an article you may not be inclined to read
but you should
even if they dont want to
if you have a Niece or Daughter, Nephew or Son in your life
if U were or are a teenager
if you care for or about a child
phenomenal, yet excruciatingly painful, article to read. And unfortunately, oh-so-true. There is no woman in our culture (and many a boy as well) who has not been touched by rape, molestation, coersion, or near-rape. And those who blame the victim make it so much worse because it allows the perpetrators to think that what they are doing isn't wrong.
Stop to consider that the victim can be 9 days, 9 weeks, 9 months, 9 years, 19 years or 90 years old and you will understand that victims cannot and do not give consent to be violated.
Personally, my family has had a horrendous experience with this issue, one that I know we will never recover from. I am still shaking as I sit here after reading that article, but WOW! Is it ever necessary to talk about these things. Thank you to the brave young lady who wrote it! You've said for my family and so many others what we could not say for ourselves.
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Wow. That was so painful to read. Thank you for posting it, and thank God for the strength and bravery of the young woman who wrote it.
Thank you for posting that article.
This article brought me to tears. I have a baby daughter, so how do I protect her from this? I was about 19 when someone sexually assulted me. And I couldn't do anything about it, since there was no evidence or proof. How do I teach her to protect herself?
having been molested and assaulted as well as coerced as a kid
i am o expert
but I make a point of letting my kids know what is and is not ok
when something bad happens in a movie they are old enough to see
I point it out, and how the characters may be feeling
I have a 16yo that thinks of a fetus as a tapeworm
No i never said anything like that, but she knows the reproductive cycle age appropriatly most of her life, so when her friends talk about how cool it is jammie lynnn is preg she can describe in some detail the parts not so cool
she also knows that abortion is the ending of a life, and so has a HUGE aversion to becoming pregnant in the first place
my 13yo has her own version of an aversion, but she just does not get colliwobbles around boys (or girls) YET
I am no expert, but I believe strong limits, and understood consequences, as well as LOTS of communication seems to do the trick
we shall see in 10-15 years
Great article. I think every woman can relate to some part of those stories. It's so true about "Not rape", it's a hard line to distinguish for women let alone girls who are new to the male attention.
I know when I was about 12 or 13 I started developing and gaining attention from men. I remember being catcalled and whistled at from cars or just men on the street. It was a distusting and shameful experience. I was so embarassed. Who has the right to make a little girl feel that way? I remember in grade 9 photography class some of the boys would take advantage of being in the dark room. The whole class would be in there, but certain boys would put their hands up our uniform skirts. I don't know if anyone ever really told them not to, but I was just surprised and embarassed and sure that no one would believe me. That's the issue really. Girls are embarassed or think they'll get into trouble for doing something wrong.
I know that I have already chipped in my $ .02 worth on this topic, but I was watching TV last night and a certain commercial reminded me of this post. And it made me think.
It's those "girls gone wild" commercials. I hate them. DETEST and LOATHE them. In fact I hate pornography in any and every form, because it invites trouble. It makes women and girls look like "they are just asking for it."
Now, I realize that I am the one who said, "don't blame the victim." And I still stand by that. It's never the victim's fault, no matter what. But why, as a society, do we send this mixed message? Why flash all that flesh around, get guys all whooped up and then turn them loose on the next unsuspecting girl to come along? Why do we tolerate that?
Frankly, I think all porn, strip clubs, etc, ought to be illegal - because it protects women and girls from sexual assault. But, even having said that, I still feel that there is no excuse for a man who "Can't control himself." Yes, he can! And he should.
I heard Oprah (:heart: ) say it once, "it's like having a guest over to your house. It's your house. You get to say how far into your home they come and how long they stay." Yes! That's my girl! But, as wise and intellegent women, we should still not be leaving the door wide open for any man roaming down the street to come in. We still lock our doors, and only open them to the one(s) we trust. Right? RIGHT!
So, it's a two-way street. We want men who can control themselves, but we have to be willing to participate in that, and help them help themselves. It's going to take the women of this country to agree together to not display themselves in a manner that may harm another woman - their sister, their daughter, their friend. For the love of your fellow female, keep your clothes on!
Editing to add, here: No, I am not saying that we should cover women from head to toe in bhurkas (sp?) and de-sexualize them by castration of their external genitalia. That's swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction. A girl can be sexy as hell and still completely covered from her collarbone down to her knees.
What I am saying is that there are 2 parts to a crime being committed: Motive, and opportunity. These are crimes of opportunity. We may or may not be able to control that. What we have more control over is motive. Why motivate unnecessarily? It's just a simple suggestion.
We overly sexualize children at way too young an age. That's why we've got commercials like the one I mentioned. Here's this very young girl, who looks even younger than she is, and she's waggling what little she's got saying, "Hi, I'm Brandi. I turned 18 two minutes ago, and since I was 9 years old, my highest aspiration in life has been to take my clothes off before God, America, and Canada." SERIOUSLY?!?! What happened to this kid to get her to this point?
Women, we should be taking every young girl within our influence under our wing and teaching them that they are valuable, precious, and to be cherished and adored. We should be teaching them that they are worthy of the right blend of respect and desire. And that anyone who shows them anything less than that is not worth one split second of their time. As women, we should be working together to strengthen, instead of undermine, eachother.
And men, it is a worthy effort of your time to encourage eachother to learn that proper blend as well. Teach eachother that your physical strength is for the nobel protection of your sisters, daughters, mothers, and aunts, and NOT the exploitation of those weaker and smaller than yourselves. That's why you have all that gorgeous muscle we admire so much.
I still have several more thoughts on this topic - it hit a nerve. As I said, our family has been severely distroyed by this issue. We've spent the better part of the past 3 years taking a certain young man to a forensic psychologist for court-ordered treatment of whatever is triggering his criminal sexual offenses, been before the judge and back and forth to jail multiple times. At the same time, we have been working toward the recovery of a very young little girl that I completely adore, and praying for the recovery of his other victims. Both parties involved are direct family members (not my husband! but a very close family members) But, I guess I'll chime in on that thought in another post.
I think the first step is clear and accurate sexual education for boys and girls starting at an early age. Most experts say if your child hasn't begun asking the basic questions by age 5 then start telling them. Always use correct terminology, not slang so as to develop respect for oneself and body parts. The term "boob" is not allowed in my house. It is derogatory. However we will happily have clear and accurate discussions relating to sexuality at the dinner table. It's not a secret or something shameful to discuss but it needs to be respectful and not giggled over.
Also while abstinence is certainly desirable numerous studies show that abstinence only education is not effective. Girls and boys need correct language and tools and practice in what to do or say. Also abstinence only models of education put the blame and guilt on the the girl and not the boy. And they don't cover abuse issues much at all.
My kids have both participated in Our Whole Lives Sex ed classes through the UUA. http://www.uua.org/religiouseducatio...cula/ourwhole/
These classes are accurate and informative. The instructors must be trained prior to teaching. My son always says he knows everything that they teach in health class at school already because of these classes. It also is good because he is aware if kids are saying things that are incorrect. Also health class at school doesn't cover much. The classes help develop an understanding that what you see in media images does not reflect reality. Abuse protection and knowledge is also and important component.
My son has been informed that if he gets a girl pregnant not only her life but his will change. I will see to it that he is fully responsible even if it means the loss of or delay of a much sought after education. It's particularly important to teach boys respect of all people and women and to help girls have positive self esteem and stand up for themselves.
While the rape and sexual harassment is presented in a sexual manner the crux of the problems is lack of respect and violence against another person. Violence is just not okay. In addition to numerous sexual messages in our society we also have numerous violent messages all making it somehow look okay.
It is all a complex problem.
What a powerful essay. I am going to forward it to my own grown daughter.
Being an "old lady" I could write pages, coming of age in the 60's when no one belived in something called "sexual abuse"when like many I experienced the trauma of being abused by a family "friend" , entering the work force in the 70's when sexual harressment was the norm (I got fired from a job for refusing a sexual request from a boss), and moving on to an an abusive marriage in the 80's ( that was certainly predictable) and feeling like it was all MY fault somehow. Then raising teenagers in the 90's when the world became a totally "sex scarey" place.
Is it any wonder that I could never quite understand my own daughters very different attitudes and values.
I was talking to DH's daughter last night, who lives in NYC, she said the only men she will "date", and by dating she means going out for a night of clubbing, a show or just to have a good time, are her gay men friends because those are the only men she trusts to not be sexually aggressive. How sad. I am glad she has someone safe to have fun with but sad that she is limiting her opportunity for true romance.
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