Date Rape or Date Respect

According to Youth.gov, 1 of 3 adolescents will experience sexual abuse. The statistics of date rape incidents are on the rise.
There appears to be a cultural breakdown in the reasoning of America’s young people. One plausible explanation is the misinformation they receive. Violence has traditionally been a theme of the American entertainment industry. From the gun-toting Lone Ranger to James Bond, there is a long history of problem solving with violence. The act of getting what you want – self – is the reason for hurtful behavior. Respect plays second fiddle to Power and Control. This concept that is depicted in mainstream entertainment has the ability to condition young people to living their lives with these beliefs.


Other reasons for the rise in date rape incidents are drug use, lack of self-confidence, and the need for validation. Substance abuse, such as drug use or an excess of alcohol, affects reasoning and responsibility. A lack of self-respect often plays out in behavior towards others. For example, in some segments of American society, getting a girl pregnant proves one’s manhood. For the girl, having a baby will give her love. This takes us back to the consequences of sex and the desire to be loved, especially at a young age. Homo sapiens are the only group on the planet that use sex for pleasure. The function of sex in the animal kingdom is reproduction. Dogs, cats, horses have sex to procreate the species. Humans have sex for self-gratification because it feels good. Feeling good is another idea that permeates American culture. Supposedly, if we feel good, we must be happy. Most people want to be happy. This is why it is important that people learn early on that sex should always be consensual and approached safely.


As educators it is important that you provide an environment that promotes respect for all. For instance, when it comes to date rape, the argument that “boys will be boys” is not a viable explanation for girls being victimized. It is a breakdown in the social fabric that teaches respect for every individual. Our moral compass is out of whack when we lose sight of our moral responsibility to each other. Domestic violence takes many forms. It is a learned behavior. Violence is central to the success of our entertainment industry. Movies and TV thrive on violence. From the Long Ranger to James Bond, problem solving was violence centered. The image that the entertainment industry projects of women is usually as objects of sexual enticement, rather than real people. Accepting reality is a challenge. Education is the only hope for change. Parents and educators are critical components of the struggle. Every girl must believe that she is worthy of respect and that she alone can make decisions about her body. She needs the confidence to withstand the social pressures inherent in being a teenager. Young people must be taught these concepts. Growing up is tough. As a society, we need to provide leadership that resets our morale compass.

Last modified onThursday, 04 November 2021 17:03
Judy Chapman

Judy Chapman founded Garden State Woman, Inc. in 1998 and the Garden State Woman Education Foundation 501(c)3 in 2007. In recognition of the need for women everywhere, including New Jersey, to take firmer control of their futures and their families’ futures - in a world that is still not equally balanced between the opportunities and rewards provided men and women - for equal efforts in many aspects of their personal and professional lives.

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