As someone who enjoys comedy, one of the topics I find most hilarious is rape. Especially when the entire joke centers around victim-blaming and the denigration of the need for consent. If you are like me and find yourself needing a casual read on the nuances of sexual assault, then might I suggest an op-ed article submitted by attorney Larry Webster and recently published in the Lexington Herald entitled, “Can boys still be boys when yes means yes?”.
Eloquently written, Webster weaves his recent frustration with email hackers with the similarly frustrating “new idea” of “affirmative consent from a girl” and Orwellian future he perceives that puts “restrictions on the sexual impulses of young males.” As he struggles with him being “virginal” back in his colleges day, he reveals the “No. 1 topic” that exists in fraternity houses nowadays, wondering “what kinds of pills Bill Cosby uses on those women and [wondering] where he gets them.” He continues to divulge that now that we live in a culture that must accept that yes means yes and no means no, we must furthermore accept a reality where boys can no longer be boys, and girls must wear “pre-consented lapel pins.”
This is comedy gold, right?
Fraternizing about the idea of where to find the best date-rape drug is about as hilarious as saying that socialized victim-blaming and the acceptance of rape-culture have not lead to the silencing of countless rape-victims and the denigration of the female-person. Sexual assault is not something that can be likened to email hacking and spam—it is more personal than that. Informed consent is not something that can be redacted to some comical “pre-printed form”—it is more real than that.
Can we as a society continue to allow ourselves to accept the fact that countless women and men are sitting in silent fear over the fact that their assault might be reduced to a banal platitude?
Articles, such as the one I am responding to, do little “to promote the positive evolution of humans.” They stunt and insult our intelligence by limiting the goodness that can stem from our depths. By reducing the male gender to “boys will be boys” it limits men to adolescence immaturity devoid of rational thought and a frontal lobe. Furthermore, it reduces males to some primordial being whose primary function is to react to its “sexual impulses.” Are men not capable of more than that? If we allow ourselves to believe this narrative that women are merely sexual objects of men, then why should we not become “obsolete”?
Sadly, we live in a complicated world where socioeconomic, racial, and gender inequalities exist. We live in a world that accepts the return of a star football running-back, known for physically assaulting his fiancée, with little more than a (pardon the pun) a slap on the wrist. We live in a world where the statistics have historically revealed that 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted on college campuses, yet only until recent history has any action moved forward to eliminate that statistic. We live in a world that allows women to receive reduced pay for equal work as a man. We live in a world that perpetuates stereotypes and reduces our ability to grow. We live in a world that allows articles, newspapers, and media outlets to publish nonsense that reduces the honest potential of our human society. Sadly we live in this world.
But unlike the countless victims who are forced to remain silent to the crimes committed, we do not have to remain silent. We have a voice. We do not have to consent to the rape-culture that reduces us to sexualized beings. We can, however, consent to the potential that resides in each of us to accept our shared humanity that wishes to promote equality to all its people—male and female alike. And yes, we might also be able to consent to the idea that “boys may no longer be boys when yes means yes.”
A copy of the article can be found here: “Can boys still be boys when yes means yes?“