Yesterday on the bus, I had the misfortune of timing my trip at the exact time a grade school was released from class. Sitting next to hordes of small children, who all seemed to yell when speaking, I overheard all of their conversations. An evidently eventful day was recounted by a group of boys, and the story they told was both incredibly disturbing and significant.
Apparently, on the school playground a young boy decided to “pants” (the act of pulling down someone else’s pants) a young girl because he was “horny”.
The way the story was told justified the act because of the boy’s horniness. The other children then continued to comment on how horrified the girl was and also continued to talk about her “sexy underwear.”
What we really have to ask ourselves from these types of incidents, is what are we teaching our children about respecting each other’s bodies?
This situation is disturbing on so many levels; not only did one child violate another’s body, but other children justified this act by writing it off because of horniness.
This is a prime example of rape culture. We live in a world where acts of violation are normalized and often justified, and we can easily see this through the actions of our children.
These eleven to twelve year olds may not realize the significance of what they have just done and said, but as adults, we can see something insidious in their words and actions.
What is often difficult to realize, is that these children are one day going to turn into men. In a country where sexual assaults occurs every two minutes, it is essential to start talking to our kids before it is too late. As Carina Kolodny writes in “The Conversation You Must Have With Your Sons”, the ‘creepy men’ (as she refers to them) who make life unsafe for our daughters came from somewhere.
When we ask ourselves, “who are these ‘creepy men’ and where did they come from AND who in the hell raised them”, we have to come to the conclusion that these are our sons.
Evidently, from what I overheard on the bus, these conversations need to start young. At an age appropriate level, children can easily be taught to respect one another.
Though this article scrutinizes the actions of children, it is not directed at the boys on the bus, this is cry to the parents who need to have conversations with their sons before it is too late.
Watch Pages Matam’s spoken word piece about an equally problematic conversation he overheard on the bus: