Raising Enlightened Sons in a Rape Culture
In a nation where 1 in every 6 girls will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault*, it is clear that it is our urgent duty as parents to raise our sons to be enlightened beings overflowing with kindness respect and connection. Too often in our society, we hold our girls responsible for their own safety and sovereign right to be cherished as life-giving humans and far too rarely hold our boys responsible for their own actions. It is up to us mothers and fathers to hold our sons up to a new light. A light full of connection to themselves, their female counterparts, the planet, vast universe and divinity.
My start in life began in an abusive home. My biological father is a convicted child molester and like many abusive homes, the abuse took on many forms from mental to physical. Like many other stories of abuse the lineage of turmoil started generations before. A continuous cycle of cruelty that flourishes within family secrets and shame. Only when we hold these abuses to the light will they be diminished. It is in that spirit that I write this post.
It took many years for me to heal from my own childhood experiences. I once found myself not wanting children as I couldn’t come to grips with the fact that “monsters” are not outside dangers to be held at bay but that danger can lie within the home itself. Now 31 and blessed with my own child and loving husband I reflect back to those moments of pure fear. Fear of being a loving mother, fear of not being able to protect my child. I am incredibly grateful for the healing that has happened in my mind and spirit. It is this healing that allowed me to become the open vessel in which my son’s beautiful spirit ventured into this world.
Although the fear will never truly be gone I am able to manage it. My fear now expresses itself in the form of anxiety. A disorder I have struggled with since childhood. This anxiety, however, does not keep me from living a life of brave love. I am able to consciously examine my emotions and objectively make mindful decisions from a place of artful positivity. It is with this artful positivity that I raise my son.
Only 2 months old my son Kai is pure love and joy in physical form bundled in stardust and sea water. I adore him! It does not elude me that one day he will grow into a man and out from under my care and guidance. It is a fact that I can not control my son, we can not control our children. We are charged with guiding our sons and creating environments where they can unfurl into their highest selves. How do we do this? Simply by asking that question is a great place to begin. Let’s explore together by understanding sexual abuse and violence.
Sexual abuse and violence is not about sex. Its true nature is based on the need to overpower, control, spread pain and of course self-hatred. It’s often exercised by those who themselves experienced abuse. Abuse occurs when one is disconnected from one’s true self and connection to each other as beings on this planet.
Now let’s refocus on a present and future that we can be proud of. A present and future full of self-love, respect, and safety. We focus on what we want and not what we don’t want because that is the true path to the non-violence and love that this world needs.
Ever heard of the saying, “Be The Change You Want to See In The World”? This ideology is more than just mere words. It is a statement that should guide how we raise our sons. The first lessons in life come from the home. Our children reflect what they see. I show my son how girls should be treated. He will continue to grow seeing me display and hold my boundaries, provide myself with love and acceptance and hold others around me to the same high standards. My son watches as my husband displays affection, respect, and acceptance towards me. The act of choosing Kai’s father is itself an act of self-respect and without having to say it our son will see that women deserve men like his father. A man amongst men, my husband allows our son to grow and show affection in a manner that is comfortable to him. We will not shame our son when he shows affection and emotions that others may deem feminine. We hold no arbitrary gender terms when it comes to love.
Our son will be raised in a safe place. Not only safe physically but a safe place to express himself, to share his feelings and explore his own sexuality without the shame we too often push on our children. This will allow Kai to keep the self-love that he was born with. He will know acceptance and love throughout his childhood.
Showing love, of course, is not the only way to raise our sons to be enlightened beings. Our sons, my son Kai as no exception, must be held responsible for their own actions. Before puberty and sexual emotions, we must teach them about self-restraint, respect for others and an appreciation for beauty. Teaching my son that women are sacred and that he himself is a sacred protector of all living things will build the foundation for a kind and strong man.
It doesn’t take much to build the connection we want in our sons. Remember it is the disconnection we create in our sons that create the environment in their minds where delusion of power can flourish and abuse can be outwardly displayed against their fellow humans. There are simple ways to protect the connection they are born with. Here are a few ways I use and encourage all mothers to use to keep our sons connected to themselves, female counterparts, planet, the universe, and divine.
1) Practice mindfulness in our homes and moments of quietness: Encouraging being present in the moment and allowing our sons to sit with their own thoughts and feelings will create the space they need to stay connected to their inner-selves.
2) Expose our sons to female beauty and power. Show them women in leadership roles and surround them with men that respect women of all walks of life. Acknowledge that their sexual feelings are nothing to be ashamed of. Bringing awareness to all the things our bodies are capable of such as; building, creating, pleasure and self-expression will help our sons have a well-rounded appreciation for the female body and their own.
3) Connect our sons to the planet. Ground them by playing outside. Explore the world around them and share simple notions like where our food comes from, how all animals and plants on this planet or dependent on each other and how living things are beautiful in their own way.
AND the most important and simplest of all….
4) Acknowledge that our sons are inherently good and naturally connected to all life. Simply allowing them to continue to be enough is all we need in this world.
What is Rape Culture? “Rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence