Me: There’s absolutely no difference raising Keyo at this time in his life, than it was when I was raising Kendi. It’s just a baby for now, not a boy or a girl. Maybe that will change later, when the world has had time to tell him that he’s better than Kendi and even me, because he’s male and we’re, well, not.
Savannah had asked me if it was different raising Keyo.
Might Keyo one day grow up and rape someone? Yes!
Might he one day grow up and touch his classmate’s bottom as she passes him in class? Yes!
Might he one day think, ‘She deserved it, look at what she was wearing, plus she was drunk’? Yes!
Here’s the thing with sexual violence- it’s violence. You wouldn’t hit someone with a shovel and call it gardening. You hit them with a shovel- that’s violence. Does it matter that the person was wearing green? Does it matter that the person was standing out on the lawn in the rain? Does it matter, that the person has been known to like picking up shovels at the hardware store once in a while? You. Hit. Them. With. A. Shovel.
It occurs to me (and heart-breakingly so) that it doesn’t matter how well I set out to raise my son, or protect my daughter (because the world is very busy telling me that the way to prevent rape, is to somehow ensure that a rapist doesn’t find my daughter walking home, singing in my kitchen, at a bar, in church, anywhere. As if rapists only look for victims, and if none are found- they have been taught how to prevent being found- then there wouldn’t be any rapists), society will tell them that men cannot control their urges (that’s what sexual violence is called-urges) and men are entitled to fulfill said urges (violent tendencies) with the next woman-their wife, daughter, niece, cousin, girlfriend, colleague, best friend, stranger, nurse, masseuse, house keeper.
My sweet, cute, thumb-sucking Keyo, might one day rape someone! And this horrific thought is what makes me stop and think, well, how can I make sure that never happens? Because if I educate one little boy at a time, I don’t have to teach little girls, the very stupid, un-achievable task of not getting raped.
In the same way I can’t teach them how not to get murdered.