Earlier today on twitter there was a lot of back and forth about smart partying for college kids. They suggested designating a sober partier, never leaving your drink, not having drunk sex and there were a few nods to making sure other people stayed safe. There was also the statistic that 50% of sexual assaults in college occur when people are drinking.
I’m sure most college graduates find the 50% number shockingly low.
I worry though that we’re having the wrong conversation. Maybe because October is fraught with pinkwashing I’m extra prickly to messages that purport to help women but succeed only in making us victims.
The conversation that mothers should be having with their children is simple. We need to tell our sons that they cannot sexually assault girls.
Do our girls need to be savvy? Certainly they do. Our daughters will get savvy quickly because at tender ages men will surely give them unwanted attention. They will learn to be a little fearful, they know they are physically smaller and weaker than men, and they are fully aware that love and sex aren’t one in the same. Girls learn this from catcalls, boys learn this from jokes about dropping the soap in the shower.
Do we need to teach our daughters that there are multiple dangers in binge drinking? Absolutely. We need to teach our sons the same thing. Why aren’t our sons being told that their lives will be ruined if they misinterpret a “no” for a “maybe later”.
Everyone is so obsessed with protecting the virginity of our daughters that we’ve totally neglected the important conversations that must be had with our sons.
Our sons need to know that if a girl is hemming and hawing about sex they need to get up and walk away. The boys need to know that sex with a drunk girl is not consensual. The kids, all the kids, need to know that drunk sex with anyone is non consensual.
Talk to your sons and daughters about the age of consent in your state.
When horrible people are sentenced to prison we make jokes about anal rape in the showers. Though we may have some level of blood lust for the worst offenders we’re sending a message to everyone that rape is a deserved punishment for bad people.
It follows then that when we call girls slutty or skanky (and I’m totally guilty of this) then they become bad people, and we’re conditioned to believe that bad people ought to be assaulted.
I know how to prevent sexual assault, it’s not all a girl’s job.