1 in 10 men have raped a woman. Half of them started raping as teenagers and half of them have raped more than one person. 91% of rape victims are female
We tell our girls “Don’t wear that” or “Don’t go out alone”. Why aren’t we telling our boys NOT to rape women?
This is a sensitive subject and while many people are uncomfortable with the sex talk, the consent talk is not any easier. But it starts much earlier than that. It starts when we tell girls that their only worth is their physical appearance. It starts when we says “Boys will be boys”. It starts when we tell girls what they can and cannot wear, because they might sexually turn on a boy.
As a homeschooler I feel that I have more power to make sure my boys know
The first and last step to preventing rape is to teach our kids NOT to rape.
It is not a girls responsibility to dress differently. Or to avoid certainly places. Or to not ever have a drink. It’s a rapists responsibility not to rape.
So how do we teach our boys not to rape? It starts at birth.
- Teach consent from when they can walk. This is done in 2 parts. First, you never ever force them to hug or kiss anyone, even grandma. That is their choice. Their body. They give consent and no one else. If grandma is offended, well she can deal with it. This extends beyond gestures of love though. A few months ago Logi-Bear asked to not ever be tickled again. It was not a spur of the moment decision where he was unhappy. He truly does not like tickling. We made a big deal to talk to all the adults he encounters with him present to inform them of his wishes. And we make sure all the adults honor his request.Second, they need to get consent from others, especially other kids. “Can I hug you?”. If they say no, the answer is no. Even if your kid is upset. Encourage other kids to ask your kid if they want a hug as well. Consent 100% from the time they can express it.
- This goes hand in hand with the last one. Make sure they know that no one touches their body without their permission. This is mostly referencing abuse by others, but you don’t have to give them the gruesome details. I tell the boys that if they are ever uncomfortable with someone, they come tell me or Daddy immediately.
- Use respectful speech. We’ve all heard “Boys don’t cry’ and “You throw like a girl”. These seemingly harmless phrases just instill the idea that boys are stronger and better than girls. They encourage boys to feel entitled and superior. We need to knock down this idea.
- No means no isn’t a bad place to start, but I’d like to see it upped to “Anything but yes is no”.
- Don’t teach boys that they have to be strong, non-emotional, lacking in empathy robots. Boys can cry. Boys CAN cry. And that’s okay. Nurture your boys – I promise you won’t turn them gay. (They’re either gay or they’re not and you’re not going to change that). Love your boys like you love your girls.
- When they’re old enough TALK. EDUCATE. Do no skip rape in your sex education.
- Don’t force your boys to adopt masculine gender qualities. If they don’t want to play sports, that’s okay. If they want to play with dolls, that’s okay. Forcing them to fit into the stereotype of “male” will hurt them in many ways. A big one is empathy.
- Pay attention to your kids video games. I’m not saying video games cause rape. My kids play video games and I think it’s great. But some video games are very misogynistic. And people that play video games in a group have a tendency to be ruthless. Rape culture is 10 times worse on video game servers (I saw this from experience. I was an avid gamer throughout college and the comments I received were horrible. I can’t even repeat them).
- Do not make comments about how people are dressed. Especially when it’s about how scantily a girl is dressed. You may not approve, but it’s not your body. And the comments you want to make (no shame, I think them too) will not help your sons in how they shape their view of others.
- When you hear about a rape (or any incident) do not ever blame the victim. Never say “Well what did she do? What was she wearing?”. If you have to, talk about it with your spouse, but do not vocalize these thoughts in front of your kids.
- Talk to your kids!! When they’re little talking about good touch and bad touch. When they’re a bit older, talk about sex. Before puberty talk about safe sex and consent. Talk to them about rape. I’m not saying it will be easy or fun, but it will be a lot better than living with a rapist for a child.
I want to address men that are raped for a moment, because it happens too. And if rape of women is under-reported, rape of men is very under-reported. 1 in sex men are child sexual abuse survivors and 1 in 33 men are rape survivors. All of these tips apply to girls too.
Rape is not a sexual act. It is an act of power. When we no longer force people to assume a certain power, they will no longer feel the need to exert their power.
This is not a typical post of mine but I feel like it needed to be said. And I wanted to say it. I wanted to continue the conversation. I’ve had this post in draft mode for awhile, working on it when I can. With the Brock Turner case I thought it was time to get it live.