I will try and keep this short but there is such a lot to it.
On Monday my beautiful Tilly (6y) ,who all those who know me and her can confirm tests every boundary set for her, was reprimanded at school for indecent exposure. The thing is she was encouraged to do so by a bunch of 11 year old boys, who are still laughing about it and didn't even get in trouble. This is where it starts. Boys are taught that it is ok to treat little girls like this and as my mum said "in a few years time they will think it is ok to do what ever they like to 13 year old girls"
Once a month as part of my job as a centre support worker I take a woman to see her children for 1 hour- can u imagine 1 hr a month is all the time you get to see your kids, I miss mine if they go away for a night. This woman's life has been a series of abuses by men. We sat in the winter sun waiting for them to come and she told me of the heart ache of not having her children living with her and she cried broken sobs. During the access, which was actually for the most part lovely, she had to endure hearing her kids call their foster carer "mummy", on the phone and I saw her wince as it physically hurt her. On the way home in the car she shared with me her hatred of boys then men who have assaulted her and what it has done to her over the years. Yet most people would see her as a "bloody junky" that needs to simply stop taking drugs.
I get back to the center and there outside is this beautiful young lady that couldn't have been any older that 18 but probably more likely to be 16,scantily dressed even though it was cold and about to sell her body, to finance her boy friends habit. Some of the older sex workers talked of him sitting across the road earlier in a hotted up car, music blaring. It was if a line was being drawn from Tilly at 6y to my above mentioned woman in my head. I wondered if that boy was allowed to tease small girls into doing stuff that was inappropriate just as those boys in my daughters school had done;when he was young, had his dad, uncles, older male friends, encouraged him to look at the female form as a sex object rather than with respect?What had happened to make it ok in his brain to exploit someone he confesses to care about?Because it is in childhood that these opinions start to be formed- it makes me sad that our young boys are growing up without being taught to respect and honor woman in the name of equality and sexual freedom.
I did not sleep well last night as I have 2 girls, one who is approaching her teen years with a frightening pace and I worry for them. The sexual objectification of young woman appears to be normal in our society and accepted by all forms of main stream media. Why what value does it add? What will my girls allow boys then men to do to them because it is socially expectable in the future?How do I protect them without sheltering them? And the big picture question how do I as a liberated free woman affect social change to stop the cycle happening again and again? The answer I have to all of those questions is I just don't know, I just cant be quiet about it any longer.