Why yes, i am still up.
So, it's Sexual Abuse Awareness Week, and the campus is littered with chalkings for it as well as the SGA elections. The Clothesline Project is up per usual. Apparently they're giving out purple armbands for survivors, which i approve of, though obviously that's a really difficult thing to own up to, so there are gonna be a lot of survivors choosing to not publicize their identity as such.
Anyway, one particular story got me thinking about how my parents were always very clear on the fact that my body was mine and nobody had the right to touch me without my permission. One of the stories from my infancy is that strangers would want to hold me and my parents would tell them that i didn't like to be held by people i didn't know, and they would brush this aside and pick me up anyway and i would get upset and my parents would take me back. I distinctly remember a juvenile nonfiction book from the library -- okay, now i have to look it up... You can say "no" : a book about protecting yourself
by Betty Boegehold, illustrated by Carolyn Bracken (1985). Pretty sure that's the book. Minuteman says "Golden learn about living book. Depicts children in various situations involving adults who attempt to molest them and discusses ways of preventing or dealing with such behavior." which sounds like what i remember. Anyway, it's a terrific book as i recall anyhow, and i'm glad it's still in the library. (Searching the Minuteman catalog i found other books whose Amazon covers look familiar -- My Body Is Private
, Who Is a Stranger and What Should I Do?
, and possibly even Something Happened and I'm Scared to Tell
-- but the one i cited before is the one i most distinctly remember.)
And basic point of story is: I'm frequently reminded of why i think my parents are so amazing, and sometimes i even remember to tell them so, but this is one that i don't think of so much, but which is so very important. My parents were always very clear about the fact that my body was mine and that i got to make the rules about who was allowed to touch my body, and that i could refuse anyone even a friend or family member, and that if i got uncomfortable i could tell someone to stop even if i had said it was okay earlier. It's not something that comes immediately to mind when i think about raising kids, but it's so important. And i don't remember any particular instances of having to tell someone "no" or "stop" as a child, but i know i carried that sense of ownership and having the right to make the rules into adolescence, and into whatever we wanna call the age space i'm in now. And i try really hard to respect other people's boundaries and their requests either implicit or explicit about their own personal space. But mostly i'm thinking of situations from my adolescence, and i don't regret the decisions i made, and part of that is my parents giving me the safe space to make my own mistakes, but i definitely remember being in situations and thinking "I could tell this person to stop," and that concrete knowledge was powerful and important.
So yeah, mostly this is a thank you to my parents, because it's a strength i don't often think about, but for which i am very grateful.