As a culture, we tend to worry about our girls a lot more than our boys. While many of the women I know have stories, so do the men.
You might already know that my story starts before I was born, when a male member of my family spent a lot of time playing at the neighbor’s house…but it wasn’t safe play. It was sexual abuse.
This was 40 years ago, in an affluent neighborhood in Oakland. It’s safe and beautiful with big houses. I looked it up recently, and those houses now sell for a million dollars each.
That boy grew up and, as a young teen, did what had been done to him. He found younger less powerful children to play out his sexual curiosity. Me. My best friend. Another boy in the family.
For whatever reason, the two girls in this story lead relatively normal lives. We went to therapy. We grew up. We had relationships. We finished our education and had careers. We got married and had kids. We’re ok.
But not the boys. Both boys from my family struggled with relationships their whole lives. Neither ever had a significant other. Neither got married or had kids. They finished their education and both have careers, yes, but both were labeled “sexual predators”. The older one has a sealed file, since all this went down when he was a minor. The younger boy was convicted on child pornography charges a few years ago.
That neighbor boy? Last I heard he was an alcoholic, in and out of jail.
So, yes, protect the girls, but please! please! protect the boys.
The stats are 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 12 boys will be sexually abused. I understand why that makes us focus on the girls…but, at least in my case, the effects were much more severe for the boys.
These parents all assumed their kids were safe, and then watched their troubled lives unfold. Here’s a study on the links between childhood sexual abuse and later criminal offenses.
I don’t want that to be you or your son.
There are lots of things we can do to prevent sexual abuse. Do a quick search and you’ll find lots of suggestions. However, it’s not usually tailored to protecting boys.
But there are things we should be doing differently, and specifically, for boys.
For example, did you know that female child molesters rarely abuse girls? While it’s true that most child molesters are male, women commit 14-40% of offenses reported against boys.
That’s why my friend and colleague, Tosha Schore, mom to 3 boys, asked me to teach a masterclass on protecting boys from sexual abuse. She’s hosting the class, and you’re invited!
This coming Wednesday, at noon PST, I’ll be live with Tosha, teaching Body Boundaries: Raising our Boys to Stay Safe.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it live – everyone who registers will get the video recording. It’s yours to learn from when the time is right.
Hope to see you Wednesday!
In support of you,
P.S. If you’re still pondering the Boundaries and Consent Bootcamp, it’s not too late to join us. Module one is up and our first Q&A call is next week. Let’s make sure our kids have the skills they need to have safe and healthy relationships from the start!