I’m not gonna write a big detailed masterpost on this topic, because it’s not a major area of expertise for me. I just want to point out a couple ways people screwed up in teaching *me* about rape.
One was that in kindergarten, we were taught that “no one should touch your private parts except your parents or a doctor.” This is fucked up for two reasons. One, a LOT of sexual assault on children is done by parents and doctors *precisely because* these people have easy access and are considered “safe”. Two, they should have taught us that ANY touch on ANY part of your body that you don’t consent to is not okay.
The other was that at some point, when I was maybe 8 or 9, I heard the word “rape” on TV and asked someone - I think my mom - what it meant. She refused to tell me, maybe because she thought it would scare me, maybe because she just didn’t want to talk to me about something involving sex. Kids NEED to know that rape is a thing, because kids can be raped. It’s a thing that happens. And if a kid is old enough that the word “rape” has entered their consciousness, they are old enough to be told what it is. You don’t have to go into graphic detail and give them nightmares. All you have to say is that rape is when someone does something sexual to another person without that person’s permission, and talk about how that relates to what you’ve (hopefully) already taught them about how people shouldn’t touch you without permission.
This is one big reason, by the way, why I am vehemently anti-spanking and anti-other forms of coercion in childcare. Teaching children to never say no to an adult, teaching them that their bodies are the property of people who are bigger than them, etc. - this is a big part of rape culture. I would rather see children who aren’t “well-behaved” but have an understanding of personal boundaries than children who believe it’s acceptable for a bigger person to push a smaller person around. Everything you do to a kid influences the values they internalize, and I want kids to know that shit doesn’t fly. Not only because they need to know they deserve to be safe, but also because someday THEY will be the big people who have the power to abuse someone else.
Bolded, yes, THAT.
This is so incredibly true and important.