Dear little brothers, please don’t rape women
Dear A and M,
I never thought I would have to write a letter like this but I have seen things today and learnt things that have shocked me.
I don’t know who you are when you’re with your friends. I don’t know what you’re like when you’re drunk or at festivals or what you do to impress the pretty girls that approach you in nightclubs.
But today I learnt that many Irish men, your peers, believe that sex without consent is okay in "certain circumstances.”
We’ve never had a conversation about consent because I assumed I never had to. You two are my loving and charming younger brothers. You’re funny, caring, kind and a lot of fun to be around. You’re smart so I think you know all that I’m about to tell you but it can’t hurt to talk about it.
Brothers, sex without consent is rape.
There are no circumstances that permit this, there are no exceptions. Please, don’t rape women.
When the European Commission studied Irish people about consent, they found that 11% of believed that being under the influence of alcohol and drugs justifies sexual intercourse without consent. Brothers, it doesn’t.
I know when you’re drunk, lines get blurry, kissing happens, dancing happens and you can fall in love under the haze of tequila shots and bright lights. I know what that temporary romance feels like. But if you’ve had one too many and a pretty girl seems like she wants to go home with you I need you to say no.
I know why this might seem confusing. We live in a world that made millionaires out of the Geordie Shore cast. We’ve watched them for years go into bars, take home women and get them into "The Shag Pad."
You both work in the cinema which screens romantic movies in which persistence is seen as the ultimate romantic gesture.
I pay for your Spotify accounts where you can listen to songs in which women are objects, trophies and goals.
I can’t change the world you’ve grown up in, I can’t change the ads that say ‘sex sells,’ the films that say ‘go-get-her’ and the music that says sex is superior to love.
But I need you to see beyond all that.
I need you to say no.
If you see a girl walking home alone at night, by all means, walk her home. Go in if she asks, have a cup of tea. Make sure she’s okay. But then come home.
If a girl approaches you wearing a short dress, tell her she looks pretty, but don’t ask for more.
By all means, take her number. Text her, take her for dinner. I’ll even give you a lend of the money.
Take care, don’t take advantage.
Tell your friends the same (just leave out the part where I said I’d pay).
I can’t change the world you grew up in, but you can change the world we inhabit now.
Be the men I know you both are.
I love you both dearly,