A Warning to Parents--Be Careful How Your Children Hear You Discussing the Kavanaugh Situation

Over the past couple of days, I have been horrified at the comments I have seen and heard through social media and news outlets as well as comments from people I know.  Regardless of who is telling the truth in this situation between Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, let’s make sure that we are not sending the wrong message to our children because, if we’re not careful, we can literally silence our own children if they ever find themselves a victim of sexual assault.

For starters, may I suggest that if you have never personally experienced a sexual assault, then please know that you really do not know what you are talking about.  Secondly, it is absolutely 100% irrelevant whether or not penetration happened, or what actual sex act occurred.  IT DOES NOT MATTER!!!    It does not matter whether someone only violated someone with their hands, with their mouth or any part of their body or even another object.  When someone is touched, groped, exposed, penetrated or any other sexual act, it is still a sexual assault.  Yes, I realize that there are different levels of violence and abuse and of course some victims experience horrific violations, however, please know that no one can rate the level of harm someone experiences from their sexual assault.  It’s not something that can be measured.  It’s not something that can be compared.

I have literally heard sexual assault survivors demean Dr. Ford’s experience because it wasn’t as “bad” as their's or because Dr. Ford does not have a memory of everything as perhaps another sexual assault survivor has.  I cannot even fathom anyone who has been through any type of sexual assault ever reducing the pain or the believability of another sexual assault survivor because their experiences were different.

I have heard parents talk about Dr. Ford putting herself in a compromising position.  I have seen people post, once again, pictures of girls dressed seductively, with the caption that if you don’t want it, don’t advertise it.  Are you kidding me?  Let me explain to you what children and women and even men hear when you say and post such things.  Let me explain the dangerous, dangerous message that we send to our children when they hear us discussing such explanations for a sexual assault.

  1. When you talk about what people were wearing before they were assaulted, your children hear you saying:  Are you sure it’s not your fault?  Yes, the perpetrator(s) should not have done what they did, but perhaps if you were dressed differently, you would not have appeared that you wanted to be assaulted against your will.  Your dress sends a message that you are wanting to be held down, against your will and that even if you say “No,” you don’t mean “No” because like I said, you were dressed in a way that announced, “You really wanted it.  So in the end, this is really your fault.
  2. When you talk about that Dr. Ford should not have been at a party with boys who were drinking beer when she was only 15, your children hear you saying:  When you are somewhere that you shouldn’t be, you can’t be upset when someone decides to take advantage of you and molest you, even if you didn’t want it.  Yes, sexual assault is wrong but what did you expect when you go where teenagers are drinking beer?  Haven’t I always told you not to be where there’s alcohol.  This is really your fault.
  3. When you talk about that if Dr. Ford was telling the truth, she would be able to remember where she was, how she got home, etc. then your children and other sexual assault victims hear you saying:  The only way I’m going to believe you about your assault is if you can tell me every detail.  I need to know the time, the place, who else was there, describe the room, describe the house, etc.  If you don’t remember these details, then you must be making this up because who would forget these details if a traumatic event had happened?

Parents, these kind of remarks are so dangerous because God forbid your child end up the victim of sexual assault. You are contributing to their silence.  And, this is a crime that when suffered in silence, the pain can rob you of joy, of healthy relationships, of peace.  When suffered in silence, it can lead to depression, anxiety, suicide and other mental health challenges.  What do our children need to hear us say? 

"Honey, if you ever find yourself a victim of a sexual assault, I don’t care what you were doing, where you were, what you were wearing, who you were with that you weren’t supposed to be with, what was going on there regardless of how legal or appropriate, what rules you were violating or even if you made the stupidest decision of your life, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT AND YOU CAN TELL ME.  I WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE YOU!"

Now parents, of course we’re going to teach our children I hope to dress in a way that shows respect for themselves and others, but not for the reason of not being raped, but for the purpose of self respect.

Of course, we’re going to teach our children to avoid situations that could put them in harms way to the best of their ability because this will contribute to their safety and happiness.

Of course we’re going to teach them the dangers of underage drinking, drug use, going to parties where alcohol is being served, etc. etc.  But I got news for you, your children are NOT always going to make good choices.  They are going to screw up.  They are going to make stupid stupid choices sometimes because they are children.  If they feel like if they make a stupid decision and something happens to them, that they can’t tell you because they will get in trouble because of where they were or what they were doing, then guess what, they will not tell you. If they feel like they won’t be believed because the person was a trusted family friend or a relative or someone that their family loved or perhaps they don’t remember the details then they will not tell you.   

If they are afraid that they will be judged because they didn’t scream or they didn’t run or they didn’t tell anyone for a long time, then they will not tell you.  Parents you have to ask yourself, if your child was assaulted, would you want to know?  Would you want to walk the path of healing with your child? Would you want to get them professional help if needed?  Would you want your child to believe that they can move forward from this type of pain and find happiness again?  If you want to be a part of that, then they have to tell you.  What are you telling them today, to make sure that they know you are a safe person to tell?

Please stop with your judgements. Please stop saying what sounds reasonable or unreasonable to you what a victim would or would not do or know.  Even if you have been through it yourself, your experience is not their experience.  Please just listen and learn and have compassion on one another.

Business Etiquette 101— A Professional Seeks to Make Things Right Immediately

We all make mistakes.  Quite often it seems.  A professional however, is quick to acknowledge their mistakes and tries to make things right, as quickly as possible.  This behavior requires courage, humility and a commitment to ethical practices.

I think we’ve all experienced working with those who have an endless supply of excuses and a fervent determination to avoid responsibility.  I hope this is not us.  It really is a matter of integrity.  Someone with integrity is honest in all things and that means that they are also honest with themselves and others regarding their performance or lack thereof.

I’m not suggesting that we go around announcing to the world each day all of our failures or weaknesses.  No, not at all.  But what I am suggesting is that we take responsibility for our own actions without blame, without deterrents and without a desire to deceive in any way.

Let’s say that I was responsible for getting a financial report to my boss for a large project coming up and it was due by today at 5:00pm.  I “dropped the ball” on a few things and the report is not ready by 5:00.  Some people, who lack professionalism might:
  • avoid their boss for the remainder of the day so they are not confronted with the missing report.
  • blame the delay on information that has not been received from others that is necessary for the report (knowing that it was their fault because they didn’t ask the other people for the information until yesterday).
  • blame the delay on untrue circumstances like illness, family emergencies, etc.
I think you get the point.

While, someone with integrity might  say to their boss, 
  • “I know you’re going to be disappointed in me, but it looks like I did not plan well and have let this deadline slip up on me without the report being completed.”
  • “I am not going to be able to have the report to you by 5 which I am extremely sorry for, but will have it to you by 5 tomorrow.  I have had to reanalyze my production schedule and have made some changes so that I can keep my commitments to you in the future.  I hope you will give me another chance.  I’m really sorry.”
I think you get the point.

Being honest and ethical does not guarantee job security.  But it does guarantee a clear conscious, honor and self respect.  May each of us acknowledge quickly our mistakes and then recommit to improvement.

Business Etiquette 101--A Professional Does Not Make Unofficial Complaints

Let me ask you a question, “Do you enjoy working with or spending time with those that habitually complain?”  I already know your answer.  Have you ever noticed that when people start complaining, they typically do not start my asking, “Hey do you all mind if I just unload my life right now onto you, so you can carry some of it too?”  But, they should!  That’s what’s happening right?

A professional does not complain, ever.  Now before we get all knotted up inside, let me add…a professional never makes unofficial complaints.  An unofficial complaint is simply complaining with no purpose other than to “let off steam,” build our own support for our anger or to tear down the ones we are complaining about.  On the other hand, an official complaint is when we are unhappy or unsatisfied with the functioning of a team, project, policy etc, yet we have a solution of how to make it better.  If we have a solution for improvement, then we have an official complaint.

We handle official complaints by taking them to our superior and asking permission to share our idea.  If our superior does not respond in a way that is satisfactory to us, then we must decide whether or not to take our official complaint to the next person in the chain of command.  We can do this, once we have informed our superior that we are doing so.

A professional knows the difference in official and unofficial complaints.  A profession remembers that everyone has a right to come to work and just work, focusing on the job at hand.  Yes, of course we all have personal and professional stressors that we need to discuss with others at times, but we should be extremely careful about how and who we relay these frustrations.  Work is not the place to unload unofficial complaints about the job, our spouse, our co-workers, the weather, etc.  

Let’s make sure that you and I are contributors to the positive energy in our place of work and let’s make sure that we do not distract from the job at hand.  Have a great month.

For information regarding Business Etiquette Training for your staff, please email Monica at: monica@TheEtiquetteFactory.com