Jon Hamm Talks About Rape And The Lack Of Positive Male Role Models

Illustration for article titled Jon Hamm Talks About Rape And The Lack Of Positive Male Role Models

Get ready to fall even more in love with Jon Hamm. Seriously. There are new levels of adoration for this man and we're about to discover them together.

Hamm was recently a speaker at the Rape Treatment Center benefit brunch in Beverly Hills where he spoke about his pre-Mad Men employment history — which we will refer to as phase one of your ever-deepening affection.

Apparently, the man behind Don Draper is a former high school teacher and also worked at a daycare center. Hamm said he's always felt very connected to children, which he attributes to being the child of a single parent —and thus spending "the majority of my life in daycare, after school programs, summer school programs," which brings us to phase two:

Hamm said, "Having gone through what I had gone through as a child...there were no real male role models in any of these places. There were never any dudes. It was a bummer as a young man to, not only not have a father figure in my life, but no real male figures as teachers or as educators or as afterschool program leaders or anything," he said.

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AND THEN —in what is both phase three and also such an important message that is rarely discussed by men, especially in entertainment— Hamm makes a point of talking about how important it is to reach out to young boys and men and educate them on the "lasting impact of rape":

Hamm made the point to emphasize the importance of the Rape Treatment Center's educational outreach, especially for boys and young men. "It is an important thing to instill in a younger generation about the impact of rape, the lasting impact of rape," he said, adding, "Children from grade school to high school to college are incredibly susceptible and incredibly malleable, as we all know. To get them early, to teach them about the facts and figures and other realities of rape is key. It is an important issue to me as not only a man, but as an educator, as a human being and as a person on this planet."

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All lighthearted jokes about love-deepening aside, this is such an important message and I'm so thrilled he was able to send it.

Rape is not a female issue. Rape is everyone's issue, which is why it's often an incredibly powerful thing to have a man stand up and say that. Obviously, I'm not saying it's any better or worse or that one's ability to be taken seriously has to be tied to gender but in terms of reaching a larger audience of men, I do think that there's something powerful about a man —especially a widely respected and beloved man such as Hamm— standing up and encouraging other men to educate themselves and their sons on what they can personally do to prevent rape, instead of continuing to simply tell women to protect themselves or "dress differently" (ugh).

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I wish we were at the point where hearing this message coming from incredibly strong people of any gender was enough, but I really feel like we need to be hearing these messages from everyone so that people realize that rape isn't simply a women's issue or a heterosexual issue. It truly is everyone's issue.

Hats off to you, Jon Hamm for shedding light on this fact. And being super, super crazy dreamy.

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Mad Men's Jon Hamm Reveals He Had "No Real Male Role Models," Was Raised by Single Mom [E!]

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DISCUSSION

humbleasdoves01-old
humbleasdoves01

Sorry this is crazy-ass long, but this is a BIG issue for me personally, and I needed so, so badly to read something like this today. This morning I came to the tough decision that, no matter how much I wanted to be there, I just couldn't attend the NYC Slutwalk today, because my PTSD symptoms surrounding uniformed police officers and police vehicles is still too intense. It doesn't help that I'm coming up on the one-year anniversary of my rape, when I was told by the officers who responded to my 911 call that what I explained had happened to me wasn't a crime, because "a woman like [me]" (referring to my dress and perceived sexuality) should have "expected what [I] got." For me, the trauma inflicted by my treatment by this group of men - and one single, solitary woman officer in the crowd, who very vocally made sure that no one on the street would mistake HER for someone like ME - ended up being even more painful and more damaging in the long term than the assault itself.

With no substantive education on the reality of sexual assault for street-level law enforcement, which even with a sprinkling of female officers is still an often downright misogynist environment, these guys had this culturally reinforced vision in their heads that they were going to swoop in like fairytale princes and save the innocent maiden from ravishment, and when what they found didn't fit this ridiculous, paternalistic, gender-normative idea of what Real Rape entails, instantly it wasn't their problem anymore. There was a kind of woman who it was their job to care about and help, and I wasn't it. I've never felt so alone and so betrayed as when this group of a good dozen men, men who were my only line of physical defense from my rapist still in the building behind us, literally turned their backs on me because they didn't think I was worth protecting, because from what they understood, forcing sex on someone like me was somehow something other than rape.

It's bad enough that the man who raped me truly thought that what he did to me was OK on some level because I didn't qualify for Real Rape, but at least you can say to yourself, well, that's one guy, he's fucked up, he's rationalizing his own crime, he's an aberration. But when a DOZEN men, effing LAW ENFORCEMENT PROFESSIONALS, look right at you on a public street surrounded by gaping witnesses and say essentially the same thing... and so does the one FEMALE officer there, who's surely had to fight her way into a supervisory position in this notoriously aggressive boy's club... and when you later find out that this kind of thing is happening in eerily similar ways to other women and girls all over the city... Well, let's just say that it's a nice change to read something that gives me some genuine hope that if men like Jon Hamm who are in the public eye talk about rape as an issue men have a responsibility to care about and understand, as EVERYONE'S issue, even one woman will one day be spared the kind of so-casual male ignorance and cruelty that I'm still coping with.