Harassment Is Not The Norm. And We Must Explain This To Our Children

Harassment Is Not The Norm. And We Must Explain This To Our Children
Harassment Is Not The Norm. And We Must Explain This To Our Children

Video: Harassment Is Not The Norm. And We Must Explain This To Our Children

Video: Harassment Is Not The Norm. And We Must Explain This To Our Children
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The other day on the YouTube channel of Irina Shikhman "And talk?" an interview with the editor-in-chief of the radio station "Echo of Moscow" Alexei Venediktov was published. It was mainly devoted to issues of harassment - the fact is that not long before that Anna Veduta accused Venediktov of harassment. He himself said that there was nothing, but he apologized. He also said that such stories help women "capitalize" and expressed doubts about the veracity of the accusations that begin to sound after some time after the incident - they say, why do not they start to deal with what happened. Lena Averyanova, editor-in-chief of Chips Journal, discusses why this is happening and why we need to teach our children to respect their bodies, boundaries and integrity.

My breasts began to grow when I was nine years old. Soon after that, my mother told me that my figure ceases to be childish, which means that not only boys, but also adult men can start looking at me, so I need to be careful. That is, by the age of ten, I knew that being a girl is not only difficult, but also dangerous - you never know what maniacs are running around the school.

Fortunately, I managed to avoid meeting the maniac. On the other hand, during my entire adolescence, I met quite decent people - a coach in a sports school, a grandfather's friend, a music lover in a crowd at a youth concert, a passenger on a trolley bus, a spectator on a hockey mast in a city park and many other adults and fearless men. - who pulled their hands to me, touched me as if by chance, then by the chest, then by the ass, offered to look at their members, threw obscene comments at me and something else like that.

Did I know that this is not possible with me? Of course. Did I think I could tell someone about this? No. Why? Well, because I was not taught to react to it somehow. I just froze or ran away - these are the two most natural reactions that a person is capable of, especially a completely inexperienced person who does not know how to defend himself. What could I have done then? Where could I get support and no condemnation, to which I was already sentenced - after all, my mother said that my body is something like a tidbit in the eyes of adults. That is, yes, in fact, I was "myself to blame." Therefore, I did not understand what could be done here at all.

Like many other unpleasant memories from childhood, I just tried to throw them away and pretend that this happens - nothing terrible has happened. Yes, it does happen - approximately 50 percent of girls under 15 around the world are harassed by adults. And very often these adults are family members, friends of parents, teachers and other representatives of the close circle of children. That is, these are not some unknown strangers, pounced on girls from the bushes, although there are such, too, which is terrible.

And all this continues to happen after girls turn into women - a study conducted shortly after the launch of the #MeToo campaign showed that up to 81 percent of women are harassed. Why is that? Because we live in a culture in which violence of various levels is normalized - at first we think that it is possible to spank a child "and nothing", and then he turns into an adult who believes that if he was touched by his boss after dinner with colleagues, then this is also a common thing. Since it was possible to spank the most important people in life, then it is all the more possible for everyone else. Not raped or killed - and thanks for that.

We were silent because we were raised that way. We didn't share it because it was embarrassing, painful and bad. We were not forced to defend our body - the first line of a child's personal boundaries - let alone protecting emotional and mental boundaries.

But times and morals, albeit slowly, are changing. And that's why women start talking - remember the flash mob # I'm_not_ afraid to tell, which showed the true extent of the problem of harassment. And gave rise to a public discussion about the need to build trusting relationships with children in the family: we, parents, should teach children that it is impossible to touch them without their permission, that there can be no "secrets" between them and other adults, that the genitals and intimate zones have normal names, that all uncomfortable, strange, seemingly wrong actions of adults are only theirs, adults, guilt and responsibility. And of course, if something like this happens, it is possible, necessary and necessary to inform the parents - they will not be ashamed, they will not devalue and will not say "you probably imagined it." They will believe you.

And that is why it is important for us to remember all these unpleasant things, to share them after many years - this is a great therapeutic process, which, of course, does not bring any benefit to the victims. But he gives them the opportunity to feel that they are right - they were not to blame, they did not provoke anyone, they were children, subordinates or oppressed partners.

My daughter is five years old. Of course, I do not tell her about what happened to me, but at every opportunity I recite the “rule of panties” with her, try to convey the importance of personal boundaries and space, and say who and in what circumstances has the right to touch her - for example, me, when I bathe her, or the doctor, when he conducts an examination under my supervision. And I see that this gives a result: she can already say that she does not want to hug; that she doesn't like it when someone touches her without coordinating this moment with her, and so on. I don’t get tired of admiring this, because I grew up as a completely different person: I was taught that adults know better, and kissing relatives whom I don’t want to kiss is necessary because they will be offended. And everyone constantly laughed at the fact that I do not like these kissing and always dry myself after someone touches me with their lips. People found it funny that I wanted my body to belong to me.

I guess that Alexei Venediktov's generation hardly understands that "courtship" and "signs of attention" are not always pleasant, but I really hope that our children will grow up with a clear understanding that any actions that are disguised as care, tenderness, patronage, but at the same time give them tangible emotional and physical discomfort, are neither care, nor tenderness, nor patronage. This is called harassment.

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