Rejection and Teaching Young Boys and Men to Respect the Word ‘No’.
It is important that society begins to identify and recognize the signs of unchecked future violence that can surface in men early on and teach them to reject these actions from a young age.
There are different aspects of a patriarchal society that fosters the narrative that women are simply the object of men’s desires. When most women reject a man’s advances, they almost know that it never ends there. Sometimes, women aren't expected to only entertain men's advances, they're also supposed to be appreciative of them. In order to present a true test of their character, it seems a lot of men assert their masculinity over any woman till they receive a favourable response. Since ideas and actions like these, are slowly beginning to phase out, men who have been beneficiaries either on purpose or unconsciously often find themselves rebelling against this change.
The majority of men in my life have treated my ‘no’ as a mere suggestion. Amongst friends, family members, and lovers there is an underlying promise for women, that if we say yes to men and please them all the time, we will end up happy. In the instance that we dare to say no, what would follow is an unnerving disrespect or pushback or worse, harassment and assault. It goes without saying that there needs to be a lasting change, one that ensures society takes a woman’s no as that exactly ー no.
Before graduating to assaults, there is usually a clear pattern that suggests that men would easily result to such eventually. Men, even from a very young age, are socialized to catcall and harass women. They are even sometimes encouraged or egged on by their older counterparts. There are several reports of women being catcalled, objectified and overly sexualized from a young age.
Oftentimes, ‘toasting’ and the ability to pick up women are heralded as a benchmark of masculinity for men. For many, their ego is on the line when they make passes at women, especially if done in the presence of their friends. When a woman does not respond positively, it is read as a direct insult to their manhood and as a result, they lash out. The gravity of the lashing out is sometimes determined by the man in question’s position in society. Take for example, the recent allegations levelled against Burna Boy and his aides regarding a shooting in a nightclub in Lagos. While Burna Boy hasn't expressly addressed the allegations, and it doesn’t seem like charges have been pressed either, regardless, the account of the victim is indicative of how men tend to handle rejection. The truth of the matter is that all men, not just classed men have negative and often violent reactions to being rejected. However, classed men have even more of an edge because they are able to skirt accountability with the aid of male privilege, massive wealth and fanatic supporters on their side.
It is important that society begins to identify and recognize the signs of unchecked future violence that can surface in men early on and teach them to reject these actions from a young age. If society is structured in a way that vehemently rejects male violence, makes no excuses for its occurrence and does not coddle or embrace abusers, less of such incidences as mentioned above would occur and women would feel safer as a whole.