Morton: Arming children with language to combat predators

During the interview of a lifetime with Tarana Burke, founder of the Me Too movement, I found my mind drifting to thoughts of my niece and the possibility she may grow up in a better world.

Burke said that the focus now needs to be put on children and the conversations we have with them in regard to sexual violence.

She said that if we do, we may be able to see a real cultural shift away from rape culture in the next 30 years. Something I thought was only mere fantasy.

We spoke about how the movement is nothing like what she wanted it to be 26 years ago, once the viral hashtag came out and Hollywood attached to it the demons of toxic masculinity that began furiously bubbling to the top of headlines and front pages.

Burke talked about the next steps and how she will hurtle the movement forward to support not only women who have been sexually harassed in their careers, but also to return the focus to protecting binary and non-binary people, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of colour.

The SACHA sexual assault centre in Ontario says that 99 per cent of sexual assaults are committed by men. One in three women and one in six men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

Indigenous women are three times more likely to be assaulted than any other race and women with disabilities are more vulnerable.

In Canada there are 460,000 sexual assaults every year and only five per cent of survivors report to the police, which means it’s easy to come to the conclusion that these numbers are actually much higher.

READ MORE: Founder of Me Too movement speaks in Kelowna

Burke tasked the audience and parents, upon her departure, to give children, as young as three years old, the language to describe sexual violence and consent.

She said, as parents, we are constantly telling children, “don’t sit on that stranger’s lap,” “don’t talk to strangers,” “don’t let them touch you.”

However, she said these comments sound like rules and puts the onus on the child. If something happens they feel as if their parent’s rule has been broken and they internalize the blame and hide it from their parents for fear of disappointing them.

That fear perpetuates rape culture, which has already entwined itself into modern society and is fed by victim blaming instead of teaching men not to rape.

Arming children with new language as their sword and shield, emblazoned with their parent’s unconditional love, will allow them to combat potential predators.

It gives them the silky white steed they can gallop upon to their parents and report immediately any inappropriate behaviour they have had inflicted upon them.

I think about the world that my sweet niece, with flowing bronze hair, who is the kindest soul I have had the honour to meet is going to grow up in, and I think that is a world without sexual violence, is a world worth fighting for by having the tough conversation, and one that every child deserves.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@sydneyrmorton
sydney.morton@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

UPDATE: Police investigating after hydrant hit by van in West Kelowna

The incident occurred around 5:40 p.m. near Boucherie Road

North and Central Okanagan on flood watch

Kalamalka Lake users are asked to take measure to reduce the risk… Continue reading

Okanagan-shot film “The Colour Rose” wins two cinematography awards

Locations in the Okanagan were used such as; The Casorso residence, BNA, Father Pandosy, Venture Academy and Idabel Lake Resort

Kelowna couple pedalling past loss of sight

Pauline and Jim Marshall said it’s important to be patient with each other

Pregnant Revelstoke woman catches COVID-19 days before giving birth

Michelle Hunter said she felt like she was in a horror movie when she discovered she had COVID-19

Vernon chamber backs council’s opposition of downtown overdose prevention site

The chamber sent a letter to B.C.’s health minister calling for the site not to be located downtown

Princeton RCMP stop men intent on jumping off bridge

Princeton RCMP investigating a trespassing complaint arrived in time to stop two… Continue reading

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

Bird knocks out power for thousands in North Okanagan

Evening outage was brief, but affected nearly 3,000 residents

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

Most Read