Teach men to behave

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lock your doors. Hold your keys like Wolverine’s claws. Have pepper spray.

These are common pieces of advice every woman receives daily, and I can’t even begin to say how tired I am of hearing it.

Women are told every day since they came out of their mother’s womb to practice safety. Those safety tips are normally centered on outfit choices, how we speak to others and other unrelated topics.

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All that advice tells women is that they are solely responsible for not being victims of harassment and assault.

I’m happy to see communities giving options for women to learn how to be safe, but I’d love to see a community come together and teach men why their behavior shouldn’t be tolerated anymore.

Rather than shame a woman for her outfit, why make sure a man doesn’t think it’s appropriate to leer, whistle or catcall the women just trying to walk somewhere?

I can imagine it’s probably easier to just have women deal with the problem because it’s too difficult to go back and rewire the brains of these men.

From the day a girl starts school, she is taught that men being nasty to her should be taken as a compliment. Remember, if he pulls your hair or pushes you, it just means he likes you. Because unwanted touching or bullying is endearing. Sure.

Nothing is ever done to ensure that these little boys learn that their behavior is actually inappropriate.

Maybe if this happened, I wouldn’t have to turn on the news and see that another woman got killed because she denied a man’s advances or simply ignored him.

I can count on more than 10 fingers and 10 toes the number of times a man has gotten angry with me because I ignored him, said no or scrunched my face in disgust at his advances.

Yes, continue to teach women how to protect themselves, because it is a useful skill to have in anyone’s arsenal, but start to explain to boys and men that the behaviors women are defending themselves against aren’t appropriate.

Consent is a large topic, and it apparently is a large gray area when it’s a simple black and white answer.

If I hear, “she was asking for it,” I’m hoping that I see a video clip of a woman actually asking to be harassed, because until that happens, I promise you she wasn’t.