Women's Empowerment Program

Helping Women Speak up in Relationships and at Work to avoid Bullies, Abusers, and Predators and live Confident, Fearless and Safe.

Helping Women Speak up in Relationships and at Work to avoid Bullies, Abusers, and Predators and live Confident, Fearless and Safe.

What about the Boys?

Too often I hear: "What about the boys? Aren't boys and men victims of sexual assault? Yes, of course, and so are members of the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community. Sexual violence crimes know no boundaries. However, we cannot dismiss the fact that girls and women are most often the victims at an alarmingly high rate (98% of victims are female according to RAINN).
When I talk to teen boys, what disturbs me most is that most boys (and men) don't realize their actions as harmful. They may say:
  • "I might have pushed things too far…"
  • "Well, we were drunk…"
  • "Things got out of hand and…"
  • "She refused to talk to me after that night…"
These phrases not only pass blame onto the victim by making it seem like it wasn't his fault, after all he just took things too far. However, in these cases there most often was a lack of consent and most likely a sexual crime that has occurred.

The point is, many men don't believe that a girl or woman was actually raped. They argue that she talked to him, drank alcohol, danced with him, and, therefore, wanted sex. They consider their sexual advances as a reasonable outcome to their encounter.

Here is where the problem exists...

Boys (like most of us) are raised to believe rapist are bad guys hiding behind a bush with a gun. Guys rationalize since they aren't THAT guy, they figure, they're not a rapist either. Well, my new book Someone You Know debunks that myth very quickly... As we now very well know, rapists are more often the regular guy next door- not a stranger behind a bush. So who then are all these men committing sexual assault? Somebody has to be the "bad guy." The facts don't lie:
  • 1 in 3 teen girls are in an abusive relationship
  • 1 in 4 adult women are victims of rape
  • 1 in 5 college women are victims sexual assault (RAINN statistics)
Now, let's be clear. I firmly believe most men have good intentions. However, in the heat of the moment lines can easily be crossed and yes, rape unfortunately occurs. Can boys be victims of sexual assault? Of course. But the problem is how most men think about sex and what is acceptable.

According to
Psychology Today, most surveyed rapists considered rape "normal party behavior." That seems unbelievable, but remember, most boys learn about sex from friends or internet porn where scenes of non-consensual sex abound. There is no consent in these situations. Therefore, as parents you are responsible for educating the young people in your life about the rules of consent and mature sexual relationships.

Affirmative consent means he checks in before sexual activity begins, and she affirms along the way with an audible yes that everything is okay (if not, he stops). Most people don't understand that consent needs to be informed, enthusiastic, sober, ongoing, and freely given. Let's repeat the word sober. An unconscious/tipsy/drunk person cannot give consent. Is she to blame for drinking too much? No. He is responsible for violating another person. End of story. Saying it's her fault would be like me taking my car to the mechanic for an oil change and while I was waiting in the lobby the mechanic stripping down my car to the frame and completely wrecking my car. I never consented for that service to be done. Just because I wasn't aware that he was doing it doesn't mean I approved it. Think this example is ridiculous? So do I. It's the same thing when people blame the victims in cases of sexual assault. It's ridiculous.

The most harrowing question boys ask after a sexual encounter is: "
Why is she so upset? Sex only took a couple minutes, but she's depressed for, like, a year!" Boys need to not only be taught to respect boundaries but to have compassion for others. Many don't understand the emotional and physical damages of rape that last a lifetime. For example:
  • 94% raped females experience PTSD symptoms
  • Nearly 1/3 victims still have symptoms 9 months after
  • 13% raped females attempt suicide
Are all boys to blame? No. Are those who take things too far to blame? Yes.
If you have sons you are responsible to teach them:
  • You do not have a right to touch anyone without their permission no matter how sexually excited you are.
Teach girls:
  • To clearly articulate your boundaries ahead of time- leaving no room for ambiguity.
Remember sexual relationships require maturity. If you expect your kids to figure it out on their own they will inevitably mess it up. Do you want that chance to be taken with your daughter? Talk to your kids first, and if you need help our sexual assault prevention workshops are here for you. Please contact me if you do not see a workshop in your area. I'm happy to arrange a webinar workshop for you today. Her future is too important to ignore.

Be Empowered,
Dara