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Boys who prey together -- become men

The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria had me moderate a morning plenary Tuesday on how focusing global health efforts on women and girls could yield the best results in the fight against HIV/AIDS. But we weren't more than 10 minutes into the program before I asked, "What is the role of men in all this?"

Women outnumber men, but in many parts of the planet it's a man's world. Oppressive regimes in the Middle East sheath women in burqas and veils. Warring factions in Africa have used rape as a weapon in war. And in some parts of Asia, the tradition is that a girl's life is valued less than a boy's or an animal's. Get a load of this Chinese proverb:

We keep a dog to watch the house

A pig is useful, too

We keep a cat to catch a mouse,

But what can we do

With a girl like you?

If women and girls are to be empowered to make decisions about their health that also benefit the overall health of their families and their communities, then changing regressive, repressive and inhumane views of them held by men is paramount.

It's so easy to think that we in the west, and especially in the United States, are much more enlightened in the treatment of women and girls. Then you read something like Maureen Dowd's column yesterday, and you're reminded how our enlightenment must be vigilantly guarded.

"Their Dangerous Swagger" exposes a fantasy football league-type draft at an elite private grade and high school in a Washington suburb. Only the boys' draft picks were girls starting their freshman year.

One team was called 'The Southside Slampigs,' and one boy dubbed his team with crude street slang for drug-addicted prostitutes.

The young woman who was the 'top pick' was described by one of the boys in a team profile he put up online as 'sweet, outgoing, friendly, willing to get down and dirty and [expletive] party. Coming in at 90 pounds, 5’2 and a bra size 34d.' She would be a special asset to the team, he noted, because her mother 'is quite the cougar herself.'

Before they got caught last summer, the boys had planned an 'opening day party,' complete with T-shirts, where the mission was to invite the drafted girls and, unbeknownst to them, score points by trying to rack up as many sexual encounters with the young women as possible.

Don't be tempted to write this off as "boys will be boys." Imagine being the father of the "top pick." I'm glad Dowd wrote about this, because it provides yet another opportunity to teach adolescent boys and young men that the behavior revealed is reprehensible and unacceptable. Without such lessons, those boys could grow up to be men who devalue the lives and dignity of women (see George Huguely V or Joran van der Sloot) which would make them no better than the oppressive men to whom they are supposed to be morally superior.

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 10, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Thank you. Well said.

Posted by: saudade70 | June 10, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

"Imagine being the father of the "top pick."

No, YOU imagine being her mother.

Am I being picky? You wrote about regimes that put women in burqas, and then you elided me your female reader by asking me to imagine how a MAN would feel about this happening to his daughter? Incredible, especially since the girl's mother is more likely to have experienced rape herself.
So, Jonathon, YOU imagine being that mother and imagine that she may have been raped at some time herself. How does that feel?

To be fair, I just ran some quick statistics on rape and gender. The UCSC Rape Prevention website is one of the first I googled up. According to that, "(a)n estimated 91% of victims of rape are female, 9% are male and 99% of offenders are male." That's Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1999, and if you have anything to show a significant change in the distributions, your reader would be interested in knowing.

Otherwise, excellent article. No, really, I mean it.

Posted by: martymar123 | June 10, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

If young girls weren't promiscuous, they wouldn't have to worry about being sexually taken advantage of by young boys.

But, hey, sorry to go against yours and Maureen Dowd's subliminal suggestion that males are just awful. You two might read "Save The Males" by your colleague, Kathleen Parker. Also, sorry to bring up personal responsibility, since we know lefties rarely consider such a thing.

What these boys did was obviously wrong, but neither you nor Maureen suggested that parents should raise their children to not be promiscuous.

Posted by: TylerHealey | June 10, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely, TylerHealey, and if men wouldn't dress nicely and carry wallets in crime-risk areas they wouldn't be robbed. If stores wouldn't put goods on open shelves there would be no shoplifting. Nice "blaming the victim" post.

Where do you get the idea that girls are promiscuous? The last time I looked, every sexual encounter takes two, so IF girls are being promiscuous, boys are being promiscuous also. Except that every study I'm aware of says that boys and men have many times more sexual encounters than girls/women. So just who is being promiscuous?

I'm sure you're another man who feels that men are downtrodden in this country. From where I sit, seeing who is in power, who is in charge, who controls the money, who are the CEOs, etc., men don't look particularly downtrodden to me.

I'll close with the thinking put forth by many of my lefty-liberal friends in the lead-up to the last democratic presidential primary. They believed that this country would be more likely to elect an African-American MAN than a Caucasian woman, because gender bias trumps racial bias even in the U.S.

Posted by: vklip1 | June 10, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Maureen Dowd's article nailed the issue but I don't know what to make of your response. Although you don't defend them with "boys will be boys" you only offer an ineffectual, "C'mon boys', behave yourselves, it's bad form to act that way." Your low-keyed response would be appropriate if their offense was bathroom wall graffiti. Their offense was far uglier and much more disturbing.

Posted by: dmalham | June 10, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

vklip1, you've made a terrible mistake. Maybe I should have started my comment stating, “I support women’s rights,” because I do.

My definition of promiscuous is having intercourse before marriage. Thus, girls who aren’t promiscuous will not have to worry about boys sexually taking advantage of them.

I don’t feel men are downtrodden in this country. I’m not gender biased either. I’m just going to raise my kids to be abstinent before marriage.

Please don't accuse me of blaming the victim. I clearly stated that what those boys did was wrong.

Posted by: TylerHealey | June 10, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Replying to:

"Please don't accuse me of blaming the victim. I clearly stated that what those boys did was wrong."Posted by: TylerHealey

Not by a long shot, Tyler. You first spent two paragraphs attacking the girls, their parents, the columnists and lefties (?!). Only then did you get around to a passing reference to the actual culprits before ending with yet another attack on Dowd and Capehart. That sure sounds like "blaming the victim" to me.

You can proclaim your fairmindedness all you want, Tyler, but your posting shows just how hollow your fine words are.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | June 10, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous. I didn't attack the girls in my first comment. I wrote, "If young girls weren't promiscuous, they wouldn't have to worry about being sexually taken advantage of by young boys." You chose to assume that I was talking specifically about the young girls in this case.

I then closed by saying, "...parents should raise their children to not be promiscuous." You chose to assume that I was talking specifically about the parents in this case. Do not try to use my words against me when you have so obviously misinterpreted them.

If you have a problem with the advice I'm giving to all young girls and their parents, fine. You have a right to your opinion. However, do not attempt to paint me as blaming the victims.

Finally, you should recognize the fact that you're attacking someone who has spent his whole life defending females, sometimes when it required becoming physical. If you want an enemy, I'm not a good choice.

Posted by: TylerHealey | June 10, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

And another thing: thank you for complimenting my fine words. That was very kind of you.

Posted by: TylerHealey | June 10, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your remarks and I also heard Laura Ingraham on this subject today. As an older student (one never stops learning), I have seen our educational system at all levels proceed from VERY strict to utter chaos(Private School in 50's to Grad school in 70's to present). I even remember when they put in the first co-ed dorms at Kent State and was shocked at that. I was a High School Teacher during the Woodstock generation and even got accidentally stoned while chaperoning a student group to an Allman Brothers Concert at Case Western Reserve. I watched students throwing baggies of pot at the Sportatorium in the 70's and survived my students doing Quaaludes etc etc - I am a Father of three children, raised thru all this. I blame all the parents that have raised their children with no moral instruction and spent their weekends in the Bahamas while their teens had wild parties in their homes; they spent an average of 2 minutes a day with their children (study done by Police Chief of Miami)and taught them little or nothing.
They have taught them to lie, cheat and steal(not all)and show no respect for others. The greatest tragedy of the 20th century was the irresponsibilty of many parents. I would estimate that half of the students I taught in the 70s, 80's and 90's are either dead from drugs and alcohol abuse,or incompetent adults with severe handicaps due to drugs, or in mental institutions. All this covered up by the medical establishment.We could also include those dead from accidents, HIV/AIDS, or lives ruined by STDs. Thanks to adults who didn't care about morality, respect for self and others, and above all respect for the laws of our land and parental authority. Will the next generation learn from the past? I hope so~~especially at Landon and all other schools. Immorality leads to disaster and ruin, in school, in life and in our careers.

Posted by: wkysela | June 10, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

To the Editor of the Washington Post:
I submitted a comment that I spent a lot thought and time on to you- it was rejected as I supposedly had written other comments - I did not - I believe you are very biased and rejected it because you fear the TRUTH!

Posted by: wkysela | June 10, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I apologize - you did post it. Sorry about that. You aren't afraid of the TRUTH. I appreciate the opportunity to express my thoghts and realize that there are also other perspectives. If we, as Americans, can work at solving our problems, we will become a better Nation.

Posted by: wkysela | June 10, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

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