Every now and then I think that my daughters are so incredibly lucky to be growing up in a time of opportunity and when women are able to speak up for themselves and demand equality without major repercussions. They can do almost anything and a lot of exciting and wonderful things are happening in the area of women’s rights.
Then, something will happen that makes me realise that we are so far away from reaching that point.
It pains me to be writing this post and using the #metoo as a reference for the subject matter. As horrendous as all the stories of women who have experienced inappropriate sexual behavior from men are, how much worse is it when it is happening to our kids?
I recently read an anonymous post from a parent on a facebook parenting group, asking for advice.
Her daughter was often picked on at school and the most recent event was at the hands of a male peer. This boy pushed her over, kissed her several times and squeezed her bottom.
Now, when I first read this I thought the poster had said four year old. Still unacceptable behavior however, at that age there is a need to be shown guidance and taught what is and is not acceptable behavior. In my opinion, and the feeling was unanimous form all who commented, anything that makes a child feel uncomfortable is unacceptable. Regardless of the age.
Then I re read it and I realised actually about year 4 children. Nine and ten year olds. Jesus. At that age, he absolutely knows better. It’s appalling.
It’s appalling that he did what he did, appalling that he has, somewhere along the line, either witnessed similar behavior or been told that it is okay, appalling that the mother of this young girl felt she needed reassurance from the wider parenting community that what had happened was not okay.
It is also appalling that I recently had a conversation with a friend about enrolling our daughters in a self defence class. Not because they have shown an interest in it or for fun. For survival. So they can defend themselves. What the actual fuck?
When my daughter was in kindergarten and five years old, one of her classmates took her into some bushes and showed her his penis. Yes, he was five and maybe it is just exploring their bodies, but he took her somewhere isolated first and that is what upset me most. My daughter was horrified and told him he is never to do it again so I am proud of her for that but then again, why does she have to deal with that shit?
I addressed it with the teacher and she told me that we weren’t the first parents to have complained. It had happened to a few other little girls in the class. This boy would also constantly try to kiss my daughter and he became very possessive of her and did’t want anyone else sitting next to her in class. He had behavioral concerns and teachers found it difficult to settle him in class. When I raised the concerns I had for my daughter the teachers said that my daughter was good for him and she was a great influence. I told them, in a polite way that I didn’t give a fuck if she helped him. If he tried to kiss her against her will one more time I was going to deal with it myself.
I’m not man bashing in any way. I have never experienced any kind of harassment myself but jesus, if a mother has to take to social media with a question like that then I can’t help but wonder if we are progressing at all.