This fall, millions of students across the United States are entering their first year of college. As a part of new student orientation, many of them will participate in workshops to help them adapt to college life that might include a session on sexual assault prevention.
Too often we see girls as muses and subjects of art rather than as artists. As a result, girls’ representation in the media is often inauthentic and reinforces harmful gender roles.
Girlhood is unique for each generation. Today, societal pressures are amplified by social media and smartphones increasing connectedness with peers after school hours.
In many societies and cultures, men and boys are taught from an early age that showing emotions is a “sign of weakness.” Statements such as “real men don’t cry” or “stop acting like a girl” teach boys they should not express their emotions and reinforces the idea that they should be “strong,” while girls are “weak.”
While violence against children is certainly gaining more attention around the world today, there is still a deeply troubling narrative that remains largely hidden. It is the story of sexual violence against boys, and it is a story that deserves recognition.
Heroes: they come in all forms. They come to us under the guise of “survivor,” of “friend,” of “advocate.” And nowadays, more than ever, it seems everyone in the world could use a hero.