I was sexually assaulted 7 years ago and, though I have overcome a lot of the obstacles it placed in my life, I still struggle with it on a daily basis…
Becoming a mom 3 years ago made it even harder for me.
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My first is a boy. From the day we found out we were having a boy I swore up and down that I would raise my son to be more, to be better. I would teach him that sex isn’t everything and respect is so much more…and by all means, under no circumstance is he ever entitled to have sex with another human being…ever.
But in this culture of rape, this culture of sex that we live in, I wake up sweating at the thought of raising my son. I pass strip clubs, xxx stores, I flip through television stations and scroll through the internet and see how accessible sexual content is in our culture. I see it all and I’m scared. I am so scared that I will not and cannot adequately address how important it is to respect and care for others and himself – because any human being that has enough respect for himself would not disrespect and violate another in the way that rape does.
And I lie awake some nights and think about who his friends will be, where he will go and the things he will do. I think about how I will let him have his freedom, not hover, and allow him to do his “thing”…yet teach him that his “thing” can’t ever be violent, selfish or disrespectful. His thing can’t ever be rape. Not even once.
It can’t be.
It destroys me to even think about. I don’t know the answers, I don’t know how I will convey all of this, but I promise you that his father and I will. His father and I will lead by example and we will have the hard discussions. We will tell him and we will teach him that “20 minutes of action” is way more to the other person who will now be serving a life sentence that cannot be lessened for good behavior.
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My second is a girl. From the moment we were told that we were having a baby girl, I started to cry. My husband knew instantly that these were not tears of joy and held my hand as he could see my fear rise. See, I was beyond thrilled that I was having a girl. There could be no better addition to our family and she was, and is, an answer to so many prayers for me.
But because of the 10 minutes that were stolen from me 7 years ago, instead of the moments of mother/daughter bonding flashing through my mind, the moments of fear and dread overwhelmed me as I wondered what she would have to face in her life time.
And now, I lie awake thinking about her and the life she will lead. I wonder how I can adequately portray to her how important it is to protect and defend yourself. How important it is to surround yourself, at all times, with people that will fight for you in the moments that you can’t fight for yourself.
I will teach her not to be naive while trying to preserve her innocence. I will teach her that she doesn’t need to just fight for herself, but fight back for the respect and dignity of a woman in our culture.
I can’t bring myself to think about her getting hurt in anyway, but I’ll tell you now that I don’t know how I will keep it together if anyone ever violates her and takes away her dignity because they were taught someway, somehow, somewhere that they were entitled to have sex with my daughter, under any circumstance, without her consent.
And it shakes me to the core to think that right now, the odds aren’t in her favor.
I will protect her as much as I can and I will do my best to dress her in the strength and the wisdom to face this scary world on her own someday.
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So, as I lie awake and think about how I will raise my children…I tremble in anger and I shake in fear.
I’m angry because this is the world that we live in and these are the things we have to be worried about.
I’m angry because there are actually parents out there that are willing to defend the actions of their children that have torn down another human being.
I’m scared because I don’t know the answers and I don’t know, just yet, how I will convey to my children that everything about this culture of rape, this culture of sex is wrong.
I’m scared because, as much as I would like to, I know I cannot be with them at every second to protect them.
I’m scared that something so personal, something so intimate, could be destroyed in a matter of seconds for them.
I’m scared and I’m angry because of the feelings I still face every single day.
I will do everything in my power to raise good and respectful people who buy into a culture of love and culture of respect.
That’s a promise.
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