I've been going back and forth a bit with a friend over on Facebook, regarding this quote, as spoken by Ms. Maxwell on the news recently. My contention was that her words are a bit naive - that if all it took was telling men to not rape, then all it would take is telling any criminal to not commit their crimes, and we would have a culture free of such things.
Her point was that we need a more concerted effort of men talking to men, and men talking to boys, driving home the points of "no means no," and that it is never acceptable or justifiable to rape a woman.
That started me thinking about my own raising, and that of my son. Dad never told me in so many words that "no means no," or that I should never rape a woman. What he taught me was how to relate to a woman properly, and he did so by living it in front of his kids every single day. We saw his example in how he treated Mom, and in how he treated other women in our family and our social circle. I believe I offered a similar positive example of that for my own son. I see how he treats his girlfriend, and I am encouraged by the behavior he displays.
I started wondering if this is the big thing that is sorely lacking in many young men's lives today. Their parents are divorced, and the process was ugly. Mom and Dad remain angry and resentful of each other for many years, and despite the need to get along for even a short time for the sake of the children, they never really manage. The sons grow up without a solid example of the proper way for a man to treat a woman, and it can hinder their proper development into the kind of men that treat women properly because it's the right thing to do, and not just because of what laws might stipulate.
This is not to say that I think every boy that grows up without a solid fatherly example is going to be a rapist, or that having such a good example means the boy will never rape. Instead, it's a matter of improving the odds. Our children learn more by what we do than by what we say, and it's not enough that we just talk about the right way to treat women. We have to be living it.
I'm interested in your thoughts, points, counter-points, experiences, etc.