A few years ago, I spent time teaching in American Elementary and Middle Schools. I have many friends with young children, and I was once a child myself. I was in fact a child who suffered from sexual abuse, by a child not much older than myself.
This is one of those things that gets up people of the whole “legitimate” abuse crowd. I was a child, he was a child. How can we blame him? Even I, who was the one hurt, also find it hard. I look at other people, people who were supposed to be watching us. I look to his family because, let’s be honest, how many little boys know the ins and outs of oral? “If you tell anyone, you’ll get in lots of trouble. Your dad will be really mad at you and everyone will hate you”, and it worked. I was 14 before I ever spoke up and told anyone.
This is something I also noticed. This boy stole other people’s toys. He wouldn’t let anyone else have attention. He had a silver tongue and got things others would not. People found it amusing when he told huge lies, and he did lie. A lot. Still does, in fact.
So, I find this blog by Kate Elliott very interesting. I’m not saying that all little boys who break things will turn into rapists, but I do believe that it is important to teach children that hurting others, taking what doesn’t belong to them, playing where they aren’t wanting, making people scared are not good. It’s not funny to hurt others. A little kid punching another kid isn’t a reason to giggle and talk about how tough a kid s/he is! That puts the idea of “oh, I get positive attention when I hit people! YAY!” and it continues.
Teaching children social lessons like this, starting with simple ideas that can be easily translated to more complex as they age, is IMPORTANT. So important. I’m not sure how many rape victims you know, but I know more than I would like. And the people who hurt them all had that sense of entitlement. That they deserved what they took, that it was owed in someway. That it looked available and they had a right to take it.
It needs to start at a young age. “Boys” (or girls) don’t HAVE to be “boys”. It’s better if they’re “good kids”.