JMS Winner: A Man’s Intentions


from a scene in the Netflix original show “One Day at a Time”

“Get a restraining order.” She did. She was still murdered.

“Take boxing classes.” She did. She was still murdered.

“Watch how you dress.” She did. She was still raped.

“Don’t walk too far.” She didn’t. She still got murdered.


Why are all these warnings directed towards women? We constantly bombard them with warnings about what would happen if you wear this or what would happen if you wear that. They can’t even be themselves because they’re constantly worrying about this kind of thing. 


This is reality. This is what it’s like being a female in the 21st century. Every day, we walk out of our homes hoping that today we can walk around safely, without the fear of being potentially attacked. Maybe it’s time to tell him to stop attacking her. 


“Why don’t you just say no?” they say. It’s not that easy. There have been so many cases where young women have politely told men they weren’t interested in them or these men were denied. The next day their bodies are found brutally raped and murdered. Or maybe they have to live with the guilt of not being able to fight back. Some won’t even come forward about their attack because women will get called degrading names while men get praised. 


Thankfully, the Netflix original show One Day at a Time does such a good job of bringing this issue to light. Season 3 Episode 2, titled “Outside,” tackles sexual harassment, teaching Alex Alvarez a lesson about how to respect women. In the episode Elena Alvarez describes her school’s aimed-at-women-only “Rape Prevention Week”: “‘Girls, don’t dress provocatively!’ ‘Girls, don’t walk alone!’ How about, ‘Hey, guys, don’t rape!’?” She can’t seem to wrap her head around why women were to blame. Trust me, we’re still trying to figure that out too. In that same episode, Elena shares with Alex why she and her significant other had been holed up in the apartment, afraid to go outside. One night they were followed off a bus by a group of guys, who tried to provoke them to kiss each other for their entertainment. Not only is it dangerous being a woman outside at night, but being a gay woman is worse. 


English songwriter and musician Dominic Richard Harrison, commonly known as YUNGBLUD, has his own views. In his song Polygraph Eyes, it teaches boys the importance of consent. “Just because a girl wears a short skirt or wants to get as drunk as she wants, people think that they can take advantage of that fact and make the girl almost feel obliged to do that [oblige to everything a man demands even while under the influence],” he says in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. He warns men who push the limit in the chorus “Leave it alone mate, she doesn’t want to go home with ya.” In the video for this song, the young woman repeatedly denies the guy any attention but he still pursues her by giving her more and more drinks until she’s so drunk that she doesn’t even know where she is. Harrison sings, “She can’t even run, she can’t even walk.”  Harrison wrote this from a male perspective to encourage men to talk about sexual assault. It’s comforting to see men try to spread awareness for women. 


There has been a time when I’ve experienced this kind of treatment, directed towards my own mother. One night we were walking home from parking the car. Crossing the street we saw a pair of young men walking in our direction but across the street from us. When we made it to the sidewalk they began to catcall my mom. At that moment, I felt unsafe and started rushing to get home. Who knows what these men could have done? I’m sure that if we had a male escort they wouldn’t have said a thing. But this is the world we live in. No matter how old you are, there are people out there with sick intentions. 


Rape was a thing in the 1950s when women would wear pleated, below-the-knee skirts, and in the 1800s when women wore frocks and several layers of clothing underneath. Rape has absolutely nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with rapists. So are you going to tell me it was their fault then? That they were “asking for it”? When they are assaulted it feels like these men reach into their souls and force them to die. They feel betrayed by their own bodies and disgusted with themselves. Are you going to continue to allow this to be the mindset of young girls? 


It’s not only girls. There are countless men and young boys who have been through similar experiences. But because of toxic masculinity and the mindset that “boys don’t get raped,” boys don’t come forward. In a lawsuit against the US Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics, doctor Larry Nassar was under investigation. Jacob Moore, a gymnast, joined that federal lawsuit claiming that Nassar had sexually abused him while under his treatment. According to Moore, Nassar pulled his pants down exposing his genitals as a form of treating his shoulder pain. The suit says, “There is no known medical connection between shoulder pain which can be treated through acupuncture in the area of a male’s genitalia.”  This is an example of why it is so difficult for them to receive help because of society’s generalizations. 


So why don’t we all put what we’ve been raised to believe on the back-burner and educate ourselves?  Teach your children that it’s okay to speak up and that “No” means “No.” Don’t teach young girls that if a boy bullies them it means they like them. Don’t teach boys to continue to pursue a girl when she isn’t interested. We have to be the ones to set that example. Maybe then girls can learn to love themselves and boys can learn to trust. 


from the Netflix original show “One Day at a Time”