We have all heard the warnings directed to women in order to avoid rape.
- Avoid Hazardous Situations (No parties, No public transport, etc.)
- Stay in well-lighted areas (There was an actual law in Texas prohibiting women from working at night, There was a law in Michigan stating that it was immoral for women to be bartenders unless they are the wife or daughter of the bar owner.)
- Avoid doorways, bushes, alleys (only men should be free to walk the world)
- Don’t get in an elevator with the opposite sex or use the stairwell. (avoid going to upper floors altogether.)
- Always travel accompanied (Chaperones, really?)
- Never go to the laundry room or garage alone (so forget clean clothes or driving)
- Carry a rape whistle (but call fire, otherwise people won’t help)
- Drive with your doors locked
- Avoid Alcohol and Drugs (ever, under any circumstances)
- Don’t have long hair or put your hair in a ponytail
- Don’t go to college (or get a higher education)
Let’s be the generation of parents who will teach their sons to act respectfully instead of only teaching our daughters to beware. As a mother and step-mother of both boys and girls, I strongly believe in this. Too much of our energy is spent teaching our daughters how to avoid danger and not enough time to teach our sons to act respectfully, to step up when they see someone acting disrespectfully.
Growing up I was never allowed to attend a party with boys, but my brother could go to parties with girls, he even had a mixed sleepover at home. The one time I had two boys over with my best friend present during the day time, my dad stood in the doorway watching us and listening to our conversation the whole time. Having two sets of rules isn’t solving anything.
We need to teach both girls and boys to ask for consent. They need to understand that it’s important to ask for permission before touching someone. We need to teach them that consent can be given and taken away anytime. We need to teach our boys and girls the importance of ‘no’. We need to teach them that this isn’t a game and to speak up for themselves honestly.