Firstly, as a woman and a mother of a daughter, one of my greatest fears is rape. The trauma is unimaginable and hearing victims’ stories is difficult. Secondly, as a mum of 12 and 10 year old boys, I never thought I’d be afraid of them being victims too but that’s the reality, right? And it sickens me to my core… I never wanted them to even be introduced to the idea of it until they were much older and only when it became necessary for them to know about it from a point of view that no means no, no matter what.
Recently, as we drive to and from school everyday, news boards flash the word rape daily… rape in schools, rape in Hollywood, rape by caregivers, by family members and war criminals. I’ve turned the radio off to avoid hearing about it all the time. It doesn’t go away unfortunately and we need to educate our kids about it.
We ask ourselves why, why is it so prevalent in our country especially? Do men feel so insignificant that the only way to feel powerful is by forcing themselves on defenseless children and women? Where does the feeling of insignificance stem from? Is it because of a lack of guidance, good role models and positive parenting?
The sad truth is that a majority of kids in our country are raised in fatherless homes (I myself can relate to that). A huge majority of parents need both incomes to sustain a basic standard of living too. Kids are left alone, vulnerable and often without proper direction because parents are busy trying to earn a living. This makes it easy to find the wrong company or for the wrong company to find them. In a case involving the rape of a mentally disabled girl by 11 teens and young adults, none of the accused showed any remorse… possibly because they don’t realise that there actions are wrong. Not being able to understand the consequence of your actions means that you are incapable of deciphering between right and wrong. That is shocking.
Life has become undeniably stressful. Time isn’t on our side anymore. Parents are constantly occupied with just keeping head above water. Options are few for many parents due to financial constraints and it’s not their fault. It isn’t a community raising a child and that’s part of the problem. We need action, desperately and urgently, starting with spreading awareness amongst children about their bodies, about boundaries, about safety, about respect. We need a harsher judicial system for offenders and people in power who are above the law… if our leaders disrespect and abuse women, why shouldn’t everyone else?
Click here to find Protective Behaviours, an NGO dedicated to the goal of creating a safe environment for kids and adults.
This article was originally written for Jozikids by Fatima Kazee in 2017.