#MeToo: Parents need to discuss sexual violence with their children

The recent #metoo movement has created a response from men called #howiwillchange.

Benjamin Law, an Australian author and journalist, introduced the hashtag in October of last year with the tweet shown below. This hashtag is relevant not just to men but parents also.


Parents need actionable steps that they will follow to address sexual violence when talking with their children.

It’s a messy conversation to have. However, the first step is explaining what sexual violence is to your child.

Sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s consent.

Teaching children about sexual violence does not only apply to boys. But girls too. The objective is to make children feel comfortable enough to speak up when they see something wrong.

Another reason to explain sexual violence is to make sure they understand the consequences if they were to take advantage of someone.

Next, we must teach respect.

This means respect all, regardless of race and gender. It is also important for children to know that sexual violence can also be viewed as someone bullying you.

In recent months, so many hashtags have circulated talking about the importance of understanding sexual violence. We are quick to jump on the bandwagon of #metoo and #timesup, but are parents doing their due diligence? Sure, we might say don’t hit girls but do we tell boys if girls hit you, don’t hit back?

Do we say just walk away?

We should be teaching our boys from a young age to respect women.

No, means no. Respect what is being said. If someone is drunk, put them in a cab and send them home. They are in no shape to make a rational decision.

Don’t touch anyone ever without their consent, not even a hug or a pat on the back.  It could be viewed the wrong way.

This begs the question, are we creating a sterile society where touching anyone, anytime can be viewed as inappropriate?  Do we need now to tell our kids to keep their hands to themselves, walk with their head down and avoid eye contact? Is this the world we are creating for our children’s future?  It does not have to be instead we could just be honest.  Tell our children to treat everyone the way they would like to be treated.

Respect everyone and don’t cave to peer pressure.

Parents will be setting a standard for their children and for future generations. We all need to respect boundaries and personal space.