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“If you talk to your daughter about safety

Talk to your son about consent”

It is very certain that no parent would ever teach their kids about rape culture but it turns out that well-mannered parents even teach their children about rape culture through many subtle ways, unknowingly. Although as parents we usually don’t talk to our children about rape but we do send messages about sex and consent all the time.

Here are six very common ways we’re doing this every day, but we can avoid this.

“Boys will be boys”

We often tell this phrase to our children. Although people don’t usually mean any harm by this phrase but this is used to excuse bad behavior like hitting others or being destructive. However, it teaches them that despite doing something bad the controlling of their rage is not something that they need to learn. Now, when they are old enough the sexual desire kicks in and they often feel that their behavior pertaining to satisfy the same is normal.  In reality, when taught rightly they will learn about respecting space and other’s body.

aggresgive boy

Forcing to hug and kiss others

Many well-meaning and loving parents often tell their kids to hug a friend or a relative without considering that the other person really wants to or not. This leads a very dangerous message that ‘consent is over-ridden’. We can simply teach our children other ways to greet or welcome others by giving a hug or a high-five or just by waving.

forced to kiss

“What did you do to make him hit you?”

Parents with more than one kid usually ask this question to their children whenever they engage in a sibling fight. However, it’s always important to know the whole story. This phrase teaches both the victim and the aggressor that a person can force someone else to make a bad choice. Also, this is very similar to this question – “What were you wearing the night you were raped?” We can avoid this by just asking our children about the whole story of what happened. So that the role of each child can be known before placing any blame. We should also teach our kids that they have their choice whether to use violence or hurt others and nobody can force them into it even by annoying or hurtful words.

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“Boys hit/ tease girls out of likeness”

It is very important our children learn early that hitting or hurting someone to get their attention is never right. The phrase “He only does this because he likes you” should never be told to our children when they are being hurt or teased. It reinforces the idea the love equals to suffering. This is the ultimate practice of rape-culture.

Toddler

Slut shaming another woman

The primary source of learning for a kid is the parent. Our kids are constantly learning from listening to us and figuring out how what we say applies to them. If our kids hear us excusing rape or degrading women for their sexuality or clothing, they will internalize the message and will remember that.They may start to believe that there are circumstances where they are deserved to be raped or assaulted or believe that committing rape or just use this as an excuse that sexually assaulting the victim was right because they seemed to “deserve it.”

slunting women

Purity of a girl

Most of the girls today are taught from an early age that their value lies in their purity – their virginity or modesty. This should not suppose to make any sense in this time at least. Teaching kids that sex is wrong outside marriage or love, can cause them to make less-than-healthy choices. As a teenager, it is very important to understand to identify a feeling as ’love’ when it isn’t when it’s about lust. Lust is perfectly reasonable too. This will help children to be better able to decide whether having sex is right for them.

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Trisha Sengupta

Reader. Observer. Thinker. Writer. Feminist.

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