Stop teaching your daughters “not to get raped.” Teach your sons not to rape. Or assault. Or harass. Teach your sons that joking about rape is not funny- making light of someone else’s extreme violation and unimaginable horror and its life-altering impact is not fucking funny. Teach your sons that making a woman feel uncomfortable is not okay. No matter who they are.
Like the time Chris Gayle publicly harassed a woman on live T.V., and then named his daughter after the incident. Well done Gayle, well done. You showed us. Your daughter can now be a walking reminder of the time poor old you was victimised and totally unfairly reprimanded for your actions. How dare we tell you what you did was wrong, and how dare she tell you your actions made her feel uncomfortable. Don’t we know who you are? You’re a star! You’re an athlete! You’re a man!
Brock Turner, how dare your victim put you through the stress of trial, how dare she tell you what you did was wrong, harmful, violating, horrifying? How dare she put a black mark against your name? How dare the world turn against you? You were going to be a star! You’re an athlete! You’re a man!
Teach your sons that their actions are their own. They are putting the mark against their own name. They are being reprimanded because what they did was wrong. To violate a woman is wrong. To degrade a woman is wrong. To disrespect a woman is wrong. Teach your son his catcalling, his unwanted advances, his leering, his shaming of women is wrong. It makes us feel uncomfortable and scared. Isn’t that wrong?
Teaching your daughters not to “get raped” insinuates you are not only accepting sexual assault against women, but that if it happened, the fault will be hers. In that dialogue, there is no mention of the perpetrator. It suggests a ‘boys will be boys’ mentality, and a woman just got in the way of that. It suggests that you will shrug your shoulders and say ‘it happens.’ Why does it happen? What kind of behaviour are you teaching your son that can excuse him harming or violating another human being? What part of any of that is okay?
Teach your son that treating a woman with respect will not make him a hero, it will make him a decent human being. Teach him that treating a woman with disrespect, making her feel uncomfortable and violated is not only heinously unacceptable, but that his actions will have consequences.
You can teach your daughters to be brave and to have no fear all you want, but until you teach your sons not to give us a reason to be afraid, the fear will never leave us and there will be no change.