My dearest boys,
This is an impossible letter to write, but as you read this I hope you let the passion and love behind each word sink into the deepest parts of you. I love you — each one of you — with every fiber of my existence, but I’m scared.
I need to tell you a story; it’s a story I desperately want to hide from you but one that I need you to hear.
You see, I’m not scared for you so much as I’m scared of you. Scared of what and who you could become.
I’m scared of boys because they turn into men, and men — some men — terrify me. Some men petrify a lot of us women, because of the damage they’re capable of. Because of the damage they’ve done.
Damage that’s left us utterly destroyed in its wake.
My past has made me terrified of the world I brought you into. He made me terrified of the world I brought you into; and I desperately need to know you will never become him.
He was just a boy. A college boy who “made a bad decision,” just like they said Brock Turner did. His name was Danny. He seemed kind when I met him, but within hours that kind boy with a cute smile turned into a nightmare that 13 years later, still haunts me.
Because the same night I met him, Danny raped me. He snuck into my room while I was sleeping and raped me. I woke up to blood on my sheets and him inside of me, stabbing my insides as I screamed, “NO, NO, NO! OH. MY. GOD. OUCH. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GET OFF OF ME!”
He didn’t let go. Instead, he threw me up against my wooden dresser and continued to penetrate me from behind.
“You said you wanted it,” he whispered into my ear. “Earlier, when you looked at me with that seductive smile and that short skirt.”
Days later, as I tried to process the trauma that flipped my world upside down, a little voice in the back of my head taunted me. “Maybe it was your fault. You shouldn’t dress like that. You had a few drinks, did you ask him to sleep with you? Did you say something you don’t remember?”
That voice inside my head is why I’m terrified of the world we live in. That voice, the one that led me to believe I was part of the problem, was influenced by a society saturated in rape culture. A society that believes women who dress or behave in a way that sick men perceive as suggestive, are asking to be raped.
I want you to hear me loud and clear, my dearest children. No one asks to be raped. No woman goes to sleep with the hopes of waking up to a man penetrating them against their will. Rape is a criminal offense that victims have no part in, whatsoever. Rape is a disgusting, degrading, animalistic abuse of power that shreds another human life to pieces.
You may wonder why I’m telling you this horrific story. I’m telling you because even though I’m scared of you — of men and boys as a whole — I have hope because of you. To my sons Malekai, Rylen, and Austin, each one of you, in your own special ways, give me hope that not all boys will turn into men who violate women. Your gentle, nurturing, innocent souls have helped me to see that I don’t have to be scared of you. You are not him. And our society doesn’t have to remain stuck how it is.
You give me hope that things can change, and because of you, I feel a social responsibility to make sure you are brought up in a way that brings about that change.
Sex is confusing. As you grow, you will feel an overwhelming desire to satisfy one of your most primitive needs through sexual gratification. But sex must always be consensual. And even consensual sex ought to be cared for with the utmost respect. Tread lightly, my boys; sex has the power to destroy lives in the matter of moments if its intentions are not carefully thought out.
But listen closely, too, because I have a secret. The only thing more powerful than sex is knowledge; information and logic, If used properly, will be your best defense.
Do you know how I quieted the voices inside my head telling me that my clothes and the number of drinks I had caused me to be raped? With information. My criminal law professor informed me that according to the law, consent is null and void when alcohol has been ingested. Information from him, my doctors, and my therapist saved me from the lies society tried to bleed on me.
I know this is a lot to digest, but I just want you to know that I’m here, walking this path with you. Throughout your life I promise to equip you with knowledge that will empower you to make careful decisions, based on logic and reason. I will help you learn to pacify the primitive parts of your brain so you don’t ever feel like your thoughts and actions are beyond your control. I will show you how to live a dignified life full of integrity, compassion, grace, and humility. And most importantly, I will teach you to be boys who change other boys.
Rape culture is more than just a problem, it’s a crisis. But together, we have the ability to intervene. We have the ability to end it here.
I am just one voice but together, we are four. And our four voices, if backed by humility, will turn into countless more. But it starts right here with me, teaching you to be boys who grow into men who value and respect the sanctity of human life.More On