Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Please educate your little boys (and girls) for the better today

I went along with it. At first I said no, but he convinced me otherwise. He said it was a game she'd want to play, that she would think it was fun. That girls liked to play these games.

I was six. He was seven or eight, a neighborhood kid, a friend of sorts, one who led and I was a follower. She was only four and still in diapers, or some early iteration of pull-ups (the year was 1971).

I felt uncomfortable. It was late August making everything hot and sweaty. I knew it was wrong, but I remember not knowing what to do about it other than go along.

We didn't touch her or hurt her. The other boy, my sort-of friend, told her to pull her diaper down. She looked scared. I looked away. She pulled it down, he laughed and I stared.

My mom had watched the whole thing from our dining room window and immediately came outside, made us apologize to the little girl. My friend fled, the girl ran away crying (I don't remember if she talked with the parents of the girl or not, but nothing ever came of it).

She then took me inside and began to explain to me the differences between boys and girls, what a vagina was and what a penis was and why it was so wrong to do what we did. And why when I was older, I needed to respect women and never force anything upon them, never hurt them or belittle them in any way.

This coming from a woman who experience years and years of physical and emotional abuse, of which I had witnessed, who desperately wanted to instill in her son the self-awareness of knowing the difference between mutually respectful personal responsibility and the utter human failure of perpetrating intimate partner violence and blaming the victims of abuse.

Young men and boys need this education today more than ever. According to a recent article I read in Ebony online titled Stop Telling Women How to Not Get Raped:

"Telling women that they can behave in a certain way to avoid rape creates a false sense of security and it isn’t the most effective way to lower the horrible statistics which show that 1 in 5 women will become victims of a completed or attempted rape in their lifetime.  The numbers for African American women are even higher at nearly 1 in 4."

For those of us who have little girls, please educate your little boys (and girls) for the better today.

Because we grow up and innocence is so fragile and fleeting.

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  1. Kevin, this is such good advice. As a mom of 8 year old son and 8 year old daughter, we've had the luxury of always teaching them to respect that they are different and that as they have grown older, they need to respect each other's privacy. What you watched as a youngster is probably considered "normal" curiosity and it's wonderful that your mom used that as an educational moment that clearly had impact. I always tell my daughter that her body is HERS ALONE and that no one has a right to see it if she doesn't want them to. You're right, it's so important to tell our kids so they don't grow up trying to violate someone. Thanks for such a heart felt post.

  2. Thank you, Trish. It really did make a difference for me as a little boy.