Chivalry is dead, hopefully.
When the provincial government mandates that all B.C. campuses must educate their students on what is sexual consent and what is rape, something must be going horribly wrong in the way boys and young men learn about empathy, sympathy, and physical boundaries.
What we can tell from numbers released by Statistics Canada is that the assailant in 94 per cent of the sexual assaults reported in 2014 was male.
What’s worse, StatCan found that the number of reported sexual assaults has remained stable compared to the relative decline in other violent crimes since 2004.
The key word here is reported. Men are also victims of sexual assault, but they are much more reluctant to report than even women are, for fear of ridicule or disbelief.
How boys learn of men
Despite the reluctance of both men and women to report the true numbers of sexual assault, the troubling lopsidedness of StatCan’s findings demands that everyone, and men in particular, must re-examine their place in adult relationships.
Men look to the socially constructed “gentleman” to guide their attitudes and behaviour towards women.
Chivalrous brutes like James Bond and Dan Bilzerian come to mind, who, when revisited, set normative male standards by manhandling, belittling, and objectifying most women they encounter.
For generations, we have rarely questioned the protector and warrior roles that are almost universally expected to be filled by “good men.” Is it a surprise that rape culture continues to shape the behaviours of young men today?
Although Langara College’s new sexual consent policy is taking the male perspective into account in a very exemplary manner, as it does with the rest of the gender spectrum, it is equally important that we teach young males, that growing up means questioning and rooting out the archaic ways of the men before us.
Published in the February 23, 2017, edition of The Langara Voice
Feature image by Dan Bilzerian Instagram account – March 10, 2015