You know those memes that talk about a dad’s protectiveness of his daughter? How he’ll hunt you down and kill you if you hurt his little girl?
Let’s have more of that, please.
Don’t get me wrong – the women in my life don’t need my protection or for me to advocate on their behalf. This post is written for men.
This is the meme in my FB feed today:
“Right now, all over the country, teenage girls are waking up to newsfeeds full of posts written by adults in their lives that say teenage boys attempting to rape them is ‘just how boys are’ and ‘they can’t help themselves’ and ‘they grow out of it’ and ‘It was just a little harmless fun.’ Think. Think about what you must be doing to them. And when you’re done thinking about that, imagine all the teenage boys reading the same thing.”
I’m old. There are things I marvel at because they’re hateful, and frankly, stupid. The next man who asks me why a woman would wait so long to report a sexual assault is going to get his feelings hurt.
The meme above underscores what too many men fail to consider: When we talk about Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, we are teaching our sons and daughters.
I have spent two decades serving survivors of sexual assault. Some sought me out due to a recent trauma. Vastly more were seeking to process and grieve abuse and assaults that occurred in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.
Anyone who would question the timing of when a survivor reports understands nothing about the short and long-term effects of sexual assault and sexual abuse. The barriers to recovery are many. Judgment, incredible vulnerability, shame, fear, the desire to forget, the terror of remembering and/or reexperiencing. The cost of treatment, misconceptions, stigma, prejudice; all of this and more exists within a culture that questions why women are assaulted instead of why men assault.
Let’s teach our children about consent. Let’s teach boys to respect and honor. Excuse nothing. It is never, ever, ever, acceptable to take any action toward another person’s body without their consent.