UPDATE: 2020/10/16. Alexis Grewan has written a rebuttal
An incident last year caused me to conclude that this might very well be the case. Oh, I can see mothers raising angry fists at me but I urge you to consider the evidence I present. To ensure that I was not being rash, I determined to research the subject thoroughly, which I did informally and casually. I didn’t get to formal academic-type research, because the recent spate of abuse, child rape, and general violence against women has angered me to such a degree that my emotions need to pour out into print without delay in the hope that it might bring about change.
Observations: Mothers creating an environment for a rapist
Then I realise that subconsciously I had been gathering information for decades. As a young father, at a time when it was permitted to smack children, I witnessed mothers telling their sons to do something – or desist from doing something. The son takes no notice. A faux-angry “Stop that or I’ll smack you” had zero effect. Son ignores mother. This is followed by “I am not telling you again to stop that” and a moment later “This is the last time that I’m telling you again to stop that”. Son either totally ignores her voice or gives her a look as if to say “Buzz off.” Mother even smiles now at the son’s bravado.
Meaningless threats followed by praise for disobedience
Then follows a long series of “This is the very last time that I’m telling you again that it’s the last time that I’m telling you to stop, or I’ll smack you.” This can have endless repetitions of “very very very last time that it’s the very very last time .. .. ..”.
Eventually, mommy might smack her son about as hard as dropping a feather on his head. By this time the visiting friends are in awe of her patience and skillful parenting, to which mother responds “Isn’t he wonderful. So strong-willed. Very determined. He has a mind of his own. He’ll go far. I’m so proud of him”.
The bad lesson taught
Get this. Son ignores his mother totally, is defiant, disobedient and continues his destructive behaviour despite his mother having told him repeatedly to stop. He actively displays his disrespect for the most important female person in his young life – his mother. And she allows it. Accept it. Praises it.
Bad behaviour praised
Fast forward to the incident of last year. A young boy barges into a chocolate shop that occasionally gives away free chocolate balls for tasting. That this was not one of those free sample days didn’t bother him. He goes behind the counter (the ‘staff only’ sign ignored), takes a chocolate and charges out. The manager who now places the tray out of sight under the counter tells me that the kid does this all the time.
No doesn’t mean NO!
Five minutes later the kid races in again, locates the tray under the counter, takes four balls and shouts belligerently at the manager, who tries in vain to stop him, “I’m taking for my mother and sister”. I am gobsmacked when he charges in for a third time almost knocking over my partner and takes another chocolate from behind and under the counter. His mother, following close behind, tells him clearly “NO! You know that you can only have chocolate on Saturday. And definitely not before dinner”. She stupidly says this knowing very well that he has already eaten at least two purloined chocolates at their table in the coffee shop next to the chocolate shop. The son, glaring at his mother in defiance as if hateful venom is spewing from his eyes and face, continues to unwrap the chocolate before stuffing it into his mouth – not wavering in his scowl, while she shouts again “NO!”
Mother tolerates disobedience
She, well-groomed and well-spoken, now somewhat guiltily turns to me and explains that he is such a nice boy. Such a clever boy. So confident, adding in defense or protest, that he comes from a very good home. This kid has effectively just told the most important woman in his life, his mother, to Eff Off. That she, and by implication, his young sister clinging in fear to mommy’s hand, has no value. And she has just praised him for this aberrant behaviour and taught him that when a woman says NO she doesn’t really mean it. This mother, like many others, is training her son from scratch to be an entitled narcissist and possibly a rapist. I am sure that you have witnessed similar incidents. You might even be part of that process. Please look into the mirror and your heart.
I am reminded of that horrible Brock Turner who raped Chanel Miller on a USA campus. Turner’s father said that he shouldn’t be sent to jail “For 20 seconds of action”. Disgusting of course, but his mother, in her silence, effectively condoned the rape.
Hope for change
Of course, I have done a little research. Liezel, a psychologist in Midrand agrees. I won’t quote her elaboration here. An attorney, Katrina, a mature mother with young twin boys responded with certainty. “Don’t blame men for rape. Blame women. They don’t teach their sons discipline. They teach them that No means nothing.”
A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to parents will be disrespectful of everyone. Disrespect can lead to crime. They age but never mature. They won’t respect the individual’s rights to privacy, safety and freedom. They won’t respect women.
A plea to Mothers and Grannies
Please mothers and grandmothers and mothers to be: acquire the knowledge and skills and get on with effective parenting. Be a consciously great parent. Don’t unknowingly, carelessly and recklessly create an environment in which there exists the slightest possibility for rapists and monsters to develop. Raise respectful sons who become men who will achieve their goals and contribute to society. Men who will respect and protect women.
Footnote: The chocolate shop reported experiencing similar incidents at many of their stores and has stopped giving away free samples.
Turner was sentenced to a paltry 6 months but served only 3. He left university, is a permanently registered sex offender, and works in a menial job. Chanel Miller (known as Emily Doe throughout the trial) is a survivor and has written her story – “Know My Name”.
Thanks to Sam J Basch for his editing and advice
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects the experiences of the writer, Peter Ucko, and his opinions, conclusions, suggestions and hope for change, based on those experiences. It is but one aspect of the horrific reality of rape, violence, for which perpetrators are responsible and liable, and lack of discipline in society. This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of SAFREA or the SAFREA Chronicle MediaHub