Dads, talk with your sons about respectful sexual relationships

EDITORIAL

Giving Kiwi dads the skills and confidence to talk with their sons about respectful sexual relationships is one of the aims of the White Ribbon campaign this year. While it’s a challenging topic for dads, that uncomfortableness needs to be overcome — as children otherwise find alternative sources such as pornography.

White Ribbon aims to end men’s violence towards women by encouraging men to lead by example and talk to other men about such things as the importance of respectful behaviour towards women, how this is actually healthier for them (giving less stress and making for happier lives), the need for respectful sexual relationships where consent is necessary, and of saying no to violence and controlling behaviours.

The White Ribbon campaign leads into White Ribbon Day on November 25. The focus again this year is respectful relationships, with some new resources and themes . . . a key one targeted at encouraging fathers to teach their sons how to be respectful — in what they talk to their boys about, and the behaviour they model to them. A toolbox for fathers to develop their children’s respectful behaviour is available at www.whiteribbon.org.nz, with a version tailored to younger fathers.

There is also a focus this year on connecting better with young men. A series of video messages has been developed and a young man’s toolbox “Start With Respect” will be promoted.

The White Ribbon pledge has also been updated to: “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence towards women.”

As to the easy online access to, higher use and normalisation of pornography these days, it is clear that this is shaping young men’s and women’s sexual practices. It is less widely acknowledged that porn intensifies sexist and violence-supportive attitudes and behaviours, including sexually-aggressive behaviour. This is especially so for men who show other risk factors such as having hostile and distrustful attitudes towards women, getting sexual gratification from controlling or dominating women, and being callous and unemotional.

Giving Kiwi dads the skills and confidence to talk with their sons about respectful sexual relationships is one of the aims of the White Ribbon campaign this year. While it’s a challenging topic for dads, that uncomfortableness needs to be overcome — as children otherwise find alternative sources such as pornography.

White Ribbon aims to end men’s violence towards women by encouraging men to lead by example and talk to other men about such things as the importance of respectful behaviour towards women, how this is actually healthier for them (giving less stress and making for happier lives), the need for respectful sexual relationships where consent is necessary, and of saying no to violence and controlling behaviours.

The White Ribbon campaign leads into White Ribbon Day on November 25. The focus again this year is respectful relationships, with some new resources and themes . . . a key one targeted at encouraging fathers to teach their sons how to be respectful — in what they talk to their boys about, and the behaviour they model to them. A toolbox for fathers to develop their children’s respectful behaviour is available at www.whiteribbon.org.nz, with a version tailored to younger fathers.

There is also a focus this year on connecting better with young men. A series of video messages has been developed and a young man’s toolbox “Start With Respect” will be promoted.

The White Ribbon pledge has also been updated to: “I will stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence towards women.”

As to the easy online access to, higher use and normalisation of pornography these days, it is clear that this is shaping young men’s and women’s sexual practices. It is less widely acknowledged that porn intensifies sexist and violence-supportive attitudes and behaviours, including sexually-aggressive behaviour. This is especially so for men who show other risk factors such as having hostile and distrustful attitudes towards women, getting sexual gratification from controlling or dominating women, and being callous and unemotional.

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