Published 4:46 PM EDT Sep 28, 2018
At a press conference earlier this week at the United Nations, a reporter asked President Donald Trump if he was concerned about the message the handling of sexual abuse allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sent to young men.
Trump, who is the father of a 12-year-old boy, didn’t answer the question.
My college-age son and I watched these proceedings together, so I’ve given a lot of thought to this. What does it tell young men?
Women live differently
That women move through life differently than they do, giving thought every day to how to keep themselves safe from sexual assault.
She holds her keys like a weapon, guards her drink in a bar, checks the back seat of her car and second-guesses what to wear.
That women won’t be quiet. “Bravery is contagious,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said during the hearing. It is out in the open now, in the news, on social media, and in the halls of Congress.
That there are no excuses. Not youth, hormones or horseplay. It can’t be blamed on alcohol, or anything else. Sexual assault is about privilege and power.
Mistakes from the past
That you can’t be a bystander. If you see something, do something. Get help if you can’t do it alone.
That we don’t believe this is who you are. We know this is not typical behavior among teenage boys. But when it happens, you all will answer for it. We are sorry for that.
That the generations before you screwed this up. We made it hard to report. We dismissed it, saying things like, “Boys will be boys” and “It’s no big deal.”
That it is a big deal.
That some people are held accountable and some are not, depending on who they are.
That while we are raising our boys differently now, teaching respect and consent, and that all people are equal and should be valued, things have not changed all that much.
Karina Bland is a columnist for the Arizona Republic where this column first appeared. Read more at karinabland.azcentral.com.