It has been a draining two weeks on the Internet. Standing up with our black brothers and sisters in the US and around the world to protest systemic racism. And then the seemingly unending horror stories of girls raped and murdered in the places they are supposed to feel safe. Their churches, homes, places of work.
We have to put our hands and heads together to make sure this is not the world we are building. A world of marginalization and rape culture.
We are also asked to do it in our various lanes. Whether it is a protest, a march, spreading the world on social media, donating to organizations, speaking about these issues with family friends and acquaintances. Or all of the above.
For people with children in their care, I feel yours is a special calling for this gospel. Now is the time to shape and form those impressionable minds into incredible adults.
Here are some ways and steps I believe are necessary when teaching a child consent.
Encourage them to speak up
Your kids should be able to tell you everything. They should not be afraid of you or scared of letting you know something that may have happened to them in school or at home while you weren’t watching. That way, if anything it of the ordinary happens to them, they will tell you and you can quickly pick up on a predator trying to molest or be inappropriate with your child.
Listen to your child
It’s one thing for them to be free enough to speak to you. It’s another thing for you to listen. Learn to pick up on even the smallest things from them. Don’t invalidate their feelings. And always believe them. They are seldom making these things up.
Teach them that they have no right to any other persons body.
Concepts like “boys will be boys” and “she’s a girl, she should do this” is what gives unnecessary gender privilege and what makes boys think they have access to a woman’s body.
Teach your kids that they have absolutely no right to touch anyone without their permission. And that permission should never be coerced or forced. In secondary schools, boys have become used to raising the skirts of young girls, waiting for them in corners to grab them or touching them inappropriately. Such actions should not be tolerated in any instance and should be eradicated before it even becomes a fully formed thought.
Give concrete examples and explain in detail
Even before incidences occur, when you have the sex and consent talk, make sure to give examples. Explain that no means no, inebriation means no, silence means no. Also, give examples of punishments that have been netted out to people found guilty of rape.
Keep them up to date with the news and happenings
When they understand that these are happening and people are being punished for them, they will learn to speak up for victims, speak against rape jokes and in general, not condone rape culture.