I read a lovely article in the Huffington Post about teaching our boys kindness, bravery, and about sex and how to protect themselves. I think this article is largely right. But why stop at just educating the boys?
Sure, boys rape girls. Boys rape boys. But, did you know girls rape boys too? Before you roll your eyes, there is no shortage of female teachers who become convicted pedophiles. Rape is a crime of control and of violence; it is not unheard of to hear men and boys as a victim either. As more light is brought to the subject men are reporting crimes that happened as boys and teens. According to the National Institute of Justice more than 800,000 men are sexually assaulted by their partners annually in the US.
Now lets talk about how to protect our kids.
Trust: Know who to trust and who you cannot trust. This is hard to learn. We have all had friends we thought we could trust and got burned. Even as an adult I sometimes have a hard time knowing who I can and cannot trust. If our kids are going out and partying, they need to be taught who to trust when they are at their most vulnerable. As I said in my Steubenville article, role play and have them run through scenarios and have them HONESTLY admit who they can and cannot trust in certain situations. Good friends will look out for one another.
We have to teach our kids basic safety measures. If your kid is old enough to be going out, drinking and partying with friends, for some this is age 16, teach them basic safety measures. I grew up in Germany as a teenager. If you could see over the bar, you ordered beer. But, my parents taught me some basic situational safety measures that I am sure saved me and my friends multiple times.
- Go with a group of trusted friends. Don’t go with frenemies unless you want to stay sober. (see next bullet)
- Someone in that group needs to stay sober, even if you aren’t driving. That sober person is responsible to take head-counts, and make sure you don’t go off with some random person you met that night. This sober person is also your Jiminy Cricket when, after 2 too many jello shooters, you think streaking down the dorm hallway is a good idea.
- Only take drinks straight from a reputable bartender, and no, the frat brother of the house does not count. When I was younger, date rape drugs were just making an appearance on the party scene. Don’t take a drink from someone you just met. If someone wants to buy you a drink, have them order and pay, but let the bartender pour.
- Don’t drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking. This one is less ‘rape-safety’ and more ‘life-safety’ oriented.
- Let your child know the law when it comes to age of consent and how to check ID. The last thing you want your son doing is gong to a party or a club and being arrested for not checking ID. Consensual maybe, but it might not be legal.