To the Parents of U.S. Teenagers,
(An open letter.)
Remember that intimate conversation you had with your son? The one where you said, “I love you and I need you to know that no matter how a woman dresses or acts, it is not an invitation to cat call, taunt, harass or assault her”?
Or when you told your son, “A woman’s virginity isn’t a prize and sleeping with a woman doesn’t earn you a point”?
How about the heart-to-heart where you lovingly conferred the legal knowledge that “a woman doesn’t have to be fighting you and you don’t have to be pinning her down for it to be RAPE. Intoxication means she can’t legally consent, NOT that she’s an easy score.”
Or maybe you recall sharing my personal favorite, “Your sexual experiences don’t dictate your worth just like a woman’s sexual experiences don’t dictate hers.”
Last but not least, do you remember calling your son out when you discovered he was using the word “slut” liberally? Or when you overheard him talking about some girl from school as if she were more of a conquest than a person?
I want you to consider these conversations and then ask yourself why you don’t remember them. The likely reason is because you didn’t have them. In fact, most parents haven’t had them.
By contrast, here are some conversations you might have a better recollection of. I’ll give you a telling hint: they probably weren’t with your son.
“Be careful with the way you act and the way you dress — it’s easy to get a bad reputation.”
“That’s just the way boys are — you can’t give them any excuse to behave that way towards you.”
“You need to be safe! When you dress that way, some people read it as an invitation.”
“Never go out alone, never walk alone at night, never drink from an open beverage.”
These are conversations often had by loving parents like you. They come from a place of care, they come from a place of concern but most notably they come from a place of upside-down, cultural indoctrination that is hurting, stifling and punishing young women.
The cultural indoctrination that I’m speaking of goes something like this: It is a young woman’s responsibility to safeguard herself from rape, assault, harassment, stalking and abuse because boys will be boys and some of them just can’t help themselves.
Read more: HuffingtonPost.com