Rape Culture is Real: Talking to our Boys About Consent


In the past few years, the world has confirmed:

As I read stories like this, I am baffled by the number of people that do not see that all of this is backward and wrong. Why is it so hard to for others to see that just because they’ve lived a charmed life that bad things do happen to others?

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Is it because we are afraid our white picket fence will burn to the ground? Well, maybe, just maybe it is time to slash and burn what we know and start anew.  A world that isn’t tarnished by our past beliefs but listens, really listens, to the real story of how America came to be.

As a mother of a little white boy that will one day grow up to be a white male, I am appalled by the “boys will be boys” mentality of so many.  Rape culture is so prevalent it is accepted as the norm. But how do I teach my son that #metoo matters, #blacklivesmatter, #equalityisequality, and that #whitepriveldge is real when America is screaming otherwise? When our President mocks the very things that this country was built upon?

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How do we educate our sons not to become men that believe women are something to be conquered? Many experts believe that by revamping the way we talk to young kids about consent and continuing this conversation throughout adulthood may thwart some of the sexual misconduct that has become so commonplace in our society.

Ask permission 

According to Debra Hauser, the president of Advocates for Youth teaching children to respect each other starts at an early age. “You see two 4-or 5-year olds, where one wants to borrow the other one’s crayon, and they just grab it.  And the response that you have is, ‘You have to ask for it. And if that other child says no, you have to respect that and find another way to get the crayon’ That is the very beginning of consent education right there.”

Teach Empathy and Compassion

Explain that his/her actions caused someone else pain.  Consider how these feelings would make someone else feel. Always be inclusive and be the friend when no one else will.

No Should be Respected 

When children are playing if another child says no they need to respect that.  No, you can’t have this toy or no you must wait your turn.  It is ok for a child to say no. Respect your child’s right to say no in certain situations. It’s ok if they don’t want to hug, kiss, or high five Grandma goodbye.  As parents, we must respect the word no too.

Be an Askable Parent

Hauser suggests being the “askable” parent, the one your children come to with questions.  As kids become older, bring up tough topics, ones that make you feel uncomfortable. By doing this, your child will see your vulnerability and your child will feel more open and honest when the time comes to share things with you. Talk about what to do in certain situations. Raise boys not only understand but to respect and fight for women’s rights.

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This country has hidden behind Christianity, our skin color, and false pretenses disguising real agendas of misogyny, xenophobia, racism, and hate. Why is it so hard to believe that there is truth to the other side? That the world is actually seen through rose-colored glasses?

As parents and citizens, we must not be afraid to talk to our children about consent. We cannot continue the illusion that if we don’t talk about things they don’t exist.  There is more to our world that what is right in front of us, it is time to open our minds, change the story, and burn our picket fences to the ground.

Sources: NPR

You might also like: Why We March: An Open Letter.

Rape Culture


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