Reflections–teaching kids about rape

I’ve been amazed and impressed this week with the discussion about the Steubenville rape case.

Yes, there is all the judgment of how the media has handled this story. I’m not talking about that.

I read 2 articles this week that spoke about going “all the way back” to the source. How do we stop this kind of event, how do we teach kids to stick up for another person, how should we function as members in society.

The first I read was Henry Rollins post. I like, and appreciate, how he calls attention to the two convicted boys being Offenders. That is what they are, they aren’t victims, they are Offenders that are being tried and prosecuted as our society sees fit. Sure, some wanted more time, some wanted a hand slap. Me? I’m super glad they have to register as sex offenders. Still – those boys, ALL of them, need to come to grips with the reality behind them and what to do next. I can only hope (and pray) that they learned why what they did was so wrong. On EVERY level. Every action they took – the rape, the pictures, the social, the joking and condemnation of the girl – was a horrible, reprehensible, sad display of common sense and humanity.

The second was a post by a mom of boys. The post is named – I am so fucking sick of teaching our daughters not to get raped. I think it’s right on. As a mother of a girl, I will have to tell her all those warning signs and tips to keep herself safe. It’s a necessity. I honestly don’t remember my mom ever having that conversation with me. I do remember watching people in high school and learning a lot on my own. I like that this mom talks about how respect and No Means No needs to be ingrained in every person. And another person calling out that those boys are responsible and accountable for their actions. They don’t deserve our pity. They deserve our sense of injustice and anger that it happened. They need to learn why what this did was so wrong. So horribly and disgustingly wrong. So sad….

I’ve seen a handful of others posted by friends on Facebook. There is so much discussion. I’m glad there is so much discussion.

Then yesterday, one that’s so close to home….

I’m on an alert list for any sex offenders moving into a certain radius of our neighborhood. It’s a frightening aspect of parenthood that I would rather plug my ears and scream LaLalaLaLA!!!!!

But that isn’t reality.

The reality is there are NINE registered sex offenders within a TWO MILE radius of my house. NINE!!!!! Within a TWO MILE radius!!!

On a normal day, that makes me incredibly sick to my stomach.

Yesterday, I received an alert of a newly registered sex offender. I hate that I get new alerts. I hate clicking on these links to see a picture of their face. I hate reading what they were committed of, thinking about what did they actually DO in the first place?! (think about that one, does it occur to you that maybe the actual act was worse than the conviction? I do….and some law enforcement officials will tell you to think about that too)

I was shocked. So shocked. So sickened, to click the link and see a young boy’s face staring back at me. Seriously – a boy. A now 13 year old boy. Convicted of “Rape of a child in the first degree”. Do you know what that means exactly? I do now:

RCW 9A.44.073

Rape of a child in the first degree.

(1) A person is guilty of rape of a child in the first degree when the person has sexual intercourse with another who is less than twelve years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least twenty-four months older than the victim.
(2) Rape of a child in the first degree is a class A felony.

Oh my fucking GOD! This (now) 13 year old had sex with another child who at the time was LESS THAN 12!!  And 24 months younger than this boy!! (those are all ANDs, not ORs) So let’s say he was 12 when the rape happened. This other child was 10. TEN!!!!  Even if he was 13 at the time, this other child is still ONLY 11.

Now – granted – it is not lost on me that this boy and the other child may have had what they considered consensual sex. They might have. It is just as likely that it wasn’t consensual.

I applaud the parents of the other child. To go through and press charges against this (now) 13 year old. I can only imagine how hard it would be for them – how that might impact their own child, admitting it happened in their family, backlash from the community, etc. etc. etc.

I think it is a timely and perfect example of telling society, this is NOT ok! I will NOT stand for this!

Now this 13 year old boy has to live with the consequences. Forever.

We should stand up and demand the change to make it better, change to stop us from having the conversation and debate in the first place…. It’s not extreme, it is what is required!

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March 2013 Quote–and thoughts about Stuff

Be

Truthful,

Gentle

and Fearless.

Gandhi

I retook a class last weekend that reminded me of some important values and desires of my life. How support is so critical in moving forward. It also helped me identify where I’ve been getting stuck (More on that later, I have a post drafted)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Stuff. Consumerism. Excess. Then yesterday I read this post from Dooce about her own reflection on Stuff and life changes. And quite honestly, I’m feeling a bit disgusted with myself and all the physical Stuff I’ve collected over the years. When I was single, like post college/early Seattle years, I moved every 9-12 moths. I learned to keep only the most important sentimental items so I wasn’t lugging around all this Stuff from house to house to apartment.

Lately I’ve been looking around my house and just feeling paralyzed by all the Stuff. I have this anxious energy to purge. Granted, being honest with myself, some of this is also wanting order and not so much chaos. In my worst anxiety moments, when I have trouble sitting still, I can’t even think if certain aspects of my house are out of order. Yes, I talk to my therapist about this. Yes, I’ve been working on reducing the list of Stuff that has to be in the Right Place so I breathe and deal with the issue at hand. Which usually has nothing to do with the Stuff to begin with.

I digress.

I’ve been slowly purging small spaces in the house. When I put the holiday decorations away this year, I got rid of a lot of stuff. I’m determined that those decorations are maintained to 4 storage containers and no more (maybe you think even that is a lot, maybe you think that’s nothing) This past week I’ve been cleaning shelves in the kitchen. Getting rid of old mugs, even some that at one point held sentimental value (goodbye big-ass Philly mug from Starbucks).

We are talking about redoing the family room and need to pick the weekend in March to actually do the transformation. I think it’s a perfect opportunity to purge that space and get organized. My vision of the room is like a Real Simple article…bins with labels, everything in its place, children putting toys back on the shelf. I want the room to look lived in, I also want the room to be free of tornado aftermath.

I was thinking this morning that when I was a teenager, and my dad got totally fed up with the state of my room, I would be sent there and not permitted to leave until it met Standard. I don’t think he realized how much I loved doing that. Yes, I was a pat rack (I kept *receipts* from memorable experiences with friends and family) but I did purge some stuff. Plus, I got to blare my stereo with whatever band/album I was obsessed with at the time.

We live busy lives. Norman and I both work and have our own individual activities that help keep us sane and feeling fulfilled. A has her own list of events and friends and classes outside of school. What I’m trying to say here, is as much as I want to lock myself in the house for a week and do nothing but purge and organize, I need to be realistic with myself that I can only eat that elephant one bite at a time.

I think the happy medium is to actually schedule time on my calendar to eat that elephant. To create an agreement with my husband and my child that for that time, I want to be left alone with my organizational mind, trash can and music. To look at everything I pick up with a critical eye if I truly need that Stuff or if I can take a picture for the memories and move forward (hello Kid Art!) Even better – each one of us should have a list of areas to purge. The family room is the best place to start so we can do the room transformation on time and take it off the home project list.

When I feel the need to change I often don’t verbalize it. Then no one knows, I can continue to beat myself over the head and I don’t have to face the work. So here is my first declaration to the universe that I’m ready to move forward with reducing the Stuff in my life. (Bonus – I believe doing so will open up other opportunities in my life) Particularly since this Stuff rules space in my brain that can be better utilized.

And so the work begins….