Even as a boy, a very young boy, I often despised how other boys would talk about girls. How they would reduce the girl’s identity to an assortment of body parts. How they would feel the right to spread vile rumours based on, well, plain malice. How they would gleefully discuss what I can now only describe as rape fantasies.
Now, I cannot take much pride in saying that I did not participate in such behaviour; much like I do not expect praise for not killing anyone in the past hour. It is the bare minimum one would expect in a civilised society.
If anything, I do feel remorse for not being able to raise my voice against any of it. It must have been partly because I did not have the strength to oppose them, and partly because I did not realise the damage such behaviour could cause.
Today, when I meet or speak with some of these boys, I can still sense the remnants of that mentality. It is often obscured by a mask of feigned civility—and occasionally it isn’t—but it is still very much there. Apparently, it is not something that can change by itself.
But one thing has changed: My willingness to call them out.
After all, there is only one way to ensure good guys no longer finish last. We need to weed out the bad ones.