Brock Turner, the Stanford student who has been found guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault, is a news story all parents read with revulsion. It is one of many stories of sexual assaults taking place on college campuses and that fuel fear in parents sending their children off to college. The most important part of this story is the victim’s heart wrenching accounting of what happened that night between her and Brock Turner.
Please read this victim’s statement out loud at your dinner table with your teens. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/06/08/us/stanford-rape-victim-statement.html Sections of her statement will make it hard for you to finish your dinner. That is the point. Lecturing about self-respect, and respect for women in theory is great, but hearing first hand from the victim is much more powerful.
Here is a parent checklist for keeping your teens sexually safe
- · Do your young boys have access to porn on their smartphones? Have you blocked adult porn sites from their phones? Do you even know how to do it? Find out!!! The latest research is showing that when boys, even young boys have easy access to misogynistic porn, that their brain literally changes and makes connections about women and sex. If you have a steady diet of watching women being sexually humiliated and assaulted by men, you might begin to see that as sexually normal behavior instead of sexually deviant behavior. Lecturing about respect for women will fall on deaf ears when those sexual hormones are in play. Whatever part of the brain that lecture is buried, is not in activation when booze, testosterone, and images of anal sex are in play.
- · How is respect for women modeled in your home? I'll just leave that statement on the table for you to ponder. But remember that how relationships are modeled in your home, is the model your kids take out into the world as they experiment with relationships.
- · Do you lecture or educate? Lecturing is talking at someone. Educating is engaging in shared discussion, and the sharing of information. Find as much information as you can, about sexual assault, real stories like this one. Discuss them, debate them, strategize, and problem solve around them.
- · Teach them what consensual sex really means. It does not mean having sex with someone so compromised by alcohol that they don't even know what is going on. The absence of consent is not consent. Teach them!!
- · Do you teach your athletes about proper use of power? Teach them that having a skill set that includes aggression and power on the ice, on the field, or in the water, does not give them the right to use it in any other situation, and should be left on the field and on the ice.
- · Talk about alcohol and drugs, over and over again, consistently, every time they leave the house. Talk and teach them the danger of binge drinking. Teach them about blood alcohol levels, and how many drinks it takes to go over the legal limit when impairment occurs. Not many!! This is about boys deciding that a drunk girl dancing sexy means "she wants it" and then "giving it to her." Teach your boys, that this is not consent. This is someone compromised by alcohol. Teach your girls that getting drunk means leaving their power at the door. Help them to strategize with their friends to keep each other safe, even when it seems like their friend doesn't want help. That is when they need the most help!!