7 Ways Not To Raise A Little Rapist

I am raising my sons to respect women, which all of us should be doing.

little boy wearing a mask Art_Photo/ Shutterstock

I'm a rape victim twice over. 

I have three sons and I do not want one of those three to grow up and become a rapist. They've got the equipment — I should know; I changed their diapers. They could have the will to use it in ways that aren't consensual. Ways that aren't OK. Ways that count as rape.

I stand between them and the world of women, these sons of mine, and I must rise to the task: I am their mother. I must teach them not to rape.


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Here are 7 ways not to raise a little rapist:

1. Teach them to respect women

No blonde jokes. No jokes about how women can't parallel park, or do anything else for that matter. We talked about Hillary Clinton and the historical event of her presidential nomination. We learn about Susan B. Anthony and scorn a world where women couldn't vote. We scorn Saudi Arabia, where women aren't allowed to drive.


I teach them to hold doors, not because women are weaker, but because they are worthy of respect. As they get older, we'll discuss domestic violence and the weakness of a man who'd hit a woman (and vice-versa). I teach my sons to see women as equal to men.

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2. Teach them consent

No one has the right to touch my sons unless they are told they may do so. Relatives must ask before giving them a kiss or a hug, and if they say no ... well, Aunt Sue isn't getting a hug.

And she isn't allowed to guilt him or act as if he's behaved badly. His body, his choice. This helps ward off child sexual abuse.


3. Teach them about their private parts

We tell them that no one has the right to touch their private areas unless they are washing them, they are hurt, or the doctor needs to examine them.

In those cases, only mom or dad or the doctor has the right to touch, and they must inform them that "I'm going to have to touch your penis real quick" before they do so. This helps keep them from being victims of child sexual abuse, which is a risk factor for abusing others (i.e. rape).

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4. Teach them about alcohol

Right now, we talk about how wine is a mommy and daddy drink. We drink it openly; we drink it without fanfare. We do not get drunk in front of them and do not allow others to be so.


As they get older, we'll talk more about alcohol: how it lowers inhibitions, and how it can make you act stupid. How you can blackout and not know what you're doing or what happened?

We'll make sure they know they can drink in moderation. Unfortunately, it's illegal for them to drink before 21, which would be the best way for them to see that drinking alcohol is no big deal, and can be done without binge drinking.

5. Teach them about bodies

We're pretty much nudists around my house. I get my makeup on without wearing a top. The baby runs around without pants on.

They see bare chests, and even bare genitals, on a regular basis. These are no mystery to them.


They know they are not allowed to touch or accidentally rub against these places.

If the baby, for example, is sitting naked on someone, we shoo him off and make him put on pants. Bodies are not a mystery to my children, but they know that all bodies must be respected.

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6. Point out rape culture

We don't allow our sons to listen to pop music about "blurred lines," or music that are overly sexualized. Because usually, if it's oversexualized, it's about getting with some girl — and the girl is never given a voice.

As they get older, we'll point out more examples of rape culture, such as cases in the news, comments about women, "she had it coming to her," comments about her dress, and so on.


7. Talk about how mama doesn't feel as safe at night as daddy

They know that we can't go to the local trails without one of our big dogs because Mama's scared of who she might encounter there. They know that as long as daddy's along, we can leave the dog at home. We've talked a little bit about safety at night, and as they get older, we'll talk about it more.

As a mother, one of my main duties to my sex is to raise boys that will not rape. Period. I need to raise the kind of boys, like the grad students on bicycles, who will intervene in rape and prevent it from going any further.

Those are the kind of kids we need: not more date rapists, but more men who will stop date rape when they see it.


Who will escort drunk girls home? Who will see them safely to their beds without jumping in with them? That's the kind of man we need. That's the kind of man I hope to raise.

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Elizabeth Broadbent is a writer and regular contributor to Scary Mommy. Her work has appeared on Today Show Parents, Babble, xoJane, Mamapedia, and Time Magazine Ideas.