It almost seems like we stumbled upon the hoax of the 21 century. We might even start to see that we, as a society, are the actually the ones feeding the problems of sexual assault, mass shootings and violence. The enormous outbursts of #metoo and the mass shootings in America could be seen as a scream for help or a call for attention. Let me illustrate this thought for you:
Kevin owns an old-timer car, it’s his favorite car because he’s used to it and he knows it like his back pocket. Kevin’s father got it from his father and even the father of his father drove this car. The car keeps causing some problems every now and then but his father and grandfather keep encouraging him to use this car, since it’s a family tradition. All the boys in the neighborhood are also looking up to Kevin, because he has such a cool car. Deep down inside Kevin knows that it would be safer for him to buy a new car, but he feels the pressure of his family to keep the tradition alive. So Kevin keeps driving it, without bothering too much about the source of the car’s problem. Until one day the car breaks down and Kevin hits a tree. The car is totally destroyed and Kevin has a broken arm. It turned out the car got overheated and couldn’t handle it anymore.
We need to realize that we are the ones raising boys to become men who’s very identity is based on rejecting the feminine. Then when they reach adulthood, we’re surprised that they don’t see women as fully human. It’s called The Great Set Up: we set boys up to grow into men who disrespect women at a fundamental level and then we wonder why we have the culture that we have. There’s a reason why it’s called rape culture, it’s because we have been building it ourselves. In the course of a man’s adult live society and popular culture are training males to objectify the bodies of women. And maybe even more fundamental; we show them that they’re able to purchase it. We give them the idea that they have the right to be with or even ‘own’ a woman through videoclips, movies, porn, prostitution, advertisement, tv shows, history, religion etc. Summing this up it shouldn't really be a surprise that some men think they’re superior to women, but this is ONLY the case because we are the ones that make them believe so. So we can put men up on a stand and throw rotten tomatoes at them all we want but if we don’t cure the source deep within, in about ten years we will again face another #metoo outburst.
It’s highly important to prosecute every single person who has violated the rights of another human being and that they are (finally) held accountable for their vicious actions, period. But maybe it’s even more important to realize that these prosecutions and punishments will only really pay off if we try to reach beyond these enactments. We can not keep closing our eyes for how we, as a society, are setting men up to loose; we teach them to play with sticks, to later beat them with that exact same stick. We made it possible for #metoo to exist in our culture. There’s a reason why men felt and still feel able and entitled to show power over woman and we need to look at that exact reason. Instead of asking ourselves if these men are punished in the right way or if they are punished enough, it’s maybe more valid to ask ourselves: how on earth did these guys get the idea that they have the right to show power over another human being and to violate their rights? It only exists because we, all together, created a society and culture were they are actually able to practice this behavior. We can not close our eyes anymore for the fact that we all have to play a huge part if we want this to change. If we (feminists, LGBTQ communities, or who ever identifies as different) demand respect from men, we need to realize that we also have a responsibility in re- educating them. The system needs to change and the goal should be to bring men along in our march to equality. If we actually want to create a change the first thing we should do is stop seeing this as a battle that is about men vs woman. One way how rape culture will might disappear is if we teach young children, men and women, that they’re equal human beings who demand from each other to be treated with equal respect from the most early stages of their lives. That the thing that they have between their legs, doesn’t give one of them more power or rights. That we’re actually more human than that we are our sex. Even the tiniest changes may have big impact: no more stories about man the hunter, supporting a boy when he rather plays with dolls: anything to avoid this emotional suicide in order to create more emphatic human beings.