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.

Just Posted

Only steps away: Gutsy Walk returns to Kelowna

The walk to cures for Crohn’s disease and colitis comes June 2

Sister of cancer victim cycles across Canada to raise awareness

Her journey started on May 14 and will end in early August

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to the Okanagan

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone Award Foundation charity weekend in Kelowna

Woman in hospital after being thrown off horse

She was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital from Okanagan Falls

Update: Washed out South Okanagan road temporarily closed for assessment

A portion of Eastside Road, south of Penticton, appears to be crumbling into Skaha Lake

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Okanagan art gallery releases their theme

Fine arts painting will be the point of focus for this year’s event

South Okanagan search and rescue help injured climber

Search and rescue called on the assistance of a helicopter to help retrieve an injured hiker

Okanagan nature centre fundraiser goes western

Allan Brook’s Nature Centre Wine and Wild West Fundraiser is on July 6

Marriage proposal on the big screen at Enderby drive-in

Kelowna man gets engaged in front of hundreds to Vernon sweetheart

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Firefighters respond to bus fire on Highway 1

Smoke in coach bus reported to have been caused by overheating, driver and passengers safe

Most Read