loosely. To be totally honest, I am not too certain to what degree is that statement a fact.

However, many times girls are forced into silence; they are not given the opportunity to say no. To help to stem the problem, I believe, we can teach boys to understand the body language of girls. Teach them to look out for non-verbal clues of fear in girls and signs of them being uncomfortable in different situations and settings. Let them understand from a tender age that ‘no’ means no, and that they should not persist in begging to get what they want. Additionally, we should let them understand that the person who gives consent can also rescind it, and if that is done, they should respect the decision made. Personally, I would have given consent to certain acts during my teenage years and then withdrew near the appointed time for different reasons.

Finally, I strongly believe that parents need to teach their boys that girls do have a right to change their mind, and that a ‘one-time yes’ to a boy does not necessarily mean yes on every encounter with him. They need to be taught, also, that girls can reach a stage where they become disinterested in a sexual relationship but would prefer a platonic one and that, too, must be valued. Furthermore, men need to understand that at times, their female partners can ‘fall out of love’ with them, and that should be equally understood and respected.

To conclude, I firmly believe that teaching boys not to rape should be a topical issue for discussion at school, the Church, home and wherever possible. That’s probably the best way to stem the act of rape in our society. One and all, let’s join hands and hearts and begin to educate our boys’ not to rape’.

LYDIA WRIGHT-BLAIR

Nursing Lecturer

Knox Community College