Hollywood rape: a sobering topic today. When you hear about these stories of countless women being abused and mistreated, it is easy for many to think of it as a distant event in Hollywood, and perhaps, even the thought of, “Well, of course, those things happen in that environment”—but not today. Sexual abuse is a thing. It’s not just something that happens when girls are at the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s a few factors that need to be on your radar.
First, as we’ve raised our kids, we decided early on to be very picky about who baby sat our children and where they could stay the night with friends and family. With baby-sitting, we didn’t ask teens to baby-sit for us—we didn’t have much of a selection during their early years. We asked one trusted couple and not very often at that! That meant most dates were in our living room when the kids went to bed. Why so protective? I have one chance to raise them, and it’s my job to protect them.
You might be thinking, “You are crazy! No sleepovers?” Yeah, pretty much. I did bend with one or two like-minded friends, but the standard is that we just don’t do that. And as crazy as it seems, my kids have ended up normal. Go figure. Not only that, just because someone is family, doesn’t mean they have a right to have your kids stay the night with them. Is that what it looked like for us? Absolutely. I’d rather risk offending someone for saying we don’t usually do sleepovers than to risk my kids being exposed to unmonitored internet and entertainment and/or sexual experimentation or abuse. We can't protect perfectly. I am just doing the best I know how.
Recently, I had a mom come to me and say, “Remember, when I asked you if our girls could do sleepovers, and you said, we don’t really do that?” I was like, “yes,” and was wondering where this would go. Then, her eyes filled with tears. She explained there was a violation against her daughter at a friend’s house after that, and she wished she would have listened to me. We cried and embraced. She adamantly told me to tell her story to everyone I had the chance to tell. Not only this, I've had adult women tell me as children while staying with other family sleeping in the living room with all their siblings, they were violated by adults. The scenarios are endless. We can't protect completely, but we can try.
Next and on a different and maybe more sobering note, because of porn and Fifty Shades of Gray, you need more conversations with your girls (and boys). What I’m finding is that teen girls don’t know where to draw the line with boys. Healthy adult women who protect our minds from silly, sensual TV/movies understand what it looks like to be mistreated sexually. But let me remind you our girls don’t know! The barrage of junk they hear around their friends whether at school, sports practice/games, and church will blow your minds! It is not what we grew up with. It’s not a matter of whether or not you kiss on the first date, it’s well, I really don’t want to go there.
Discuss the uncomfortable. Discuss it often. They might not kiss if that’s your rule. Good. Then, go deeper and tell them you don’t touch anywhere else either! Yep. That, too. It’s uncomfortable, but its where this world is. Give guidelines and a plan to not be alone with a boy/girl. Boys and girls both are aggressive these days. In closing, let me ask you what are you going to do with what you just read?