Every day the world seems to become a crazier place. You turn on the news and see celebrities and politicians alike being accused of sexual assault and harassment. You flip over to ESPN where current and former athletes are being accused of the same, in addition to domestic violence. You tell me that you would never do those things and I believe you.
If you were placed in a similar situation, I pray that you would make the right choice. I pray that through the interactions of your male (and female) role models that you can emulate them and not what you see on TV. To not speak to women, or anyone, as if they don’t matter. To not assert your power, whether in size or situation, on someone who feels like they don’t have a choice but to do what you say.
I also know that one day you will be in a situation where you take someone out on a date. They may want to take things to the next level, or they might not. YOU need to remember the conversations I’ve had with you.
No means no.
The absence of no does not mean yes.
If you don’t hear a yes, then you do not proceed. Even if you both start to do something, and they decide that they’ve changed their mind, you must respect them and stop. Remember when you used to like The Backyardigans? There came a day that you didn’t like it anymore, and I didn’t make you keep watching. This is the same thing. People are allowed to change their minds. You don’t get to decide that once you start you can’t stop. You don’t get to decide that what you want matters more than what they want.
Be the person that people respect. Be the person that you would respect.
As you grow into men you need to remember that you have good role models. You must look to them and make sure you are doing your best to treat everyone with respect. There is no person, no matter gender, race, religion or sexual orientation that deserves to be treated less than you would want to be treated. So as you venture out into the great unknown make good choices. Be the person I know you can be and the boy I will continue to love.
For more information on teaching kids about consent & sexual assault/abuse prevention, see this post: The “Rude” Behavior I’m Teaching My Kids
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