Note: I know there are victims of both genders, and I’m not discounting that. This article was written based on the more common situations that occur. Also, I was told this should have a trigger warning, so continue with that in mind. I promise to go back to writing about something lighter next time like vomit and screaming four year olds…
As a dad, there are a lot of lessons I look forward to teaching my daughter. Lessons in being kind, lessons in the importance of education, lessons on how to improve the world around us, and many more along life’s path. However, there is one thing I will never teach my daughter. I will not teach my daughter how to avoid being raped.
I cannot teach her this lesson for a simple reason. My daughter cannot avoid being raped, because being raped is not something the victim holds any control over. To teach her that she can avoid being raped, makes a fraction of the responsibility of being raped owned by her. My daughter owns none of this risk. One person is responsible for any rape, the rapist.
Instead, I will warn my daughter. I will warn her of some dangerous situations, and some actions of others to be leary of. I will warn her that some people will take advantage of people unable to defend themselves, and that some people are capable of terrible things. The problem is she cannot stop these people… all she can do is be aware.
For now, I can be aware for her. It’s heartbreaking that I even have to even at her age. However, as my daughter gets older, she has to be aware. I will not be there all the time to protect her. She will have to be aware at every party she goes to. She will have to be aware on long walks home, especially if she is alone. Sometimes she even will even have be aware in the places she will feel most comfortable, and she will have to be aware of people she thinks are friends, but are really looking for opportunities to betray her trust.
So I have a request to the other parents out there. Since I cannot teach my daughter, please teach your son. Teach your son one simple concept. Teach him that my daughter is his equal. She is a person with her own goals, dreams, desires, feelings, likes, and dislikes. Teach him that she doesn’t owe him anything other than a common politeness we should all have for each other. Teach him to be a man that can be counted on if someone needs help. Not a vulture looking to feed off the temporarily helpless. Teach him that women are going to be his friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and in some situations more than that.
Finally, please teach him that “no” means “no” and furthermore the absence of “yes”, is a “no”. That “no” is not a negotiation or a game. That “no” could hurt his feelings, and it could damage his pride. I promise that he will recover. However, that “no” is my daughter’s right. It’s a barrier that she can put up whenever she needs to. Please teach him that barrier is never to be crossed under any circumstances.
Please teach your son, so in the future, some father somewhere won’t have to warn his daughter.