There's been a lot of discussion about this, especially since many of us (myself included) don't feel like our experiences count. I've never been raped, and most of the harassment I've experienced has been because I'm pretty, or so I tell myself. And therefore I am told to ignore it. Which is, of course, the very definition of rape culture. You can't ignore catcalls or public groping and then turn around and reject date rape. That is what we are beginning to realize. Our autonomy extends far beyond the simple boundary of genital contact.
In this midst of all this, I have a 6 year old in kindergarten. She's mentioned a few times that there is a boy who likes to chase her. At first she was flattered, calling him her boyfriend. I chuckled and let it go. But later she complained that she didn't want to play chase.
This is where rape culture begins. With a little boy chasing an unwilling girl.I told her to tell him that she doesn't want to play chase, and I told her to not run. After all, what fun is it to chase a person who isn't running?
Then this morning she told me that she didn't like school. When I asked why, she reluctantly told me that it's because this boy is still chasing her. And the whole #MeToo campaign hit home for me. Because part of me thinks, "aww, this boy must have a crush on her." But with the awareness of #MeToo, I knew it was time to STOP this madness.
I turned and looked at my daughter and said, "You have the right to not be chased by him. You have the right to tell him to stop. Today on the playground, throw up your hands like this, get in his face, and say, 'Stop it! I don't want to play chase!'" Then I made her practice on me.
We think we don't need to talk to our children about sexual assault until they are older, but the reality of rape culture is that it begins as soon as kids start playing together.My daughter dealt with a similar situation to this in preschool. A boy there was calling her nicknames (not mean ones), and we practiced what to say to him. Thanks to her ability to assert herself with him, the nicknames stopped and the two of them became friends.
This is how I'm taking action to make #MeToo stop. By training my daughter to assert her autonomy and her boundaries now. And if the issue isn't resolved, I'm going to contact the boy's parents and talk with them. I won't be nasty. I'll simply explain what's going on and tell them to talk to their son. Because I'm sure he's a nice boy. In fact, he may well have a crush on my daughter, and doesn't know how to express it. So this is their chance to raise a son who will not perpetuate rape culture.