Before I begin – all comments will be moderated on this post. Proceed accordingly.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened in Santa Barbara, CA this past weekend. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. For those of you who don’t know/have been camping out in the woods for the past week or so, last weekend a man stabbed three people in his apartment, got into his car with loaded weapons, and began shooting at people. He ran over at least one person with his car. 6 people, as well as the shooter, are dead and several others are wounded. He was a member of the “men’s rights movement”, a member of different bodybuilding communities, and was interested in the “pick-up artist” movement as well. He posted hate-filled misogynistic videos on his YouTube channel (not linking – you can Google that garbage yourself without my help). Ironically, the bodybuilding community could have been really helpful to a person like him, but I digress.
You might have noticed I haven’t mentioned his name. He could be any man, really. Certainly any man who feels like they’re entitled to sex with any woman they choose, who don’t even realize the privilege they possess in our society, who are so angry at women’s perceived slights that they would kill complete strangers. His name is in the article I linked to; you can find it there.
I’m a parent, of a 12-year-old. She’s going to middle/junior high school next August. I am in terror. Incidents like this, frankly, don’t help. Not even things as huge as mass murder by drive-by. Little things, like being encouraged to try certain sports and not others. Like dress codes in her elementary school specifically directed toward girls (I have not seen a specific dress code for her new school, but have heard it’s not quite as strict). Like my daughter noticing that boys are treated very, very differently. Just knowing that my daughter could be in danger from her partner – not that we have to worry about that today, but it’s coming – makes me angry.
My impulse is to lock her away, to keep her safe. Reasonably speaking, I can’t do that. Other than that, I don’t know that there’s any way I can keep her safe. But I can speak to those of you reading this who are parents of boys:
Teach your boys to be decent human beings. Not perfect – just decent, responsible, caring humans. That’s what I want for my baby; either as a partner, a co-worker or a neighbor. So her parents don’t have to be afraid when she leaves the house. If more parents of boys would do that – and not just by telling them, but showing them how a decent human treats somebody who isn’t the same as them – none of us who are parents of girls would be quite so afraid and angry. Thanks.