Here’s the sad reality we live in right now: We have a president who dismissed a rape joke, legislators pushing to publicly shame a female senator with an alleged sex tape, and a US candidate reduced verbal sexual harassment as “locker room talk.” The list goes on.
It’s scary to think how influential men like these make shaming women and treating us like mere objects seem like a normal thing. But what I’ve always found daunting is how this’ll affect the mentality of common folk, especially with the younger generation. Sadly, we found out last night.
A friend of mine posted—now deleted due to continuous attacks against her and her family—a series of screenshots of legal-aged boys sexually harassing her 16-year-old cousin in a group chat. They ogled at her photos like she was a piece of meat, laughing at each other’s unwarranted sexual declarations―one stating that he’s already undressed her in his mind, another drew a penis on her selfie, and so on. Some statements are just too malicious to even mention here.
My words can’t justify how offensive their words were for every girl or woman. But the worst part is that these boys added the said girl to the group chat—thrice, in fact—to see their lewd remarks.
All of this done to a minor. A MINOR.
While this exposé garnered a lot of attention both on Facebook and on Twitter, there were those who still found it convenient to victim-blame and claim that this is simply “boy talk.”
“Boy talk,” saying it like it’s a normal occurrence that we should just shrug off. As if boys are programmed to be harassers and eventual predators, and this is just a pasttime for them.
The New York Times recently published an article titled “What Locker-Room Talk Sounds Like in the Philippines.” It basically points out how disrespectful statements are mistaken as machismo and objectifying women is just a normal thing that men talk about. This article also cites President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Tito Sotto as examples.
That’s the problem: this isn’t normal—excusing sexual harassment as something a male person is expected to do isn’t okay. This “boy talk” humiliated and ruined a young girl. These are the exact sentiments that Michelle Obama emphasized when she spoke against Donald Trump’s constant objectification of women.
Meanwhile, women, regardless of their age, are still expected to “dress decently” and are silenced when they speak up. A minor was harassed and they’re worrying about why her whole family is “overreacting.”
Let this be a lesson that if you know anyone who acts like this and say, “Boys will be boys,” then you are part of the problem. You are encouraging rape culture and raising a generation of sexual abusers, enabling them to think that it’s perfectly fine to do this. It also creates a notion that they are only validated when they disrespect a woman.
They need to be educated and not tolerated. This doesn’t just hurt women but it also hurts the families of the involved.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash