Rape Prevention Education

I’m a mother of three. My two littles are a ways off from this discussion.  I’ve never had a rape prevention discussion with my fifteen year old.  Part of the reason I never felt the need to have a rape prevention discussion with my fifteen year old is because he’s a boy.  I don’t have to educate him on the dangers of drunken boys.

Rape Prevention Education (Motherhood Looms)

Image courtesy of kenfotos / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

I don’t have to teach rape prevention to my son.  At least, not for his protection.

I never thought I’d have to discuss rape prevention at all.  For all of my son’s faults, he’s a good boyfriend to his girlfriend of two and a half years.  He treats girls with respect.  He spent enough time being dragged through the mall with me to be the perfect shopping companion: he willingly carries shopping bags and will sort through racks to help his female companion find clothes.  He gives opinions.  He treats his girlfriend like a princess.

It’s not enough.

It’s clearly not enough that we try to teach our sons to treat women with respect.  If it were, we just might not have had the Steubenville, Ohio rape trial.  A classmate saw his fellow football teammates raping an unconscious girl, but because it “wasn’t violent” he didn’t think anything of it.

Okay, great.  He and his buddies realize that it’s rape if she’s pinned and screaming.  Apparently, no one bothered to make sure that they understand that if she cannot consent, it is still rape.  If she’s passed out and can’t say “no,” it’s rape.  If she’s so under the influence that she can’t say “no,” it’s rape.

Rape prevention education goes beyond that.  Not only do we need to teach our sons “don’t rape,” but we need to teach our sons “don’t let your friends rape.”  If your friend is taking advantage of an unconscious or severely inebriated girl, don’t just walk away (or worse, video it).  Stop your friend from doing it in the first place.  And then, once everyone is sober, your son needs to have a rape prevention education chat with the would-be attacker.  Discuss why it is not remotely okay, and then think about if this cretin is someone you even want to be friends with.  (Let’s hope that we’ve raised our sons right: if the “friend” still thinks it’s okay, then it’s time to find new friends that don’t think it’s okay to rape.)

While, yes, we have a responsibility to teach our daughters to be vigilant (which sucks), we also have a responsibility to teach our sons not to rape.  We have a responsibility to teach our sons not to let their friends rape.  Even better, if our sons come across a girl who is in a state like that poor Ohio girl was in, they need to have the sense to realize that she is not in any shape to be around boys less honorable than he.  Our boys need to have the moral fortitude to call someone to take care of her.  Call her family.  Call a cab to send her home.  Call his own folks.  Call someone for help.  Don’t just leave her at the mercy of so-called friends, and don’t let these friends hurt her.  Rape prevention means preventing other boys from raping that girl, too.

This is a conversation I’ll be having with my teenaged son tonight.  I’m not remotely concerned that he’d be the one to take advantage of the situation and rape a girl.  But I have the responsibility as a parent to make sure that he knows that he needs to make sure no one else does, either.

Have you had conversations with your sons and daughters about sexual assault?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. You sound like a fantastic mom! And you’re right, it DOES suck. I think “rape prevention” education needs to happen all around, as you said. We can’t just teach the girls to prevent it for themselves. And we can’t leave them out of the loop and only teach the boys NOT to rape. We need to be comprehensive in our community child-rearing.

  2. You sound like a fantastic mom! And you’re right, it DOES suck. I think “rape prevention” education needs to happen all around, as you said. We can’t just teach the girls to prevent it for themselves. And we can’t leave them out of the loop and only teach the boys NOT to rape. We need to be comprehensive in our community child-rearing.

  3. A Very hard topic. You touched on it well. I never thought of having that conversation with my boys. Good food for thought! Thank you

  4. A Very hard topic. You touched on it well. I never thought of having that conversation with my boys. Good food for thought! Thank you

  5. Wow…..LOVE THIS. I’m a mom to 3 boys, and I have this sort of talk with my BFF all the time: teach boys how to treat women. And you took it to a whole ‘notha level by pointing out that you must teach your friends to not let THEIR friend’s disrespect women. This is so important, and something that I have made a committment to myself to do. My boys are young now, ages 6, 3 and 16 months. We all play tickle fighting games. I realized the other day that training them starts now, that if I say, “NO, I don’t feel like tickling right now” it means “NO.” Once they can understand that when someone says NO, don’t do THAT to me (right now, or ever), they will hopefully learn that important rule across many areas of their life, if that makes sense?
    Thanks for bringing life to parents of SONS!

    Serena
    Thrift Diving

  6. Wow…..LOVE THIS. I’m a mom to 3 boys, and I have this sort of talk with my BFF all the time: teach boys how to treat women. And you took it to a whole ‘notha level by pointing out that you must teach your friends to not let THEIR friend’s disrespect women. This is so important, and something that I have made a committment to myself to do. My boys are young now, ages 6, 3 and 16 months. We all play tickle fighting games. I realized the other day that training them starts now, that if I say, “NO, I don’t feel like tickling right now” it means “NO.” Once they can understand that when someone says NO, don’t do THAT to me (right now, or ever), they will hopefully learn that important rule across many areas of their life, if that makes sense?
    Thanks for bringing life to parents of SONS!

    Serena
    Thrift Diving

  7. I am so glad to see you writing about this. What an important subject. I will be having the conversation with my son when the time comes. If more parents had this conversion with their sons then maybe more rapes would be prevented.

  8. I am so glad to see you writing about this. What an important subject. I will be having the conversation with my son when the time comes. If more parents had this conversion with their sons then maybe more rapes would be prevented.

  9. Yes, boys do need rape prevention training. Not only because men rape women but men also rape other men. Non consent is non consent regardless of gender, age, or any other status.

  10. Yes, boys do need rape prevention training. Not only because men rape women but men also rape other men. Non consent is non consent regardless of gender, age, or any other status.

  11. While I fully, whole heartedly agree with everything you said, I also think it’s important to teach our sons about them being raped and/or taken advantage of. I work with sex offenders and there are males and females that take advantage of young men and boys – I think it’s just important for both girls and boys to be taught all aspects of rape prevention.

    • You’re absolutely right. We had discussions about avoiding predators when he was younger, but no discussions about a responsibility to protect others. Now that he’s becoming a man, the responsibility to protect is important.

  12. While I fully, whole heartedly agree with everything you said, I also think it’s important to teach our sons about them being raped and/or taken advantage of. I work with sex offenders and there are males and females that take advantage of young men and boys – I think it’s just important for both girls and boys to be taught all aspects of rape prevention.

    • You’re absolutely right. We had discussions about avoiding predators when he was younger, but no discussions about a responsibility to protect others. Now that he’s becoming a man, the responsibility to protect is important.

  13. I have both a boy and a girl, but they’re very young and it’ll be a long way off before I even touch on this subject. It’s so sad though. I never had this conversation with my parents, I was just raised to be a compassionate, caring individual. I hope to teach my children the same.

  14. I have both a boy and a girl, but they’re very young and it’ll be a long way off before I even touch on this subject. It’s so sad though. I never had this conversation with my parents, I was just raised to be a compassionate, caring individual. I hope to teach my children the same.

  15. This is such an important topic esp. considering what’s happening in that small Ohio town. I can’t even imagine how I’ll approach the topic with my boys.

  16. This is such an important topic esp. considering what’s happening in that small Ohio town. I can’t even imagine how I’ll approach the topic with my boys.

  17. “I don’t have to teach rape prevention to my son. At least, not for his protection.”
    To all the people telling you you’re a fantastic mom… I’m calling BS. Boys can be and are raped. Have you ever heard of the Catholic Church? Have you ever heard of RAINN? Before you had this ‘chat’ with your son, perhaps you should have gotten a few facts.

    • I’m not saying that boys are never raped. (Please, show me where I said that. Oh, wait, you can’t, because I didn’t.) In fact, we’ve had talks about predators all of his life. Thanks so much for making assumptions. Also, my son is 15, nearly 16. He’s past the age of typical molestation, etc. You did read that part, right?

  18. “I don’t have to teach rape prevention to my son. At least, not for his protection.”
    To all the people telling you you’re a fantastic mom… I’m calling BS. Boys can be and are raped. Have you ever heard of the Catholic Church? Have you ever heard of RAINN? Before you had this ‘chat’ with your son, perhaps you should have gotten a few facts.

    • I’m not saying that boys are never raped. (Please, show me where I said that. Oh, wait, you can’t, because I didn’t.) In fact, we’ve had talks about predators all of his life. Thanks so much for making assumptions. Also, my son is 15, nearly 16. He’s past the age of typical molestation, etc. You did read that part, right?

  19. Y’all are right on. Let me add one more view. Why in the world do parents allow their children to drink? This entire mess could have been avoided if the teens had been sober. After the horse was out of the barn, we’re running around trying to pick up the pieces and find blame. Let’s take a step back. This all started because of the alcohol. No alcohol=no rape.
    Girls. Protect yourselves. Don’t drink and don’t hang around guys who do.

  20. Y’all are right on. Let me add one more view. Why in the world do parents allow their children to drink? This entire mess could have been avoided if the teens had been sober. After the horse was out of the barn, we’re running around trying to pick up the pieces and find blame. Let’s take a step back. This all started because of the alcohol. No alcohol=no rape.
    Girls. Protect yourselves. Don’t drink and don’t hang around guys who do.

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