Thursday, July 26, 2007

What's the Big Deal About a "Butt Slap"?

I want to start off by saying that I think labeling these kids as sex offenders is overkill, and that jail time is overkill too.

Now, let me rage.

I'm fucking sick to death of the harassment of women and girls being minimized like this. I'm sick of the "boys will be boys" attitude that pervades our culture. I'm sick of people using cutesy words like "butt slaps" instead of "groping" or "assaulting". I'm tired of the assumption that teenage boys are hardwired to act like assholes, and the people who refuse to believe that boys do this shit because they know they CAN- that they can shame girls into silence by threatening to call them a slut, or by threatening to do worse things to them, or tell people that the girl liked it. I'm tired of girls being told that they have to look the other way or wait for guys to grow out of it, and that they're overreacting, or worse yet, telling an adult that a boy grabbed your breast and hearing "That just means he likes you! (chuckle) You should take it as a compliment!"

THIS SHIT IS HOW IT STARTS. The groping and bra snapping and comments are the first concrete steps of teaching girls that their bodies are not their own, that they have to put up with unwanted touching, that even people they don't like can touch them and there's not a damned thing they can do about it.

I can recite a whole laundry list of incidents like this that I went through - the earliest starting in 5th grade, and stretching through college. Nowhere was safe: the school bus, the skating rink, the hallways in class, during classes, out in the neighborhood, at parties, even in my own home with my brother's friends. And I bet every woman reading this has their own stories.

This is one of the things that scares me about raising a daughter. I know some day, she'll be faced with this shit, and I hope to god that she will trust me enough to tell me, and that I will have the strength to help her deal with it like a grown up (and not pull a Molly Weasley, "Not my daughter, you bitch!" KABOOM!, which would be my first inclination). I want her to be confident and know she doesn't have to tolerate it. I want all girls to know that. But most of all, I want the boys to know it too.


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