10 Rules for Boys to Avoid a Sexual Assault Charge

Since the Kavanaugh Hearings, I have read many letters and quotes from women who lament that their innocent sons could be changed with sexual assault even if they did nothing wrong. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ran 13 Letters to the Editor on the Kavanaugh Hearings, several with that theme, and the numerous publications ran letters from worried moms.

The Wall Street Journal, WSJ, Opinion, Letters to the Editor, Judge kavanaugh

Full Disclosures

This attitude puzzles me; it really does. We know that less than 2% of reported rapes are false. Women more typically hide the fact that they were assaulted, refuse to divulge the rapist’s name and suffer in silence for many years. To believe that girls are just raring to falsely accuse an innocent boy is to believe that girls are inherently liars—even if they are your daughters, nieces, grand-daughters, or sisters. Also, that the 98% of reported rapes that actually happen have lesser importance than the 2%.

  • Full Disclosure #1: I have a son who made it through adolescence and college to adulthood without ever being charged with a sexual offense. Ditto, my two older brothers.
  • Full Disclosure #2: While I have never been raped, that could easily have happened in my freshman year of college, had my roommate not been paying attention or been less quick-thinking. I have been stalked twice.
  • Full Disclosure #3: I have experienced all the harassment, unwanted attention, unsolicited touching and offensive language that any woman encounters in this country, almost on a daily basis. Especially in a city.

Raised in a Barn by Wolves

raised by wolves, manners, good behaviorThe women who seem so fearful of a girl or woman lying about their sons’ behavior also hasten to reassure the reader that they raised their sons well and taught them to respect everyone. If that’s the case, why do girls continue to report harassment, touching, assault and outright rape? Are we to believe that the only males perpetrating this behavior were raised in a barn? Or by wolves?

What about the mothers of the boys in Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, who paraded around the campus with signs that declared, “No Means Yes and Yes Mean Anal.” Did those women teach their sons to be respectful of everyone? Yale University banned the fraternity (which Brett Kavanaugh belonged to) for five years after that incident but now it’s back.

10 Rules for Boys to Avoid a Sexual Assault Charge

I have written before about my 10 Rules for Avoiding Sexual Harassment but those were business-oriented. For high school boys and college men, here are 10 common-sense rules for avoiding a false charge of sexual assault in language you can understand:

  1. No means No. It also means Stop. Even if you really, really want to keep going and your hormones are screaming at you to continue—don’t.
  2. Girls are people, too. Whether she’s your date, a girl in your class, a woman you see at a party, or someone you dream about, she’s not your toy. You don’t get to act out your desires on someone who doesn’t know you or doesn’t want to know you.
  3. Drunk doesn’t mean available. If we have learned one thing from the #MeToo movement, it’s how dangerous it is for a woman to drink too much alcohol in the presence of males. Men have higher metabolisms and can drink more than a woman without getting blotto. Still, a woman who is incapacitated because she drank more than was wise is not someone you can rape with impunity. No matter how much you want to.
  4. Mind your manners. You mother taught you to say “please” and “thank you.” She also taught you to be kind and considerate, to watch out for others, and to help someone in trouble. That doesn’t change when the other person is an attractive girl or a drunk party-goer.
  5. Keep your hands to yourself. Yes, she’s pretty. Yes, she has a nice figure. But her face and body belong to her, not to you. You don’t touch what isn’t yours. Because #1 and #2.
  6. Avoid occasions of sin. I learned this one in parochial school. If you don’t want to be tempted or coerced into doing something wrong, don’t hang out in places where you will be tempted or coerced into doing something wrong. Duh.
  7. Remember that the Internet is forever. Those racy texts and photos that looked cool when you were 17 just might come back to haunt you when you are an adult and in the public eye,
  8. Who sexted you this? sexting, bullying, sexual assaultBullying is always wrong. It doesn’t matter whether you’re pushing around a nerd in the cafeteria or getting a girl to sext you nude pictures. Urging someone to do something wrong is worse than doing it yourself because you’re corrupting another human being. See #2.
  9. Blackout drunk doesn’t absolve you of responsibility. If you can’t remember the awful thing you did because you drank until you blacked out, it doesn’t wipe the slate clean. If you did it, you’re responsible. Police dash cams, Instagram, onlooker videos, and Twitter feeds can and will do the remembering for you. See #7.
  10. Acting on a dare is dumb. You’ll notice that the boys daring you to do something stupid are not actually doing something stupid themselves. They do not intend to incriminate themselves. They won’t see embarrassing videos of themselves on Facebook. If someone dares you to do something you know is wrong, just say, “You go first.” Then leave. These boys are not your friends.

A Good Start

There, that should give you a good start in simple language. It’s really not hard to protect yourself from being charged with sexual harassment, assault or rape. You don’t even have to follow the Pence Rule and avoid being alone with a woman.

Pence Rule, X not Y, don't be alone in a room with a womanJust don’t act like a privileged, arrogant, selfish asshole and you will be halfway there. Don’t expect women to do what you want or act like you want just because you want it. That includes smiling.

My 10 common-sense rules will take you the rest of the way.

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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