As a mother of girls in 2016 I have the following requests — especially as my daughters are now young women.
Please teach your sons the following as they grow into manhood.
1. Teach your sons, from a very young age, that girls are not here on this earth for them. For example, they cannot simply take hold of a girl’s hand during kindergarten story-time or chase her around trying to ‘steal kisses’. If your son wishes to hold a little girl’s hand, he will need to ask. For example, ‘Please, may I hold you hand?’ If she says, ‘Yes’, then he can hold her hand for as long as she remains consensual. If she says, ‘No’; then your son needs to understand that ‘No’ means 'No'. It does not mean, ‘You can follow me around until I give in.' It does not mean, ‘Maybe. Keep trying.’ And it certainly does not mean, ‘Yes.' Teach your sons that ‘No' means 'No’ whether you are a child, a teenager or an adult.
2. Teach your sons to respect girls/women of all ages. Sorry! Let me qualify that! Teach your sons to respect any and all genders of all ages. Respect is every human being’s right. People can be white, blue, green or black; they can be gay, transgender, heterosexual or identify as no gender. They can be of any religion or atheist. Respect is key to this world being a tolerate and peaceful planet. Teach your sons to respect all voices, and to listen and learn.
3. Teach your sons that the pornography they are viewing online is not consensual sex. It is not how healthy and loving relationships go. Teach your sons that most young women don’t want to be treated abusively, and be physically and mentally humiliated as portrayed in pornographic videos and images. Teach your sons that this is a multi-billion dollar industry and what they are seeing is not real. Teach your sons that a healthy relationship is one of respect and mutual consent. It also involves friendship and humour. Note: your sons WILL see pornography. Research tells us 99% of 16 year old boys have viewed pornography.
4. Teach your sons not to comment (and/or imply through body language) on a girl’s/woman’s physical appearance unless to compliment with sincerity. Women have enough to contend with re the media’s portrayal of beauty; they do not need your sons adding to that.
5. Teach your sons not to shout and 'cat call' to women/girls on the street or anywhere else. Women DON'T like it. They do not find it complimentary. My daughter and her friends did not enjoy, as they walked down a city street, being called ‘sluts, whores and slags’ simply because they ignored the catcalling of a group of boys roaring around in an expensive car. These boys obviously felt they had the right to be abusive. Sadly, my daughter and her friends had no choice but to put up with it and try not to let the words embed. This angers me greatly that these young women were subjected to foul verbal abuse simply because of their gender.
6. And this one is for all my daughters. Teach your sons they don’t have the right to say, ‘My God! You are tall! Are you a giant?’ My daughters don’t say to your sons, ‘My God! You are short! Are you a dwarf?’ They have been raised to respect the difference between human beings, and to not comment upon it.
7. Teach your sons that the girls/women they come in contact with have hopes and dreams just as they do. Girls will want to reach for the stars and your sons need to applaud their achievements (that may well exceed their own) rather than be threatened by them.
8. Teach your sons that they can’t always 'fix' their partner’s problems. Sometimes their partner may just need to he held and supported. Men so often want to be ‘fixers’. Sometimes they just need to ‘hear’ their partner and hold them close.
9. Teach your sons that the world can be an amazing place if they partner with girls/women on an even footing with each individual contributing their talents unreservedly. Teach your sons to be feminists, as in the old-fashion sense of the 80’s, i.e ‘gender equality’; and this world will be a far richer, fairer and more respectful place.
Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education to be taught both in the home and in schools.
For more information on this topic and Jay’s children's books 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept', 'Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain', ‘No Means No!’ and her parents’ guide ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ go to e2epublishing.info
All books are also available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
'Body Safety Education — A parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse' is now available.