Hypocrisy in our Attitudes towards Sexuality and Abuse.

Saturday 1414  – 22nd June 2013

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I am going to make a lot of generalisations in this post so be prepared for that. There will also be some language of a sexual nature so please be warned of that too.

Why do we sexualise girls younger and ever younger ? Who is driving this?

I personally knew a woman who used to buy her 14-year-old daughter a glossy magazine which was supposedly aimed at 18 year olds.. ( yeah right as if they don’t know it’s being bought by girls very much younger.!  )

The magazine was full of such articles as “How to give your boyfriend the best blow-job he’s ever had” and “How to please your man in bed” .   Yes you did read me right this was the 14 yr old’s mother. What was she thinking? Or was she thinking at all? When I asked her she said “Oh it’s all harmless stuff”

Is it?

At the time I used to see this girl and her magazines a lot and continued to be disturbed by the nature of the articles many of which were weighted towards the woman (girl) doing what the man (boy) wanted to give him a good time and by the girl’s attitude towards this.

Now I am happy to give a man a good time so don’t get me wrong on that one 😉 but as a woman who believes in equality between men and women I don’t think we should still be encouraging girls to see it as their role to please men

A couple of the most recent front pages contained these words “5 Super hot sex fantasies”  “Better sex is 5 minutes away”  and “The new sex position that works every single time ” . What is a 14-year-old going to think  and feel when she reads this?  Pressure, pressure, pressure I would say.

Some years ago I worked in the same office as the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, a team dedicated to offering crisis support and information to survivors of domestic abuse. One of the senior workers used to go into schools to educate teenagers about domestic abuse; the groups were all boy and all girl groups. Part of this consisted of giving them a little quiz to do to check their attitudes to things such as – was it alright to slap someone or be slapped if they/you did something the other person didn’t like. I remember her being very down about the numbers of both boys and girls who thought this was okay and even expected. 

Some Body Shop research carried out in 2007 as part of their Stop Violence in the Home campaign found this 

“The research showed that 1 in 5 teens (21%) believe it’s ok to tell a boyfriend or girlfriend what to do, with the figure rising to more than one in four (27%) in young men. A further 1 in 10 teens think saying sorry makes it ok after they’ve hurt or forced a partner to do something. A worrying statistic considering that on average, a woman will be assaulted by her partner or ex-partner 35 times before reporting it to the police.*

In our society today we are accepting of advertising which uses sex to sell anything and everything, we seem to want our girl children to grow up as quickly as possible, buying them make up and sexy clothing, even as young as 9 or 10. 

Add in to this the fact that many people buy their young children televisions and computers for their bedrooms and give in to them spending more and more time separate from their families, even allowing them to bring meals up to their rooms. Less and less family time and more alone unsupervised time.

Then as a society we seem to put our hands up in horror at the rate of underage pregnancy and abortion in the under 16’s. 

The reason I have been thinking about this is because of the recent case of the British teacher who was having a relationship with his barely 15-year-old student and was found guilty of child abduction and having sex with a child and has been jailed for 5 1/2 yrs.

For the reasoning behind this sentence read the judges full summing up here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23005747 

I am suggesting we need to start treating our children like children again and allowing them to be childlike and joyous; discovering life, which includes the beauty of sex, in a more natural and supportive environment if we don’t want them to think they have to engage in sexual activity before they are emotionally and physically ready to do so.

Do we teach our children enough about valuing and respecting themselves? Their bodies?  About personal responsibility?  Do we empower them in this regard? Arm them with the tools to avoid abusive relationships?  

A further point, Jeremy Forrest has been banned from future unsupervised access to children, either through work or through volunteering, for having sex with an adolescent, this is actually called Ephebophilia not paedophilia,  but another teacher Geoffrey Bettley, a former Religious Education teacher, has not been banned from working with children. 

On his computer were 143 images of children – assessed at the lowest, level one, involving nudity and/or erotic posing – alongside a further 46 images at level three which had apparently not been opened. He was cautioned by the police and placed on the Sex Offender Register for two years.  He has not been banned – I quote :-

“The National College of Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel found that Bettley was “guilty of conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”.

However, they ruled that the child abuse images were at the lower end of seriousness and that Bettley, who had “shown remorse and victim empathy”, did not pose a risk and therefore could continue to teach.”

Although this caution will show up on future CRB checks, so it’s highly unlikely he will ever teach again, I am absolutely aghast at this decision.

Talk about double standards! Does this seem right to you?  I would have thought the potential for harm was even higher in this case although I acknowledge that I do not know the full details in either of these cases.

Right that’s enough for this week..Saturday girl signing off.. see you next week

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Comments always welcome, I love to know what you are thinking.

Links

http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-violence-press-information.asp?section=0001000100150001&itemid=881&itemTitle=The+Body+Shop+survey+shows+that+teen+attitudes+are+a+time+bomb+to+domestic+violence

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10100387/Teacher-who-had-indecent-pictures-of-children-allowed-to-stay-in-profession.html.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here

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Come on all you lovely men out there, Ring the Bell !

Saturday 1428 – 16th March 2013

one million men one million promises

Last week I was at the Million Women Rise march in London which was highlighting the endemic nature, around the world, of violence against women. You can read my article here  and in it I said “Come on men where are you “.  This was really my way of asking what 49% of the world’s population-the males of the human species – are doing about the violence against women by their fellow man.  We all know there are lots of women’s groups fighting for equality but where are the mens groups.

patrick-stewart1Well, my dear blogging friend Scilla http://scillagrace.com/  told me, in a comment on the original post, about the global “Ring the Bell” campaign so I’ve done a bit of research and thought how great it would be to share this with you all.

The campaign was launched on the 8th March, International women’s day and it also coincided with the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Actor and activist Sir Patrick Stewart was one of the people who launched the campaign and he made a rousing speech at the event, which took place in New York at the UN Hotel, during which he slapped his hand on the podium 9 times saying “Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States ” The campaign is calling on One Million Men to make one million “concrete, actionable promises” aimed at ending violence against women”

He said “Violence against women is the single greatest human rights violation of our  generation. This is a call to action—not an act that will make  things better in six months or a year’s time. This is action that might save a  life today, or tonight, or tomorrow.”

Mr Stewart is involved because he witnessed his father physically abusing his mother when he was a small child and learnt to gauge the temperature of a situation –

“I became an expert on when to open the door and throw myself between my  father’s fist and my mother’s body,” Stewart said that his father “was  unable to control his emotions—and his hands.” and he was clear that his mother did nothing to provoke the violence and as he rightly pointed out even if she did violence is no way to solve conflict. This story could be repeated by millions others I am sure.

He went on to talk about his father being an eminent soldier and suffering from diagnosed shell-shock, for which he received no treatment. Though he was not excusing his father’s behaviour he was, I believe, highlighting the need for help for men to identify why they are violent so they can be stopped .  Recent research has shown that military men are far more likely to abuse than civilians, hardly surprising when war brutalises and dehumanises people.

You can watch and listen to the whole launch if you have a mind to, it’s very interesting with lots of different speakers.. The link is here

If you click on the photo below it will bring you through to the United Nations where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says

“Men must teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women – and that a woman’s place is not just in the home or the field, but in schools and offices and boardrooms.” 

united nations campaign to end violence against women.

I was so very encouraged by these movements and I hope they grow and grow until the violence stops..

I was saddened though that I knew so little about this. Did you know?? Has the UN movement been widely advertised ? If it has I have missed it.

when men gatherSo to all my male friends and followers there is most definitely something you can do.

You can make a promise here to take action in whatever way you can to end violence against women.. 

Men need to confront other men and encourage change.

 Links

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2013/3/prweb10508301.htm

http://www.inquisitr.com/563999/sir-patrick-stewart-calls-on-one-million-men-to-end-violence-against-women/

http://breakthrough.tv/ringthebell/

http://breakthrough.tv/explore/campaign/bell-bajao/

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/07/opinion/mcpherson-men-domestic-violence

http://www.witness.org/

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Saturday Girl signing off now. Let us all, men and women, be the change we want to see in the world. ‘Til next week…

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here and I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already..