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How do you solve a problem?  Look at the root causes and address them.  Laurie Halse Anderson writes in Time:

 

“How do we reduce the horrifying amount of sexual violence in this country?

We talk to our boys. Parents, family members, educators, clergy and other leaders have the opportunity and responsibility to model and teach consent from the time kids are old enough to walk: “You don’t touch anyone without their permission.” Families and schools should regularly share facts about bodies and sex appropriate to the developmental age of the child. Cultural leaders — writers, musicians, film producers, artists, advertisers, professional athletes, actors and social media influencers — have the power to accurately portray how sexual assault happens, providing information that will save lives.

I know it’s hard, but if we don’t figure out how to have tough conversations, we will sacrifice another generation of victims. It is time to not just inspire those who have been hurt to tell their stories — but to find our own courage to have open conversations about these complex subjects.

We need to teach our boys about healthy sexuality. We need to be crystal-clear about the laws and moral code surrounding consent. Our children must be aware that not only is there a federal definition of consent, but that states have their own, additional definitions. This is particularly significant for people younger than 18. “Close-in-age exemptions,” which permit some types of sexual contact between consenting minors, vary widely. RAINN has a State Law Database, to help you sort out the details.

We need to ask our boys questions so that we understand what they think they know about sex and intimacy. Sharing books, movies and TV shows are a great way to open these conversations. Discussing the choices made by fictional characters paves the way for more personal conversations.

We need to tell our own stories to make sure our boys understand that these things happen to people they know and love. We need to give them the tools required to navigate relationships in a positive way.

Our boys deserve information and guidance. The only way they’ll get it is if we speak up.”

“It was a game that everyone but me seemed to love. I was a girl who mostly hung around boys because I hadn’t yet learned that female friendships, though infinitely more confusing, were also infinitely more rewarding. I was the self-professed type who loudly preferred spending time with men over spending time with women because they were less dramatic and complicated. And so I surrounded myself with boys who found it funny to grab my body when I least expected it, and were spurred by my discomfort to push me further and more painfully.

The game ended the night that Tom*, the one who always grabbed me, did it to me again while we were walking up a flight of stairs. Familiarly, everyone laughed and I tried to join them, desperate to appear easygoing and in on the joke despite being the literal and figurative butt of it. But suddenly, the effort of it all—the smiling, nervous chuckling, and eye rolls that I had allowed myself over the past several months—sickened me. It felt like I was choking on my own vomit of anger and humiliation. To save myself, I’d have to spew my own bile. And so I turned and punched Tom directly in the groin.

The satisfaction of the moment blazed and died quickly. He collapsed to the ground, gripping himself, hissing, “You are a fucking bitch. You are a fucking bitch,” over and over again. I laughed an awkward bark of a laugh, but no one joined in this time. No one said anything at all until minutes later when we were walking—them in a pack, and me trailing behind—to our local video store. Michael, my best male friend, hung back to keep me company.

“I get that you’re mad and don’t like it when Tom grabs you like that,” he said and I exhaled a sigh of gratitude. “But what you did…” I sucked my breath in again, “…You just don’t do that to a guy. Ever.”

It’s a small relief that I didn’t feel ashamed of myself. Instead I felt disappointed in Michael, in Tom, in every other boy that now, on our walk, avoided me because I had crossed a line and hit back.”

Rapeculturerealities

   Have you ever kept on ‘horsing around’ after someone said “no” or displayed signs of discomfort.  Well, stop it.  Don’t be like Tom, he’s a boundary ignoring asshole.

school   “I don’t want to see penis when I go to the washroom; he just stands there with the stall open and it makes me uncomfortable.“.

That was the quotable bit from a conversation I had with a female student I happened to be teaching at an elementary school this week.  We were walking in from recess and Jaina brought this to my attention.  I couldn’t detect any hate or malice in her statement, as she had just been playing convivially with Dakota (Male to Trans) minutes before.  I told her that she had every right to feel uncomfortable as the situation she described was not appropriate in terms of what was happening in the bathroom…   Jaina was surprised that a teacher agreed with her and her feelings of discomfort.  I was going to suggest that she remind Dakota to shut the door but the conversation ended as we entered the school.

I hope that by listening to Jaina and supporting her statement she will talk with her teacher and her Dakota to sort that issue out.

The conversation caught me by surprise (as with most occurrences while teaching behaviour classes) and in the moment I had to negotiate between the child’s feelings and the official school board policy on gender and washrooms.

Review of the policy in question came down to these points –

Indicators of this best practice in action (pg.9)

• Students are able to access washrooms that are congruent with their gender identity.

• A student who objects to sharing a washroom or change-room with a student who is trans or gender-diverse is offered an alternative facility (this scenario also applies when a parent or other caregiver objects to shared washroom or change-room facilities on behalf of their child).

I certainly hope that Jaina’s concerns are heard and action is taken as traditionally the concerns of girls, and females in general, are all to often thrown under the bus.

 

The lived experiences of women are fundamentally different than men.  Go to This Ain’t Livin’ blog for the full post.

“This is the society we live in: it’s difficult for women and people socialised as women to assert their boundaries because they were trained to have no boundaries, and consequently, have to build them up as adults. It’s hard for us to scream in people’s faces, or say ‘no,’ and we have to learn this — which is why some self-defense classes have entire programs dedicated to getting participants to scream, to yell, to shout for help. To get them used to coming at a man wearing heavy gear, pounding at him with all they’ve got, saying ‘NO!

And the consequence of learning boundaries and creating a safer world for ourselves is that we’re punished for it. We’re oversensitive, we’re bitches, we’re cunts, we’re being ridiculous. This is a society that takes our boundaries away at birth on the basis of the genitals we’re dealt, and then registers deep offense when we seize them back.”

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