With all the negativity and sensationalism our poorly serving mainstream mass media constantly bombards us with, it was warmly refreshing to read an article that said…
“Mr. Kelifa volunteered to take part in a pioneering and, in some quarters, controversial program that seeks to prevent sexual and other violence by helping male immigrants from societies that are largely segregated or in which women show neither flesh nor public affection to adapt to more open European societies.”
I’ll never know Mr Kelifa but I applaud him for taking steps to understand a culture that he is not innately familiar with. I absorbed the content of this article with great interest because as well as being home to the Nobel Peace Prize it is incredible that Norway has the foresight to openly educate men of a different culture on the alternative cultural approaches that Western societies have toward women and sexuality.
There are a growing number of European countries adopting this idea, however it is my understanding these classes are currently limited to immigrants who have been raised within cultures where it is forbidden for women to openly express their sexuality.
There is no definitive evidence that suggests immigrant men are more susceptible to this type of behaviour than men raised in Western societies but no matter which civil liberty groups stand up and state these types of classes stigmatise immigrants, the ability to provide information and understanding that has the potential to broaden an individuals perception is worth the price of any backlash.
But imagine this…
Imagine if those classes shifted the emphasis away from the external stimulation of what a women chooses to wear and instead concentrated internally on why a man would ever feel a woman could ever be potentially violated purely based on her sense of style. Is it a sense of entitlement? Is it a way of feeling in control? Or is it an underlying sense of powerlessness?
I don’t know if these classes focus on how male insecurities develop or look into just how little adults directly communicate to each other about sex. While some see sex as an extended conversation, others see it as a disposable form of fun, some people see it as something that just happens, while others feel that sex is better explored within a religious framework.
It would be nice to see such classes presented in colleges and universities and extended to all men outside and within the walls of any culture because the safety, freedom, physical and emotional well being of all women is key to our survival as a species.
I’ve done a little research for this post and it is my understanding that, at least in the UK, an astounding 90% of perpetrators of a sexual violation are already familiar or known to their intended victim. The recent sentencing of former student of Stamford University, Brock Turner and the award winning documentary The Hunting Ground clearly highlight that rape culture is not specific to an identified collective, however it is undeniable that these horrific acts of violation (to both men and women) are committed by the gender which I belong to.
Let me conclude by saying that I don’t want any specific group illegitimately demonised because they were born into an inherited culture not of their choosing but classes specifically aimed at male immigrants trying to understand the norms of a new culture which will help contribute to a more understanding, open and safer society are hopefully the first bold steps on a long and winding road.
Until next time.
So true. Very well written piece.
Thank you Anna!
I liked the underlying fact that you have highlighted that an understanding, open and safe society is what we have to aim for! After all, society is sum total of all population groups and if we can help individuals understand this and open up to being neutral even, it would be a good start to an evolving progressive society.
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I think that we can have a safer society if more men are willing to openly share their repressed feelings regarding their own personal insecurities.
Thank you for the comment, I love reading your blog also 😊
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This is really very informative-I like this idea a lot! As a young woman, you’re taught not to be raped, whereas, as you said, the emphasis should be on teaching people not to rape.
The vast majority of men are decent people who would never dream if hurting anyone. And I totally back the idea that those who haven’t had the kind of background that preaches respect for women-regardless of their racial/cultural origin-could benefit from this kind of suggested education.
Awesome post! 🙂
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