Raising girls in this “rape culture.”

(This is super long, I’m sorry but I just have so much to say on the subject)

I’ve been tossing that title around in my head for a couple of weeks and honestly typing it made me sick to my stomach. I have all these words to say about this…all these thoughts and I can’t decide where the line between private conversations and what I MUST say to the girls I know are drawn. I can’t decide how much of my own sordid past to reveal (thank Jesus for redemption) and what to speak to in broad generalizations. Please, hear my heart in these words. I’m not a know it all.  I don’t want to place any blame on a single victim, because it is absolutely not your fault. I just want to prevent my own children, and yours, and you if you are still young enough for this to be applicable, from being a victim. If that is at all possible.

I had this talk with one of my daughters and she said “Mom, I’m never going to be in that situation.” To that I responded “I know sweet heart, I just had to say it. As a mom it is my job. Just like I tell you to wear your seat belt or don’t text and drive…it’s my job to say these things.” And though it isn’t my job to tell you, this I must say.

I’m not stupid. I know at some point my children are going to get the bright idea to go to a big party. They are going to drink. They are going to be in a situation that is grossly unsafe. Here are the tips I hope their underdeveloped late teen early 20’s minds can remember.

  1. First and foremost have a person. What, you may ask is a “person?” Your person is your best girl friend. You trust her with your life. When you go to this party, to this club, to this whatever you take your person. She’s drinking too much. You stop her. You’re drinking too much. She stops you. Stopping might mean leaving. Just ending the “fun.” You never let her go home with someone, or into a room alone with them. No one…you don’t let her go in there with the hot guy from Psych 101. No one. Same for you. You have made this pact ahead of time in your most sober state. You are there to keep each other safe and alive. No person, no party. You don’t trust any one, no party.
  2.  It is never, ever, never funny to get falling down black out stupid drunk. Just never. On your way there, you might think it is funny. But once you get close, funny is over. Please hear me, this puts you in a vulnerable powerless position. In today’s time, in any time, women just can’t be powerless. The second you are my dear one, a vulture will sweep in and take advantage of you, feeding on your very spirit. You must not ever allow yourself to get to that place. Your person is getting there…you grab her by the pony tail and get out. Live to party another day.
  3. Let’s say you are already stupid, you’ve already gone too far and now you are stuck. You are too drunk to drive. (Don’t ever drink and drive, lovey.) Don’t get in the car with some guy who promises to get you home safe. Seriously, you can’t. I have told my girls, I don’t care where in the country you are, before you get behind the wheel or into some perverts car, call me. I will get your butt home. I don’t care if you’re in California and I’m in Kansas we live in the age of technology and I can find a way-make a way to get you safely where you need to be. (Now granted if this becomes a trend, we’re going to have to find different living situations for you.) Right now, stop what you are doing and download the Uber app to your phone. Put in your credit card number and there you go. You aren’t ever with out a ride again. No Uber in your area (where do you even live?) google the nearest Taxi company and save that in your phone. Now you don’t have to look it up when it is too late and you can’t think. (Didn’t I tell you not to get there in the first place…uggg. LISTEN!)
  4. Boys. Come on. Your momma raised you better. You don’t deserve any thing from a girl. She didn’t dress like that because she wanted anything from you. Girls don’t think that way. She dressed that way because some idiot pop star did on whatever tour and some where along the line she thought it was cute or sexy or whatever but it is NOT and I repeat is NOT your cue to take advantage of the situation. See that drunk girl falling all over you. Yeah, she’s pretty. Tell her so and find her bestie. Get her in her bestie’s car…keep your hands and all other parts of your body to yourself and try not to lose respect for her. Because we both know you’ve partied too much too. Just because you’ve got different plumbing in your pants doesn’t mean you get an exemption from the respect rules.

Let me tell you mommas, raising teen aged girls is tough. But it starts way before the clock strikes midnight on the eve of their 13th birthday. I see your toddlers in her booty shorts and mid drift tops. You just wait till she wears that same outfit at 16. You’ll be seeing under-boob and butt cheeks.  You bought it, you put it on her. Why is it so different at 15 than it is at 5? We have to teach our little ladies to cover their skin. Not because their bodies are shameful, but because they are very beautiful. Lovely ladies, your body is so beautiful in fact that simply looking at you can cause other people to only know that one thing about you. Please have some respect for yourself and wear some clothes. Also, conversations start so early. Have you noticed the kids on those Disney channel shows like boys before they even wear a training bra? I’ve got a little person in my house who is still getting the early on conversations that go something like this. “I don’t understand why she doesn’t want to play with her shopkins…why is she so worried about that boy. I wonder if she knows how to rip stick.” Or “The people who made this show must not have kids. 11 year olds still like to play at the park and make playdoh cakes..they should do some research.”

Wow…that was more of an introduction than a blog post about rape culture…maybe this will be a 2 part series.

Can I share one more though…of course I can share…but please read on.

Rape culture is not new. We just have a name for it now. We used to say things like “Boys will be boys” and excuse away these acts of indecency, acts of violence.

Take for example the movie 16 Candles, which I actually just watched for the very first time….ever.

Just before this scene the dark headed guy…I can’t remember his name says “she trashed, have fun.” He’s giving his girl friend over to the nerdy guy. The girl friend would have given sexual consent to her boyfriend. This clip shows they are deceiving the girl into thinking the nerdy guy is her boy friend. Obviously this is ridiculous…sort of. This celebrated coming of age movie that spoke to a generation is that generation which is raising sons and daughters today. Did you even know that happened in 16 Candles? Did you even notice? Probably not…because its “just the way things are.”

Can we please start calling bull shit on this kind of stuff. I’m so over it. I’m over pretty language and being kind. When it comes to my kids, and your kids I’m over it…it’s time that we start requiring our boys to man up, accept responsibility for their impulses (and learn to control them) and for our girls to stop being pretty little idiots.

Unfortunately this video (which is a gem among gems) had to be made to teach the every day fella what it means to have consent.

Pretty sure the boys in 16 Candles could have used this information.

Don’t get me wrong ladies and gentleman who are now wondering if perhaps my daughters aren’t dateable (Not that we really care what you think because if you’re trying to set your son up with my daughter you’re probably on the do not date list) You’re thinking, these girls have been given the go ahead to do as they please, as long as it is what they please.

Oh, quite the contrary my friend.

We teach abstinence, but not stupidity. We have made it this far and have been successful and many prayers are prayed that we continue in the same direction. Here’s what we teach our little ladies.

You are valuable. Your value reaches beyond that which can be measured. Value yourself, love yourself. You have worth. What is done can’t be undone. The choices you make today can’t be removed. If you make a decision to go farther with a boy than you should have, you can’t go back. You can choose not to do that any more but you can’t unlearn you can’t unfeel and it takes very long to heal a broken heart. (If you have already stepped to far into the deep water my dear reader it’s ok to turn around, it’s ok to head back to the shore line. Most often that is going to require leaving someone behind. They might be drowning, but they don’t have to take you with them.) You are worth so much to your family. You are worth so much to your future self and your future husband (not that you HAVE to have a husband but if that is the path you take.) 15 minutes (or likely less) isn’t worth changing your life. You are not made for the pleasure of others. You are not made for physical pleasure alone. Trust me when I tell you that a sexual relationship with one’s husband is far more beautiful and meaningful and safe than one that is with a boy you’re dating. Or even someone you hope to marry.

This is what I tell my baby girls and these are the conversations I hope you’re having with your daughters. I know so many moms that do this mom thing so much better than I. Please share your words of wisdom. How do you communicate with your lovelies with how they should behave and how to protect themselves. Mothers of sons please shed some light on how you are bringing up your sons to not be the date rapist we all fear? Give us some hope. I know some really great boy moms that I love and adore. I wouldn’t think for a minute their sons would be those described here! Please give us your words and how your husband is teaching your sons to be respectable men of honor.

3 Comments

  • Casey Steinert

    July 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm Reply

    Oh, Carrie! Thank you! These words. So incredible. I’m having all of my kids read them. Your daughters are fortunate indeed to have you as their mother.

    • Carrie Catlin

      August 4, 2016 at 10:18 am Reply

      Thank you for sharing! I’m sure these are things you’ve said before. You’re such a great mom!

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