Having 3 boys ages 8, 9, & 11 & considering it's MY job to teach my kids consent & respect of others, I thought today was good as any to have the rape talk with each child individually.
This is how it went. They all responded identically without knowing what the other said, & it makes me wonder, where does this learning go wrong. (I believe I know a piece of the puzzle of where it goes wrong. I'll detail at the end.)
How would your talk with your kids go?
Me: let's say you're lonely & want a hug. What do you do?
Them: ask for it. (At this point I'm flabbergasted & say, you're already so smart ... Smarter than many people!)
Me: how do you ask for it?
Them: may I have a hug? (Excellent!!)
Me: what if they say no? (With this one, I really had no idea what they'd say... For some reason, I thought they'd fail me.)
Them: (but each child without a beat said the same thing) ask someone else. (Me cheering!!)
Me: what if a lot of people say no?
Them: keep asking, find someone. (One child said, ask your mom or dad.)
Me: you can also hug yourself, find a pet to hug, find a close friend maybe.
Then I went on to explain that our society isn't struggling with finding people to hug. They're struggling with finding people to be intimate with, sex.
They are so desperate, they hurt people. They take "hugs" without their permission. They drug them, wait till they're unconscious, or make them do it.
This is called rape. (They learned a new word. Who's job is it to teach them that word? Their parents. Me today. Not the court system.) Rape is when you touch someone else's genitals & you stick something inside them.
I explained about the Stanford student & what he did. (I wasn't ready to explain his sentencing... That's for my day on explaining injustices in the world.)
And I told them this act would land them in jail for years, & for the rest of their life, they'd have on their record that they are a sexual predator... Limiting the jobs they'd have & where they could live. It's a big deal.
So why doesn't this translate from hugs to sex easily?
Hugs do not have a negative stigma... From childhood, many children know hugs as being an acceptable way to get their needs met. Sexual conversations & expressions are suppressed & shamed leading to fears & anxiety to even talk about it, much more difficult to ask for it.
(We need safe places to talk about our sexuality!!! Thankfully I'm creating these spaces for San Antonio!)
We are also a touch deprived society where we don't have enough touch to keep us healthy, we don't have a good understanding of the non-sexual touch that feels good to be able to ask for it, AND we don't know the grand diversity of sexual expressions that can be very satisfying that don't always include intercourse!
There's so much work to be done on preventing sexual assault & rape. Talk to your kids! You're the first line of education they need!
Come to my classes on Meetup to talk to other parents, gain courage to talk about sex & get ideas on how to have your own family conversations!