This has been a difficult week for me, and many people in our country– It’s been hard for people on both political sides. It’s been hard for people of all gender identities, sexual orientations, and it’s been really hard for those folks who have experienced sexual assault.
There has been an insane amount of commentary surrounding the Kavanaugh hearings last week. There has been massive amounts of anger, venting, and side-taking. For me, personally, this week has been deeply triggering. I’ve felt raw and spacey and it’s been really hard to get things done. I haven’t been great at stepping away from it all and finding ways to restore my heart, but I am aware of that need. I’m working on it.
As a parent, I have also been mindful of the need to find appropriate ways to find teaching moments to share with my child, and also equally mindful of the need to put this stuff away and be present and joyful for my child- to the best of my ability.
I’m going to guess that many of you are experiencing similar things, and so I’m going to share some resources that you may find helpful in navigating this moment and trying to figure out where to go from here.
If you have come across a resource you think it worth sharing here, please send it along and I will add it to this post.
- Unburdened Podcast In this hour long program, in this episode a group of black fathers grapple with challenging toxic masculinity- the divides that fathers have when fathering their daughters vs. fathering their sons. This whole podcast series is awesome.
- Here is a great article for folks trying to cope as a sexual abuse survivor.
- For folks who are trying to better understand why this week has been so difficult for many people, I found this interview was a really concise explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lskN-de5Z2U&app=desktop
- Related, here’s a group of men talking about the challenges of dismantling sexism/misogyny from a straight-male perspective (there is a whole series of these talks, too!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufQSF3mpQ6k
- NPR: How to Talk to Young People About the Kavanaugh Story Some great reminders for parents, It’s your job, it’s not too soon, give them the information, be the askable parent… A lot of this article reminds me of OWL parent discussions-
- Comprehensive Sexuality education is an important part of our path forward, so if you are able to volunteer time with an OWL program- do it. If not, Be an askable parent. Have a hundred hard conversations- don’t worry about saying the perfect thing- do your best, keep doing your best, lean on fellow parents. This is why good Sex Education is so important
- Do you (and your children) know about the freeze response? I have heard many people say, over past two years as sexual assault has moved in and out of the focus of conversation, that they are just realizing how common it is for people to freeze when they are confronted with sexual assault. We say ‘no means no’, and perhaps talk to our children about the importance of consent, but we don’t always lift up how common it is for a person to freeze when they feel fear in a situation. It is relevant, particularly, in teaching children and teens to be advocates for themselves and to be respectful of those with whom they might be intimately involved. There are two sides to this: 1. We need to learn that silence isn’t consent- if a person finds themselves in a sexual situation and their partner becomes very quiet and unresponsive, STOP. 2. We need to know that if, when confronted with a sexually threatening situation we ourselves froze– that was not a failure. To freeze is a completely normal biological response. It does not mean you gave consent, and it should not prevent you from reporting what happened.
- Finally, here are some children’s book recommendations- The article is specifically speaking to parents of sons, and offers some kids books to prevent sexual assault. I think this framing is a little tricky– sexual assault can experienced by any person and perpetrators are not always men. That said, the underlying message is valuable, toxic masculinity in our culture is real, and the book suggestions are worth sharing. We need to think about what messages we send our children in the media they consume, and recognize that we can plant seeds for a healthier culture if we are intentional about what our little ones are learning about gender and sexuality. ♥
Ok. I’m going to stop there.
Sending love to all of you, and resilience, and hope. We are not alone. Let’s move forward together.