Do we make it easy for the strong to prey on the weak?
For the sake of argument, let us assume that the men are strong and the women weak, though victims and perpetrators come from all genders and all age groups and all races and religions.
We teach our girls that they must resist and be chaste and virtuous.
We teach them guilt.
To be otherwise is not to be a good woman.
We teach our boys that they must chase and not take no for an answer.
We teach them entitlement.
To be otherwise is not to be a man.
What if we reversed the lessons? Or better yet, what if we taught them all the same things?
What if we taught our girls entitlement, and our boys guilt?
What if we taught them that they are entitled to their own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual spaces, but not to someone else’s? That when they invade other people’s personal spaces, even after they’ve been told not to, they ought to feel guilty. Guilty enough to apologise and to change, and not to let someone else do it.
What if we taught them that pushing the boundaries to get more out of work or study or play is alright, but not if you are shrinking someone else and taking away their power.
There’s so much work to be done.
Happy birthday to Cousin E, who like the other good men in the family, is capable of being both caring and strong. May we help Little K, and those who come after, navigate a better world than the one we find ourselves in.