I've spent some time thinking about a few stories in the news. The Duke Lacrosse team story, Natalie Holloway, the lady who is charging rape after her roommate's drunken friend went into the wrong bedroom in the middle of the night and had sex with her (she thought it was her boyfriend who had fallen asleep on the couch. It was consensual until the next morning when she saw in the light of day who was in her bed.)
Now I am not saying anyone deserves anything bad that happens to them. I am not blaming the victim or saying that anyone who committed a crime should get away with it. I think though, that these stories should serve as warnings.
We learn to look both ways before we cross the street and to wear our seatbelts. These are normal, rudimentary precautions. We learn not to get in cars with strangers, not to walk out of the bank after cashing our paychecks with the cash in hand. I think we need to teach our children a whole lot more.
I only have boys, but I sure as hell taught them how to act if the police pull them over. Turn on your interior light, keep your hands on the steering wheel where they can see them. Yes sir, no sir. If they ask for your registration or license don't make any sudden moves - say "it is in my wallet", "in my glovebox", whatever - "may I get it?" No sudden moves. I don't want my boys getting shot because they fit the description of some fleeing felon.
I taught them not to be sleeping with any girls they don't like well enough to be spending the rest of their life with, because if any children are conceived they sure as hell ought to be getting married, and that if they don't they will still be putting up with her for the rest of their lives.
Our daughters should be told they are not going to Aruba (or Cancun or wherever) with what is basically an undersupervised group of kids in unfamiliar territory who don't have the life experience to know when a situation is dangerous.
We need to let our girls know that it is not a good idea to go with a girlfriend to strip at a frat party. Sure it's a "job", quick money, but once you're there, then what? What exactly are you going to be able to do if a bunch of guys decide to rape you or worse? Even if the guys get arrested later, you still went through the trauma. And if you are in a situation and get a bad vibe and decide to leave, for God's sake don't get talked into going back. Trust your instincts ladies!!!
And perhaps you shouldn't have a roommate who brings strangers home from a bar. Maybe you should have a deadbolt on the inside of your bedroom if she does. Maybe you shouldn't get so drunk you can't tell if it's your boyfriend or not and perhaps you should have known your own boyfriend well enough that there's no way a mistake like that could happen.
There are so many bad, dangerous, foolish choices most us make when we are young. Most of us are lucky - we live to tell and don't get raped or beaten or robbed. We need to warn our children that the world is not solely full of people like them. Tell them about the people out there who are evil & ammoral, and about how bad things can & do happen - even if you're a really nice person.
To hell with not scaring them. By the time they are teenagers they need to hear this stuff and hear it often. Scare the daylights out of them. I'd rather have a live child who thinks I'm an old fogey than a traumatized or dead one.
And the guys need to hear it too. All the boys in these cases made terrible choices that, if they are innocent, have cost them dearly. Don't be alone with girls you don't know real well. Don't have sex with hot, horny drunk girls no matter how tempting. That hour of fun can cause a lifetime of misery. Don't put yourself in a position where you can ruin your life - or worse. She could have a boyfriend who will think nothing of killing you in a fit of passion.
And to hell with anyone who cries "Hypocrite" because, after all, if you're not perfect how can you tell anyone else not to do what you once did yourself. If that were the case we could never learn anything. I know what dumb things I did and I know how lucky I was to not have some very bad outcomes. A couple times it was dicey and could have gone either way. I would be remiss and an a**hole besides to not try and save others from what I know to be a serious danger.
If you had bought a lemon car or received poor service somewhere you would tell everyone. Would it have been more correct to not say anything because "After all, I bought it/shopped there. Who am I to tell anyone what to do." Of course you wouldn't say that. And that's not even anything potentially life threatening.
Warn your children. Warn your grandchildren.
Sure, they'll do what they want, or feel, at the moment sometimes.
But deep down they remember your words.
And come what may at least you will know you tried to warn them.
Don't put yourself in the position of regretting that you never warned them.
I have one that did not listen to my warnings.
I visit his grave.
At least I know I tried.