“I have seen a lot of talk lately about how, as a mom of boys, I should be scared for the future of my sons. I have been instructed to watch the news carefully lately and make sure my sons are educated. I have been told that the lesson here is that the future is unraveling, and they are at risk of having their lives destroyed by false claims from ‘evil women,’ and that I should be afraid for them.
They are right about a couple things.
I should be watching current events closely, however I am not. Call me whatever you want to call me, but one thing I am is a survivor of sexual interference. So, if that aligns me with the unique, pristine, unspoiled beauty of a snowflake, then slap the label on me. Because in a world where 1 in 3 women are violated and forced against their will, I can tell you there have been many times where I feel anything but unique, pristine, or beautiful.
Here are some lessons for my sons I have put together to navigate these uncertain times that are apparently ahead of them:
Lesson Number 1:
If you touch a girl without asking first, you are wrong. You do not get a free pass to another’s body because you are just a ‘boy being a boy.’ A boy knows how to keep his damn hands to himself, just as well as a girl does.
Lesson Number 2
If someone says ‘stop,’ ‘no,’ or you get that weird smile that tells you they are uncomfortable, that means NOT CONSENSUAL. Stop means stop right this instant or you will lose that finger you’re touching them with. Son, is that clear?
Lesson Number 3:
If they like you, but not that much or not in that way, that’s a NO. If they were liking you, but now they don’t, that means ‘no.’ If they thought it was a good idea, but now you’re behind closed doors and they’re having second thoughts, that’ll be a hard pass, my son.
Lesson Number 4 :
If you touch a girl without consent, or against her will, she will destroy your life. As well she should! If you haven’t learned the lessons I have taught you, the woman you scorn will have my full support to rip any volunteer, career opportunity, or anything else she wants to take from you, seeing as how you thought you apparently owned her enough to touch her without consent.
Lesson Number 5:
If I ever find you going down the path to be the President of the United States, or the nominee for Supreme Court, you should be expecting a visit from me. I will sit you down and regale you of tales of the men who took advantage of me, who did not respect my turned head, my ‘no,’ my ‘GET OFF.’ I will tell you their first names, last names, and any detail I can remember. I will then let you know where they live now, if they are married or not, if they have children and what their careers are.
The reason I can tell you all of this is because although we are victims-turned-survivors, we often keep tabs on our assailants.
So for all those men who were once teenagers doing ‘boys will be boys’ type atrocities, thinking now you are sitting there with your beautiful family and all is forgotten, know this:
I know you had a daughter, and sometimes I wonder if you look at her and hope she doesn’t have to endure the same fate you so confidently provided for me. For my part, I will raise my sons so that your daughter is safer from my sons than I was from you.
Consider yourself welcome.”
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