They are so cute and fun to accessorize. Their hair in bows, pony tails, and headbands bigger than their little faces with matching dresses. Little girls–our precious little baby dolls come to life. They embody innocence and the beauty of life. Their giggles light up rooms. Their smiles turn frowns upside down. Their hugs cure.
But raising them in today’s world is a scary thing. Our little girls are growing up so fast. From them emulating grown women in their clothing to their behaviors, keeping little girls little seems like it’s damn near impossible. Especially since both society and the law has deemed their lives not as important as that of a boy’s life.
The Worst Thing In Life Is Not Death, It’s Living Through Tragedy
And then making it through that tragedy only to be told that your pain is not really bad enough for someone to be punished appropriately for causing it. I’ve known for some time that we live in a rapist society. A society where the questions of “What were you wearing?” are asked more frequently than “What made you think it was ok to force yourself on her?” As a mother of 2 little girls who’s a survivor of sexual assault, my fear for them is not that they’re lives are taken but that their choices are.
The Brock Turner’s of The World Make Raising Little Girls Scary
This man raped and sodomized another person and then got off with 6 months because he wanted to go to the Olympics as a swimmer. The judge thought his dreams shouldn’t be deferred so he let him off with a tap on the wrist and a “Don’t do it again” with a sly smile. His parents had his back. The woman’s life was left in shambles. And there are people still supporting this. This is so problematic on so many levels:
- How is it that a convicted rapist is thought to be a good representation for our country in the Olympics? Is this what America stands for? I mean, we’re already a joke to other countries but this? Thankfully the he’s no longer allowed to qualify for the Olympics but the fact that the judge didn’t want to kill his dreams–the dreams of a rapist–is so confusing to me.
His parents need to do better in this parenting thing. I try not to judge because we don’t know the story and we don’t know how we would handle certain situations but if my child was convicted in violating a person in the most intimate way, as a mother and parent I would be so ashamed of the job I did as a parent. There would be no public statement of support outside of “Pray for this child of mine.”
The woman who was raped read a letter that is so hard to stomach because of the emotion and the rawness of it AND THIS MAN IS STILL GETTING OFF! The judge has basically said that her life doesn’t matter. Never mind the fact that he stuck a branch inside her may sterilize her or make it difficult for her to start a family physically, mentally and emotionally. She doesn’t matter. But she does. People love her and her health and well-being DO matter.
I Want To Keep My Girls Safe
How do you teach a little girl to not be raped? While I don’t think this is something that I should have to teach I can’t help but want to protect my babies in the only way that I know how to. I want to keep them in my house at all times–away from the boys and men that have no values or ethics, away from the law that has said their lives aren’t important, away from the people who want to traffic them. But I can’t. My job as a parent isn’t to coddle them, it’s to prepare and teach them how to protect themselves in this beautifully dangerous world.
Again, I don’t think I should have to teach them how not to be violated–rather parents of boys should be teaching not to touch things that aren’t theirs, no means no, and not to violate another person’s body (hell, everyone should honestly)–but here are some of the things I will be helping them learn:
-Buddy System: I remember in camp we always had a buddy and we did the buddy checks to make sure everyone was accounted for. This is a concept that both my girls will learn and keep when out. We’re starting this now already.
-Don’t Leave My Side: Atlanta is a hub for sex-trafficking and both my girls are the prime age for abductions. Mini has a habit of running off but I’ve had to be honest about what could happen to her. She now knows not to leave my side.
-Honesty: Somethings they’re too young to know the entire truth about but I don’t lie to my girls about what could happen to them.
-Self-Defense: Mini started taking karate last year and picked up some really great tactics. And her mom is crazy so naturally we’ve gone over the areas to hit first, scream and run.
-Know Your Surroundings: Kids are always looking around for what they can get into but I’m teaching them to observe their surroundings. Who is there? Is someone looking at you funny? Do you know where the exits are? Who looks like they would be able to help you?
-Consistent Reminders: We talk about the good vs bad touches, who is allowed to touch private areas and how to handle it if someone does. This is a conversation that we have weekly at random times.
While I can’t stop rapists from raping, I can make sure my girls aren’t sitting ducks for someone to take advantage with some common safety tips. I can’t keep them in a glass house and watch over them for forever but I will protect them as best as I can.