As you all know, I have four daughters. Four little girls that are growing up to be little women. One day soon, I’ll have to sit them down and talk to them about sexual assault, what consent means and that they get to say no at any point, any day and anytime. I will teach them that their bodies are temples that deserve to be worshiped not used. I will make sure they know the door is always open and that they can come to me no matter what. I will always love them like Jesus does. I will hammer home, that before becoming sexually active that they need to wait until they’re in love. I will teach that sex is fun, exciting and magical, but only if shared with the right person. Trust and sex should always go hand in hand. My daughters may not choose to take my advice. They may impulsively make a decision. Because lets face it, they’re kids.
Before that day comes, when my girls start thinking about going out with friends, shopping trips, sneaking out to parties, their first boyfriends and even sex. I have a lot to do to prepare them for the world. I will sit down my girls one at a time, when they are the right age or mature enough to absorb what I’m telling them. One by one…..
I’ll have no choice but to explain to her, how to be smart and give her the tools to make sure she is in a safe place. I will explain, that unless she knows she’s in a safe place with people she knows and can trust, that she doesn’t have the option to have too many drinks. That boys will take advantage of her if given the opportunity. I’ll have to talk to her about not only sex but what comes after sex. The surge of feelings and emotions that always come even if you think you’re prepared to take that next step. I’ll have to make her understand that the majority of teenage boys are immature and will tell their friends what she did with them. Yes, I will explain public shaming to my daughters. The shaming that goes on in our middle schools and high schools would blow your mind. They need to know how a few minutes can change their lives. They need to understand that there are so many things that they are not ready for yet.
I will educate them on date rape drugs, and how easily they’re given to girls. I will not only talk to her about making sure her partner is wearing protection but then explain what STDs are and what that could look like. I will have to have serious conversations about teen pregnancy. They will need to understand that a few minutes, can change the course of their lives forever.
I will have no problem telling my girls that the world can be a scary place. That as women, we have no choice but to be aware of our surroundings. That when you have to use the restroom at a party, you always go in pairs. That they can never leave a friend behind. That we don’t walk in parking decks alone or to our cars for that matter, after dark. I will show them how to hold their car keys in case they need to defend themselves.
I have no choice but to talk to my girls about the dangers on the internet and social media. I’ll have to teach them that they can’t trust a random stranger or random friend request. I’ll have to make them doubt whether or not ‘billy’ is a 16 year old boy or a 50 year old man sending pictures of his grandson. I’ll have to teach my girls what sexting is and how it can be used against them. It needs to become second nature for them to know that once something is on the internet it can be found forever. I’ll have to show them articles of children who are being charged with soliciting child pornography, for sending a nude picture to their boyfriend of girlfriend. I’ll have to take the time to teach them that snap chat isn’t just cool filters, but has a built in location tracker that needs disabled. That an Instagram message may be exciting, but they don’t need to share their pictures with strangers.
I’ll have to teach them to never follow a boy they’ve just met into a room alone, because anything could happen to them once that door is shut.
These conversations will be incredibly hard to have. I don’t want my girls to be scared of the world. But they need to be aware of what can happen if they allow themselves to be in certain situations. Our children, SHOULD have the right to assume that they can get shwasted and not be raped. The facts remain that if a woman is attacked, the first thing they are blamed for is being intoxicated. They will be judged for how they dressed and what the man perceived she was okay with.
We need to teach our girls that they have a responsibility to other girls! If they see a girl who is intoxicated, being led away from the crowd it is their job to find a way to shut that down! A simple ‘hey, she’s with us’ could change that girls entire life.
This is our job as a parent… We have no choice but to prepare our children for anything life can throw their way. We have to make sure that they listen to that voice or the feeling in their stomachs when something isn’t right. I’d encourage every parent to talk to their daughters about these things when the time is right. Obviously, this isn’t a Friday night, get it all out there at once kind of a thing. Overtime, each of your concerns need to be addressed with them.
For all of the mothers of sons, It’s your job to teach your sons what consent is. You have to teach them to ask before they touch. To continually check in and ask their partner if it’s okay before moving on. Show them the stories and news articles of young men across the country who are arrested for rape. The young men who swear they didn’t rape anyone. The ones that are ‘good kids’. The same men that say ‘yes she was drinking, but she never told me no.’ Talk to them about the young women who lie about what happens behind closed doors. Again, this comes back to trusting your partner. Talk to them about protection, STDs and becoming a young dad. The world can be just as harsh to our sons as it is to our daughters. Teach them that it is their job to step in if something doesn’t look right.
EDIT – I am not saying that every boy is a horn-ball that can’t control himself. I will make the argument that most boys are not taught that a girl cannot consent to sexual activities of any kind if she is under the influence. If you look at my opinion with that mindset, you can see that these boys are legitimately shocked when they are accused of rape. Calling them ‘good kids’ is not said sarcastically. These boys usually have bright futures ahead of them. You usually hear from family and friends that they are shocked this person could be accused of something like this. So, conversations do need to be had to protect your sons as well.
Our children need to know that if they or their partner is intoxicated or impaired with drugs, they are not able to give consent!
Now is the time for change. We owe it to our children to do better. We can’t be with them all of the time. We don’t have the right to continue the cycle of ‘my parents never talked to me about that’. Our children are growing up in a world far more advanced than the one we did. Don’t be afraid to have these talks with them. Don’t think that because everyone of your kids friends has a social media account that you need to let your child do it too. Our kids shouldn’t be allowed to go to just anyone’s homes. You owe it to yourself and them, to get to know the parents of their friends. I promise you, parents will all need to band together over the next few years! It is your job to monitor everything. So if you get them a phone, track it all. Children will naturally test us and push boundaries. We did the same things to our parents. The difference is we didn’t have google at our disposal and apps created to talk to random strangers without exchanging phone numbers. We didn’t have to worry about naked pictures of us popping up wherever. We didn’t even know what a Roofie was!!!
Just remember that one bad night can change the course of your child’s entire life. You never want to look back and think, if only I would have said….
Facts about sexual Assault-
Sexual assault stats -
All figures below are reported by the NSVRC
- One in three women will experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.
- One in six men will experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.
- 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police.
- More than 90 percent of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault.
- One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives.
- One in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
- $122,461 is the lifetime cost of rape, per victim.
- $127 billion is the amount of money rape costs the U.S., annually.
- 51.1 percent of female rape victims reported being raped by an intimate partner.
- 40.8 percent of female rape victims reported being raped by an acquaintance.
- In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator.
- 8 percent of rapes occurred while the victim is at work.
If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault and is seeking resources, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). If you are in immediate danger, call 911.