Wednesday, November 19, 2008

File Under: Lifestyle, Women

That's where I found this little piece of news in the fairly lefty U.K. newspaper The Guardian:

A disturbing survey published by the White Ribbon Foundation in Australia shows that one third of boys believe "it's not a big deal to hit a girl", one in seven thinks "it's OK to make a girl have sex with you if she was flirting" - and one in seven girls has experienced sexual assault or rape.

This echoes a Sheffield University study of 35 teens, in which boys freely admitted trying to get girls drunk to have sex with them. The study's author concluded that sex education needs to start strengthening girls' self-esteem and encouraging male empathy. I suspect that tackling the rape culture is going to necessitate much more radical measures too, including addressing the rise of violent pornography, sexist advertising, lap dancing clubs, stag party sex tourism ...

Buckle up everyone - it's a long road ahead.

I have never quoted the whole piece from some other source before. It seems warranted in this particular case, both because of the brevity of the piece and the treatment of the topic and that last odd sentence about a long road ahead. Not to mention the fact that findings about how many boys think rape is OK are filed under lifestyle/women.

It's as if the author of the piece knew that she was fighting a losing battle over the sexual objectification of young girls and that the only safe place to insert anything about this topic was on what used to be called the women's page. After all, who else would be interested in what teenage boys think about rape? Surely not their fathers, for instance.