A Difficult Subject
Wearing my Blog Spy hat, I’ve come across something that I feel is both difficult to deal with and important – well, it’s not just something that I feel is important, it is important – it’s bloody vital in fact.
This, apparently, is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the USA. I suppose that the very worst aspect of this is that it’s sufficiently widespread that there appears to be a need for such a movement at all – what is it with humanity that it can be so damned awful?
Sorry, I digress somewhat… Anyway, I came across this site and I was struck by this realistic and apparently honest post by a victim of childhood sexual abuse – I said this was a difficult subject, didn’t I? It’s also much more serious than I tend to be on this site. However, the post is not particularly ugly, or graphic, but in my opinion it does go a long way towards explaining many of the failures and difficulties of our current approach to this whole matter. If you feel inclined (and I hope you do) please take a few moments to go and read this quite long, but well written article on the subject of one young girl’s experiences and the views it has left her with. The blog is called “Sociology of Sheena” and is full of interesting material on all sorts of subjects. The writer is Sheena LaShay and, in spite of her childhood experiences, she appears to be a well balanced and exciting young woman with artistic flair.
The piece in question, to my mind, quite clearly indicates what I have long thought is silly – the daft idea that we should “protect” children from knowledge about sex, rather than discussing it openly as “just another topic”. Of course, one needs to keep what our young ones hear, see and experience within the bounds of what they can understand at their particular age, but attempting to keep children ignorant of reality and what is euphemistically called “innocent” is, I think, not only utter tripe, but inherently dangerous for the kids themselves. Knowledge is power and ignorance equals increased risk. In the case of children, they are instinctively more aware of sex (at its most basic level) than most adults appear to realise and trying to pretend otherwise is just plain ridiculous as well as doing the children themselves a huge disservice.
What we are often foisting onto our children is a composite of our own hang-ups, insecurities and embarrassments about a subject that is vital to both us and future generations. If you don’t try very hard to be open and honest with your children on this vital subject, then it’s not doing them any good. They have to know about sex, whether you wish that was so or not. Heck, they have a right to know about sex and the best way you can teach them is by being easy, confident and unflustered by the subject, answering any questions they may have in a sensible and appropriate way. When a young child first asks the dreaded “where did I come from” question, a simple “mummy”, or “mummy’s tummy” is sufficient – when it’s not enough, they’ll ask again.
In spite of its apparent prevalence if we listen to the media, serious sexual abuse of children (particularly deliberate abuse by paedophiles) is much rarer than many think it is and, in any event, an informed child is a forewarned child – just be aware that making them scared of the world, sex and strangers is not a good idea unless they can get the danger into perspective (and if you can’t, they won’t). Most sexual abuse involves someone the child knows and only becomes really serious because the child cannot spot it for what it is and talk about it to understanding adults who will not become horrified and make the child feel dirty, guilty or at fault – especially if, at a basic level, that child experiences some physical pleasure, whilst at the same time being emotionally distraught and/or confused – that is just nature.
Once again – please take the time to read the full article here.
Sex is never a bad thing, it’s a beautiful thing, but there are those who misuse it and abuse trust placed in them.