I picked up a book at the library last week. It wasn’t the light summer reading I was hoping for, but I couldn’t put it back.
We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out.
It was written by Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino.
I rarely not finish a book once I’m hooked. But this isn’t the kind of book one finishes in a day.
It’s Monday, and I’m still reading. I keep taking deep breaths, keep looking away.
That sexual assault happens in campuses all over America is horrific.
I have tried to stop reading several times, but doing so almost makes me feel like I’m turning a deaf ear to these young women who bravely told their stories.
So I can’t stop.
I believe them.
They deserve an audience.
That these victims were brushed off, patronized or silenced by the authorities that should have championed them is unbelievable.
I have two sons, and the oldest will go off to college in a few years. From today until the day he leaves [and even after] both boys with hear me repeat this, over and over:
No means NO, and anything you do or say after a girl says that word is a violation of her person.
Even if it’s just an arm on her shoulder.
On the other hand, I used to think life would be easier because I have sons. I am no longer that naive.
I have heard stories about how some boys have been framed. I have heard stories about how some girls have made false accusations. Mostly because a boy refused a girl’s advances or because a girl just wanted to make trouble.
Yes, some girls who get rejected have claws.
Yes, boys can be victims too.
So my boys will hear me repeat this too: anything they say or do can be spun into something else, and turned into ammunition a person of malice can use against them, so they need to behave in a manner that leaves no chances of this happening.
For example, the basic old world courtesy of walking a girl to her room can be so easily misinterpreted. And a woman scorned is a scary thing.
I remember how the hubby and I feared the day we’d have to have the “birds and the bees” talk with our sons.
We kind of cheated our way out of it by buying them [highly recommended] books to read and then later asking them if they had any questions. As expected, there were none.
But—we’ve sort of redeemed ourselves. There have been many discussions as the boys have gotten older. The hubby has always been honest. I have always blushed brick red.
But this is a different kind of sex talk. It’s on a whole different level, and it’s scarier up there.
My boys grew up in church.
And I know many church people do not talk about sex with their children.
Many send their kids off to a True Love Waits seminar [or the like] and then hope for the best.
I am a volunteer counselor at a crisis pregnancy center.
I have met many girls who grew up in church, and yet are suddenly facing unplanned pregnancies.
And our kids will make some wrong choices.
Just like their parents did.
So we are going to keep talking about sex, and all that comes with it. It’s not the main topic in our home. [We do laugh a lot.] But it’s an important one.
I have sons.
They will be men who will respect other men.
They will be feminists.
They will also be smart enough to keep themselves safe.
Because some women have talons, just as some men have fangs.
Both can leave lasting damage when they dig into the human flesh.
Will they listen? I do not know.
The youth think they’re invincible.
I know I did.
I feel helpless sometimes.
I sink down to my knees during those times.
Being a parent is so hard.
God bless all the mothers and fathers out there today.
And God give the warriors for justice strength and an extra helping of grace.