Discussing Sex & Rape With Our Daughters

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Discussing Sex & Rape With Our Daughters
How much, if at all, should we discuss with our daughters?

It was 7:30 in the morning. We were supposed to be on the road already so that I could take her to school. This wasn’t the type of thing I could wrap up in a few minutes and tried to squirm out of the discussion.

“Baby, we’re late now. Let’s get going. Ok?”

She pursed her lips and seemed to be fine with ending the conversation, at least until we got into the car, that is. Then, she picked back up where she’d left off.

So I measured my words and told her the truth. “Well, honey, your dad...I mean…the sperm donor—because your dad is actually at work right now,” I began nervously, “he…he wasn’t one of those good guys we watch in your favorite movies.”

She frowned. “Really? Well, what happened?”

I sighed.

She was ten. She wasn’t getting the details that even grownups didn’t know how to handle. I thought about lying, and telling her that he was dead, something, anything. I couldn’t think. But I remembered how I could never talk to my own mother, so I tried again and continued with, “ well, not everyone who father’s a child is a good father…or even…wants to be a father.”

“Well, where is he?”

“Hmm…?,” I pretended not to hear what she’d asked. Sometimes, it can be difficult to turn off my mommy-ears, which allows me to listen half-heartedly to bits and pieces of conversations, picking up the most important details while filtering out much of the nonessential information that she fills my ears with.

So she repeated the question.

“Oh….Prison, I think.”

“Prison? Wow, he must really be bad then? Well, what’s he in there for?”

I replied honestly, “I’m not sure, baby. But the bottom line is, I knew a long time ago…after he hurt me…that he wasn’t good for you. I knew I wouldn’t allow him to be in your life. He won’t get a chance to hurt you.”

“He hurt you? What did he…?”

“None of that matters now, baby,” I interrupted before she could finish the question.

That seemed to satisfy her. “Oh. K,” she said looking at me from the corner of her eye.

And like that, I could breathe again and turned up the radio where the Fray’s “How To Save A Life” was just starting. “Believe me, baby. Your dad may not be your biological father…. And I know he can be…” I was searching for the right word, but couldn’t find it, so I tried again. “Just know that he only fusses ’cause he loves you and is trying to keep you from getting hurt.”

She sighed, “I know.” Her large almond-slanted eyes briefly gazed back at me, but not the way the sperm donor’s had. “I just wish he’d lighten up sometimes.”

“Me too. He’s working on it though. Right?”

She rolled her eyes and squeezed her hands together. “Yeah, I guess.”

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