I feel like every time I watch or read the news I learn about yet another young girl being raped. As if the crime of rape isn't bad enough these young girls have to deal with all of this in an age of technology where word spreads fast along with pictures and videos, text messages, tweets, Facebook status updates etc. It's awful. It makes me sick.
I have two boys. I cannot tell you have often I hear, "oh boys are so much easier, be happy you have boys." I have always found this to be a weird statement. First of all, I would be lying if I didn't tell you I would love a daughter to throw into the mix of our family no matter how hard girls may actually be. Secondly why, why are girls so much harder? Ok, take away the obvious reasons of clothes, PMS and attitude, but I think raising kids these days, whether boys or girls, is hard if you are doing it right.
Rape like any crime bears the question of, how do we prevent it? How do we fix this seemingly growing problem and protect our girls and women from it ever happening to them? I can't claim to know the solution, but as the mother of two boys I am writing this letter to young girls everywhere and I sure do hope it helps.
Dear Little Girls everywhere,
I am a mom. I was once a little girl who grew into an awkward teenager and eventually into a confident woman. I am now a mom of two young boys. If I do nothing else right in this life I promise you this:
I promise to raise two boys into men who respect you. I promise to teach them to protect you from those who may not always respect you. I promise to teach them to lead rather than follow. To know right from wrong and to stand up for you no matter how scary it may be to do so. I promise to teach them that taking or sharing inappropriate pictures, videos or rumors about you is wrong and that the camaraderie they may feel with their male peers for mere minutes or hours will never compare to the lack of sleep they will have for the rest of their lives knowing how wrong this decision was.
I will teach them that it only takes one wrong decision to completely alter the outcome of your life. They will know that it is never ok to laugh at your expense or to ignore your need for help in order to protect their reputation. I will teach them that their mother was once a young girl just like you and that hurting you would be like hurting me. I will teach them that love is real, and when it's real it is awesome. I will teach them that they deserve love just like you deserve love. I will teach them that love does not exist without respect. I will teach them to hold doors open for you, and to look you in the eyes when they speak to you. I will teach them to never even think about beeping a car horn for you but to instead get out of the car, go up to the door, and meet your parents. I will teach them to call you to ask you out on a date instead of sending a text message. I will teach them that talking to you like one of the guys is the best way to ruin any kind of love that could have grown between you.
I promise to teach them that you can in fact be friends (and you should be) and your love will be so much better for it. I will teach them to allow you to be you and never make you feel like you have to be someone else. I will tell them that no matter what you say, if you have been drinking they are not to touch you in any inappropriate way. They are to bring you home and tell you to sleep well.
I will teach both of my boys that girls are not objects, but human beings. You are human beings who deserve to be treated with respect. You deserve to be protected and loved. I will teach them that one day they may have a daughter and what they do now will affect them later.
I promise I will do my part as a mother of boys to make sure that rape is not ok. I will raise boys into men who know that in no way, shape, or form is a criminal act upon you ok EVER. I promise I will raise two boys who your father will be happy you are dating. Trust me, this in and of itself is huge. I will never stop teaching them all of this and I hope that all parents of boys will step up and do the same. At the end of the day it is on us.
A dedicated mother of boys
A version of this post originally appeared on Outsmarted Mommy.
You can connect with Jennifer on Facebook.