Since the subject of rape seems to be present on boards a lot today after a few disturbing news stories that have broken I thought I'd ask peoples opinions on educating their daughters to take precautions / think about the bad consequences that can happen from seemingly unrelated decisions.Please be assured that I'm not for one second arguing for victim blaming or anything of the sort.
I will, however, at some point in my daughter's future be attempting to teach her decisions and actions can make her more likely to end up a victim of sexual assault.
Obviously as her father, I'm sure I'll consider the outfits she wears to discos to be too short, low cut or revealing in some fashion or other and being a grumpy old man at heart will bemoan the fashions of youth of the day completely forgetting the women of my own generation who dressed like streetwalkers (or the lads who's fashion derived from prison inmates). I'll try to hide those feelings however and attempt to teach her that to a scumbag section of society, her short skirt will make her "fair game".
I'll attempt to teach her to understand the effect of alcohol in the safety of our own home. I'm fond of good beer, wine and whiskey myself, to preach at her about temperance would make me an utter hypocrite. I'll still try to teach her that if she drinks to the point where she's not fully aware of her surroundings that she's putting herself at risk of the actions of those around her.
I'll attempt to educate her to the dangers of accepting drinks from strangers, to be wary of *any* drink she consumes that she hasn't prepared herself, seen poured from the beer tap or been present whilst the bottle of wine was opened. Regardless of the company.
I'll try to teach her to be a good judge of character but also to be aware that our judgement as fallible human beings can never be perfect and that there are people out there who, while seeming perfectly charming and nice can turn very nasty as soon as the bedroom door closes or she tells him she doesn't want to take things any further.
I'll try to teach her that even doing everything in her power to protect herself won't make her 100% safe, that the world is inhabited by men (and women) who are all shades of good and evil, that while it's not worth living one's life in fear, that it makes sense to not only look before you leap but to check the parachute is packed carefully and make sure your friends know where you are.
Of course, I'll be bringing her along to some form of martial art or self defence lessons at some stage to try and equip her with the skills to beat anyone who tries to harm her to a bloody pulp and making sure she knows Dad's mobile is always on for when she needs a body disposed of too!
Does this make me a pessimist? a realist? a sad indictment of the world we live in? Anyone else think along the same lines when you see news stories of opinion pieces on subjects such as the recent Slutwalks, rape-culture or victim-blaming etc?
As long as you emphasise that if anything does happen it's not her fault in much the same way that locking your house and getting robbed anyway is not your fault, teaching safety, general self-defense & the confidence it might bring, etc, sounds like a fine idea
It can be a balance between "be careful" and "if anything happens you weren't careful enough", so it has to be kept in mind to always emphasise the former
I wouldn't bother with martial arts as in a real-life situation it would be essentially useless or worse, dangerous if it instilled a false security. I would encourage her to practice and perfect the two moves that could save her life - a good hard kick in the groin and running away.
For the rest I hope I'm not being optimistic in presuming that she'll pick up basic street smarts on her own and will never hesitate to call is she needs anything.
I went to martial arts lessons as a young teenager. First class the guy (who was tiny and not remotely tough looking) said 'Right everyone, we are going to practice the most important move in any kind of self defence - start running'.
I believe being polite and confident can take you out of a bad situation faster than being rude and nervous.
I also think that teaching a girl to be open and allowing her to be so by not being judgemental is probably a good way to keep her safe.
My parents had a rule that I had to be home by midnight til I was 18. This resulted in my walking miles home alone on many occasions. They didnt want to listen, it was more important to stick to their rules than hang on an extra 20 or 30 minutes and have a group to walk home with. So dont be like that!
What do you suggest us parents of boys teach them about this subject, as they get older OP?
I agree with all of what username123 has said, especially this:
My parents always considered my safety, and that of my siblings, far more important than anything else. They were at the other end of the phone, day or night, if we needed them to come and get us - and they still are, no matter what. I think that is the most important thing you can give your child. The assurance that you love them and will always be there for them.
I would add that it is important that young people know that they are always safer with a friend or a group of friends than alone (male or female) and that they should stick with the group, at night time in particular.
In the majority of incidents I'm personally aware of it was someone who had wandered off on their own who was victimised. (And, for the record, it is not just girls who are raped. A guy I knew in college was raped by a gang of men when he was walking home alone one night.)
Actually, with the number of disappearances, violent attacks and beatings, and even murders of young men I would be just as concerned about a son as a daughter.
Was actually thinking about this the other day which is surprising considering my daughter is only 1.5yrs old
I think I'd end up being very straight with her, probably to the point where she thinks everything coming out of my mouth is cringe-worthy. I'd like her to assess situations smartly and learn street smarts so she isn't taken advantage of.
I will DEFINITELY push towards martial arts, boxing or something, its keep you fit, its a very healthy social activity and regardless of a lot of recent criticism about how training makes people overconfident, the ability to throw a strong punch, or perhaps (and it makes me sad even thinking about it) take a punch. While I agree that hollywood has perhaps overestimated the abilities of the average student, I see no reason to not have her somewhat prepared.
That was actually meant to be the last paragraph, d'oh! I fully agree, it's important to make sure you'll love them no matter what and that even if they do something stupid and something goes horribly wrong, it's not their fault if someone else hurts them.
I do, however, believe it's important for them to be able to recognise that "yes, I did something stupid". You need to be able to recognise your mistakes in life in order to both (a) forgive yourself for them and (b) learn from them.
I'm not saying that anyone walking through a dark park at night deserves to be mugged/raped/murdered. I am saying they need to recognise it's a stupid thing to do and that, nice as it would be to live in a world where that was safe, that world doesn't exist.
Given the behaviour of most teenagers, particularly those from nice families who haven't had to learn their street smarts the hard way, I think it's important not to assume that they'll pick them up themselves.
First lesson in every martial art is to run when you can. I would be thinking along the lines of Krav Maga or similar reality based arts, however and teaching her that if someone tries to pin her down she's well within her moral rights to break his nose / leg / castrate him in order to facilitate her escape
Much of the same but more directed towards the dangers they're more likely to face: on-street intimidation, random violent attacks etc. On the subject of rape specifically? I'd be horrified if I had to explain basic respect for other human beings to my step-son but he will get a "no means no" conversation at the time it becomes an issue (he's only 6 at present).
Yep, my daughter's only 3 but I think it's worth thinking about teaching them to accept consequences and learn to spot appropriate dangers as soon as you can. Rory, for example knows that going out on the road without mammy, daddy or her big brother can result in being "squished like a tomato and that we'd be very sad that she wasn't here to play with any more".
I'm not about to explain the dangers of rohypnol to a 3 year old but I don't believe in wrapping them up in cotton wool and leaving them in la-la-land where evil doesn't exist and bad things don't happen.
I do think that it is important that us as parents do our best to try to make sure that our children are aware of the dangers when it is appropriate to do so. Like you OP my 6 year old son knows that going into the road without looking could result in him being squished, and I'm now trying to make him see that he can't go and talk to any person, dog etc... because its not always safe to do so.
It is difficult and I know that I am going to be overprotective of him, I'll be the one holding his hand when he is going to uni
The most important lesson that I think he is learning at the moment is that if someone (ie another child) is being rough, hurtful or aggressive to him then he must walk away and tell an adult. Unfortunately this has happened to him and a young lad took a dislike to him and swung a punch at him, luckily I had copped what was happening and managed to stop it connecting. My fella would probably have smacked him back, but I need him to realise that this isn't the right thing to do and I think starting young is the way to do it.
I would hate him to get into fights when he is older and would much rather he had the confidence and self esteem to just walk away from it.
Lets hope with all our hard work we can give our children the coping skills they need
I'm actually the opposite, I'd rather my daughter clouted the other kid back. Think back on your school-days, what kid ever managed to simply walk away from a fight? I know violence isn't a nice thing but it's a reality of the world we live in and I think it's important to parent our children in that world rather than some imaginary one where everything is sunshine and lollipops, bullies don't exist and teachers have the power to put everything right.
Like it or not, your children will most likely be sharing a school with others whose parents aren't as pro-active as you are with your parenting. Some will be reactive parents, only dealing with problems as they arise rather than attempting to parent in a way to positively influence their children, others tragically just don't give a sh[black]it[/black]: they were dragged up and they'll drag their children up.
Being able to stand up for oneself is a very important factor in self confidence and self-respect. Combined with being taught that they'll most likely have a better life than the kid who tries to bully them I think letting your children know they're allowed to, and should, stand up for themselves physically when attacked is more likely to work in the real world than telling them to "walk away and tell teacher".
I think i would be with sleepy on this.
If someone attacked her i have told her to hit them back and to fight dirty ( bite till they bleed- rip their skin off with her teeth /poke their eyes- gouge their eyes out/ pull hair / punch their throat) also that she would have more power in her elbows and knees than kicking and punching so to use them to get more force/power
I would also tell her to leave DNA and to get DNA, (hair/saliva/blood) either with the finger nails or to leave traces on her attacker. She loves CSI so knows that stuff
Ive talked to her about rape, no meaning no and so on.
I will be teaching her about the dangers of drinking too much, going off alone with someone, walking home alone etc etc. I will be teaching her that I don't mind what time of night she calls, but I would come and get her rather than have her stuck for a way home.
I will also be teaching her to trust her instincts and that she should listen to that little voice inside her telling her something isn't right. To never fear offending someone by running away or not accepting a drink if something about it feels off.
Too many men and women ignore the primitive warning system inside us and don't get ourselves out of bad situations for fear of looking silly or offending someone.
My daughter asks "what time do I have to be home at?" ... my answer is "it doesn't matter (within reason) as long as you all come home together".
Up until the last line I thought you were talking about playground scuffles. I thought it was a little OTT.
I was talking about attempted abduction, attack from a male adult /older male teen , attempted rape (you get the idea?) . That can happen at any age, anywhere night or day. It would be ott for a playground situation but the thread isn't about playground situations its about teaching you kids to be safe in an attack / rape / abduction situation. I tell her to do anything possible to get away and the key places she can hurt someone to be able to make an escape but also gather evidence at the same time.
My dad always told me the best place you can get someone is the eyes. Ive never had to use that piece of advice even when i walked home alone at 2 am after an 18s disco at 16. The best advice i can give my daughter if attacked is to go for the eyes, if they cant see you, they cant hurt you!
My daughter likes CSI/crime programmes and it offers a lot of opportunities to discuss certain situations and what to do.
*recon i should have used 'attack' rather than 'hit' and then you might of seen where i was coming from.
Just wondering about the OTT bit. Do you consider defending yourself against rape/attempted rape/attempted abduction/attack is OTT?
How far can someone defend themselves before its OTT?
Personally i would defend myself until either i was dead or he was dead. Im not the a person who is going to lie there and take it and then be murdered.