One of the greatest days of my life was September 26th, 2005, the day my oldest daughter was born. It was on that day that I felt true unconditional love for the first time.
As I held my infant daughter in my arms, I committed to her that I would always do everything in my power to keep her safe. I made that same promise to my youngest daughter when I held her for the first time on October 22nd, 2020.
Now that my oldest is nearly 16, I have already begun teaching her self-defense. She will know how to handle herself in the event someone gets too handsy.
I’ve taught her how to attack the soft tissue on a man like his eyes and throat, to go after his nuts, nose, knees, and kidneys to immobilize him.
Like so many other fathers, I am doing everything I can to prepare my little girl for the dating world.
But I cannot help but wish that instead of me teaching my young girl how to defend herself, our society was doing a better job of teaching our young men about consent.
. . .
I had three younger sisters growing up, and my father taught me to treat women with respect, to treat them the way I’d hope a guy would treat one of my little sisters.
When I started playing sports in high school and later when I joined a fraternity in college, I learned that not all guys had had my upbringing.
I heard “advice” like, “If a girl says ‘no,’ she means ‘maybe.’ If a girl says ‘maybe,’ she means ‘yes.’”
I heard guys brag about how they kept pushing and pushing, and then a woman finally said yes.
I’m scared to be a father and send my little girl out on dates with men who might take her “maybe” for a “yes” or might badger her into doing something she doesn’t want to do because they think that behavior is okay.
So I ask this: why are there self-defense courses for women, but not consent courses for men? Why are we not educating our young men on the nature of consent?
Isn’t teaching our women self-defense just like a doctor treating a disease’s symptoms instead of its cause?
What Men and Boys Should Know About Consent
Saying “no” can be done verbally and nonverbally, and it always means “no.”
You should follow the 7-38-55 rule of communication.
- 7% of communication is verbal.
You would hear one of the following examples: “yes,” “I’d love to,” “definitely,” etc.
- 38% of communication is tone.
Does she say “yes,” but she sounds scared? Did her voice get really quiet? Does she sound uncertain? Frankly, if a woman doesn’t sound enthusiastic about the act, that’s a no.
- 55% of communication is body language.
There are many examples here of types of non-consensual body language, but here are some: “pushing away, pulling away, avoiding eye contact, shaking their head no, silence, etc.”
It doesn’t matter how your partner communicates “no,” or if they first say “yes” and then say “no.” If they never give consent or revoke it, you should immediately stop.
Guys, it is our job to understand consent and hold each other accountable.
If you don’t have a full understanding of consent, then make sure to educate yourself.
Doing something with someone without their consent is a crime punishable by prison time. If you wind up in jail, you may not be so lucky to be housed with other inmates who understand consent, and you’ll want to be careful when you drop the soap.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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