My daughter came home from school the other day and as she recanted the things that happened, she sheepishly added that a boy made her feel uncomfortable at recess. “What do you mean?” I asked her and she explained that a little boy was running around the playground slapping the other girls on their ass. She almost seemed apologetic that she even told me about it. After all this boy was her friend. She went on to mention that he did it to all the girls.
I had to stop her right then and there. I had to set the tone, I couldn’t let her think her feelings were unimportant or silly or should be brushed aside.
At that point there was no excuse that either of us could have made for this young man. We stopped everything and I told her “Your body is yours and yours alone. No one has the right to touch you or make you feel uncomfortable under any circumstances. Even when you are older, you set the rules. Your body, your rules.” I went on to tell her that I appreciated her telling me and that she did the right thing. I asked her why she didn’t tell her teacher and she said that it would be too embarrassing. And there lies the problem.
This is something that follows people their entire lives. They don’t want to offend, they want to make excuses for people whose company they otherwise enjoy, and on a larger scale society still very much shames a woman for coming forward if she has been harassed in any way. It might start with a game of grab ass, but how soon before it turns something much more serious?
Needless to say it will be handled or there will be hell to pay. This also stands as a reminder to let our little boys know how to treat women, and let our daughters know they deserve respect. Boys too, they need to know boundaries for themselves and for others.
Let’s be honest, the last thing any of us want is a pissed off father who feels like your little boy did their girl wrong, but even more than that we have a responsibility to raise young men that are protectors, not offenders to our women.