It isn’t a new revelation that, no matter which circumstances it occurs under, anytime a woman is sexually assaulted by a man, there is someone who will write it off as “boys will be boys.”
It should already be obvious as to why this is problematic, but yet here I am, attempting to explain why this excuse is unacceptable as so many people still do not seem to understand.
For starters, saying that “boys will be boys” makes it seem as if men cannot help themselves. That they have absolutely no control over the things they say or do. I don’t know about you, but if someone said this about me or my gender, I would be outraged. I would do everything to prove that it is untrue, that everyone has control over their own actions. So, why are so many of you fine with your gender being generalized like this? Why do you allow people to believe that you are someone who has zero power over your own actions?
More so than this, however, is that “boys will be boys” allows men to believe than any and all actions of theirs will be excused. When this is what they hear throughout childhood, and once they are older as well, it gives them this notion that they are entitled to anything and everything. It makes them feel as if they are entitled to whatever they wish for, and that is not true.
Being from India, I come back to visit a lot. I have spent the last few weeks here, I was here for two months over the summer, and I visit as often as possible. However, I see this rape-culture enabling excuse put in action whenever I am here, and it disgusts me.
Whenever I’m here, I am the one told to cover up and wear nun-like clothes. I am the one not allowed to go anywhere alone or stay out past 10 pm. This is not because I am somehow at fault, but because people have decided it is easier to restrict women from the day they are born than to teach men how to respect others. I suddenly have to go from being able to wear what I want and go wherever I want to being restricted in every single aspect simply because the men here cannot be trusted. Why? Oh, because obviously, “boys will be boys.”
I blame parents to a large extent for this because allowing their sons to roam around and do whatever they want, and blaming it on their inherent nature that is apparently a result of their gender, is easier than raising them properly. It is easier to tell your daughter to stay home than to engrain it into your son’s head that another person’s body is not their property.
I’m disappointed at how many people there are who no longer care when they hear about a rape case in the news. They read the headline, nod and move on. It has become normal for sexual assault to occur on a daily basis, and that is not alright. People should be outraged by this, not immune to it. Stop normalizing misogyny and rape culture.
Teach your children, whether it is your daughter or son, to treat others with respect. Teach them the meaning of consent. Stop allowing them to believe that “boys will be boys” is an excuse for them to do whatever they choose, and instead, start holding them responsible for their actions.