Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do we need adverts to tell boys not to abuse girls?

That title is not a rhetorical question.  I really don't know the answer and am curious.

The UK government must think that some young people don't know the boundaries of what is acceptable in their relationships because they spent a lot of money on the This is Abuse campaign with such messages as:

- no means no
- physically attacking your girlfriend is wrong
- rape doesn't always involve physical force
- pressuring a girl into sex is wrong

My first instinct is that the campaign should not have been commissioned for three reasons:

- governments already waste far too much money on ineffective but expensive glossy ad campaigns (think about how much they have ploughed into fruitless healthy eating campaigns, if you will excuse the pun).

- the old libertarian view that issues of personal responsibility, morality and behaviour should be dealt with by society, mainly in families, and governments shouldn't interfere.

- the anti-abuse campaign shouldn't be necessary.  How is it possible that large numbers of British males have got to the age of sexual maturity without knowing that it is wrong to force themselves on girls and try to get their own way by physically hurting them and calling them "slags"?

Obviously there are young (and old) men who act in this way and a lot of rape and domestic violence is unreported so probably more widespread than you think.

However that doesn't mean that the perpetrators are unaware that what they are doing is wrong and they need it explaining to them.  Even in this permissive age little kids are told not to attack their peers and call them names even at pre-school.  It would be pretty chaotic otherwise.

No one gets to talking age without knowing it's wrong to hurt people.  Surely they are not going to need someone to sit down and explain to them that this also applies in the field of relationships?

But perhaps I am wrong and a good number of teens are confused about rape and uncertain about what constitutes  abusive behaviour.  In that case then this very slick and thorough campaign would be justified.

But it's a sad reflection on the state of our society and in particular the nation's parenting skills if the government has to step in and explain to boys that behaviour of the kind acted out in this video is not right:

From our website: Minimum age requirements in Spain

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