Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why do little boys abuse?

Wear something different.
Cover those knees up.
Wipe out that eye shadow.
Walk like a lady, don't strut.
Your elbows are too revealing
Your cheeks are too flushed
Your hair's too seductive.
Your toe's sticking out too much.
Your skirt is too short.
Your nails are too long
If you think you're right,
You're probably wrong.

These messages came to me, 
from every inch of my reality.
I remember being seven or eight,
and worrying about not asking for it.
How can you ask for it?
Ask for something you don't,
cannot
want.

We teach our daughters to be careful.
To see every passing shadow
as a dagger waiting to strike.
To look down,
look away,
shut up because it's not happening.
Well, shut up, I say.

We tell our daughters - 

She showed her toes.
She smiled at him.
She forgot to lock her door.
She challenged him.
She worked.
She went out with her friends too late.
She hung out with men.
She laughed out in the open - 
That's why she got raped.


She is not to blame.

It's time we unteach
It's time to unlearn.

It's time we start asking
What are we teaching our sons?

~Inspired by Andrea Gibson's Blue Blanket and stories from my own life.

I have come to encounter so many survivors whose abuser is a young boy. It never made sense to me. An ugly part of it still doesn't. How could a 12 year old boy do this to his own sister? And it begs the question - how could this child think it was okay? Are we born delinquently abusive and not? So much research says it's a learned behavior - what a frightful thing to be taught and learned. When you raise a child in an abusive home, you are so likely to raise either a survivor or an abuser. That is terrifying to me. 








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