Thoughts after a conversation with a young girl…
Just some thoughts after a conversation with a young girl:
We teach our girls to protect themselves…to not “put themselves in harm’s way,” to be highly aware of their surroundings, not to leave a drink alone, etc. These are good things because they are wise counsel for anyone living in today’s world. A 14 year-old girl and I were having a conversation the other day and she mentioned that she heard about a fingernail polish that if you stuck your finger in your drink and it changed colors, the date rape drug was in it, so you’d know not to drink it. She said that when she started dating she should get it so she could be safe.
Now, I am all for anything that will help protect this girl and others…but it also made me mad. Why are our daughters having to be so on edge…so protective…so wary? Why should a girl be excited that she now has this tool to use to detect a possible exploiter…versus being angry that it even has to exist?
It makes me mad that this danger isn’t just in dark alleys or night clubs or wherever we thought it was limited to before (not that it was acceptable there either). It is everywhere, in part because we have increasingly accepted a society where women are objectified and therefore seen as disposable…so rape increases, sex trafficking increases, the commercial sex industry increases, and women; young and old are the victims of it. But even as I write this, I know this is not a hopeless situation.
Men, you can help change this. You have so much power to help change this. Teach your sons that women are not for sale…ever, even in legal establishments…even when she is seemingly willing to be sold. Teach your sons that no means no and it doesn’t matter how much she drank or how she dressed. Teach them that to be a man means to protect, to respect, and to dignify others. Show them that your “entertainment” dollars don’t go to things where women are sexualized and objectified. Teach them that they can help create a world where drug-detecting fingernail polish won’t have to exist. Teach them the power of their influence in other young men’s lives by speaking up and honoring women in their speech. Men, there are so many of you on this page. I hope you will hear me when I tell you, your words are important. Actions and living by example are even more important. I believe you all can change the world…and make it a place where a 14 year-old is thinking about a thousand other things and protecting herself from rape isn’t one of them.