Last week, I woke up to hear the news that a 17-year-old girl was allegedly raped at a Keith Urban concert. And I was mortified. I know in today's age I shouldn't be, but I was truly mortified. CNN reported, "The attack happened in front of a large crowd of other concertgoers on the lawn..." And then I literally felt the blood drain from my face because I couldn't imagine that the story could get any worse.
You see, we are a family of daughters -- three to be exact, ages 25, 21 and 6. I like to believe that we've raised (and are raising) strong women. We've always told our daughters that they could be exactly who they wanted to be. We've taught them to dress in a way that makes them comfortable about their bodies and remains true to their beliefs -- to not conform to what society says they should or should not wear. We've traveled with them, exposing them to different places and cultures and hopefully taught them to think for themselves and respect others, even if those people aren't like them. We've raised our daughters to believe that they are just as strong as the boys and to not allow anyone to tell them differently.
However, we continue to live in a society that reminds us everyday that this may not be true. We live in a society where every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted, with the majority of the assaults being young women under the age of 30. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network also reports that an estimated 60 percent of sexual assaults are never even reported.
And this scares the hell out of me. And, if you're a parent (or a caring adult), it should scare the hell out of you, too.
How did we get to a point in our society where an entire crowd at a concert stands around and watches a young girl be raped on the ground in front of them and only one lone woman pushes her way through to help the girl? Or, where did we fail as parents in raising a culture of kids who think it's better to film the rape of a drunk girl at a party with their smart phones instead of using those phones to call the police (or, at the very least, call their parents)? And, how do we quickly arrive at the conclusion that it's the girl's fault for being drunk or wearing something "revealing," instead of faulting the criminals?
I'll tell you how: We've failed as parents.
We've failed to establish in both boys and girls that human life is valuable, no matter if you're male or female. We've failed to teach our kids to respect boundaries, or even what boundaries are these days. We've failed in helping them to understand that others have different beliefs and that's OK. We've dropped the ball on one of the most fundamental ideals we can instill in our children: to love one another.
We've failed. Period. And our daughters are suffering for it.
Until we, as parents, realize that what is happening with our young women today is collectively our fault, it will never change. I guess until then we will go on lying to our daughters and telling them that they are strong and safe in a society that continues to prove otherwise.
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