I wonder if people who say things like “boys will be boys” realizing how much loathing those statements show for young men. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of attempted rape as a high school student. Many of his defenders have minimized the accusation by saying that people shouldn’t be judged for what they did when they were a 17 year old at a party and argue that physically aggressive sexual pursuit is normal for young men.
We should all remind ourselves that what Kavanaugh is accused of is not normal or acceptable. I can say this from my own experience.
Similar to Kavanaugh, I was a young white man who went to an affluent suburban high school; I shared many of his privileges. Even in that footing, over 20 years ago, it was absolutely clear to me and my peers that the behavior Kavanaugh is accused of was abhorrent and abnormal. To trap someone alone, push them down and hold them there, try to rip off their clothes, press your hand over their mouth, none of this is something any reasonable teen thinks is ok. It is deeply insulting to young men to say that vile behavior like this is a common part of their nature. If we want to support and believe in young men, this is not the right way to do it. There is a massive distinction between something being acceptable and something being common and ignored. Nobody, including the perpetrators themselves, understands this type of behavior to be moral absent layers of lies and excuses. Believe what you will about what did or did not happen in this case, but do not stoop to a level of cynicism that what boys will be is this.
~ Zach, one of Verity’s Prevention Specialists