Google+ Followers

Google+ Followers

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.

No comments: