Today please welcome Sarah Ball, aka The Virtuous Woman Exposed, as she shares about how to help protect and teach our daughters in a sexually aggressive culture.
My husband was shocked to hear from me that from the age of 13 -19, I had never had a job where I wasn’t sexually harassed by a male boss or coworker.
It was to be expected as a young teenaged waitress, for my boss to ‘brush’ past me, pushing his crotch against me, as I stood collecting food from the back. It was the running joke for him to make a comment about how perky my breasts were, and if he could check out for himself if they were real. It was even more common for old male customers to invite me back to their place, or for a drunken man to try and put a tip down my shirt. I wasn’t a waitress at a strip club if that’s what you’re thinking; I was working at a small town golf course, midday, every Sunday afternoon, and I thought it was normal, so I giggled.
It was not uncommon in high school either, for me to receive sexually implied comments from male teachers, or for another male student to pinch, grab or whistle as I walked down the hall to class.
As a college student, my friends and I had to be extra cautious at parties, making vows to not let any of us go off alone with anyone we didn’t know. This caution was before the date rape drug was mainstream. It still didn’t prevent some young college girls from being raped, or if they drank too much, sexually assaulted while they were passed out, which in my opinion is rape. This was not shocking news to us. It didn’t set off alarms and cause us to storm the campus, because it was normal to us. It was an expected part of college culture in Canada.
I was sexually abused at the age of 12 by a friend of the family, and at the age of 19 I ran out of a room seconds away from being date raped.
I have never not known sexual exploitation, and it’s not my fault.
We think we are so progressive as a culture, and we think we are getting this female exploitation theme beaten, but we are not. We live in a culture that is so twisted in their thinking. Posts go viral on social media of women of all colors; shapes and sizes posing in their underwear, in the attempts to say all women are sexy and of value. Then, the next viral video is a post blaring outrage that women aren’t being taken seriously by the universities they were raped in. We are a culture of mixed messages, trying desperate to find a solution to our sexually aggressive culture, and failing miserably.
Even Christian culture is making it worse.
We are told to shelter our kids from the world and shove purity messages at them. So we avoid talking about sex with our daughters, instead we just shelter them from movies and stories that reveal any sexual theme, and we call it a great day in the parenting world.
These approaches will not protect your daughter from a culture that paints its walls with sexuality–walls your daughter is eventually going to live under without you.
What we need is a reality check and a never-ending conversation with our daughter about it.
Ask my teen-aged daughter, who works at a fast food restaurant. She has been raised to stay a virgin until she is married and to avoid watching shows that are above a PG rating. My husband annoys the heck out of her, as he frequently bursts out into song “be careful little eyes what you see.”
I send her back to her room to change several mornings a week, and Modesty is Hotesty is a song on our family playlist (yes, that is actually a song!) Yet, my daughter, at age 15, shows up to work in the most unattractive; button-upped, mustard yellow, starched, stained, short sleeved, burger attire, and she still receives countless offers for sex by creepy customers and comments on her looks. She’s not flirting and she is not dressed immodestly. She is merely being a young woman, with a beautiful smile in a sexually aggressive culture.
So what do I mean by a sexually aggressive culture? These recent Canadian statistics should share some light. According to The Justice Institute of British Columbia, these statistics will have us hiding our daughters under a rock.
One out of every 17 Canadian women is raped at some point in her life
A woman is sexually assaulted by forced intercourse every 17 minutes in Canada
Girls and young women between the ages of 15-24 are the most likely victims
80% of assaults happen in the victim’s home
70% of rapes are committed by a perpetrator who knows the victims (relative, friend, neighbor, colleague, or other acquaintance)
Approximately one half of all rapes occur on dates
62% of victims are physically injured in the attack; 9% are beaten severely or disfigured
Statistics Canada has found that one in four girls and one in eight boys have been sexually abused by the time they are eighteen.
Source : www.assultcare.ca
Pause for a sobering moment.
I am not writing this to be a dooms-day prophet, but I am writing this to say, it’s not enough to talk to our daughters about virginity and shelter them from the media. One day our daughters will be university students, professionals, and young mothers, and we need to prepare them for a sexually aggressive culture without shaming sex, scaring them, and making them prudes.
This is one tough topic parents, and we need God’s wisdom to navigate them through it and I am so thankful that we have voices like Sheila’s who are initiating this conversation.
So where do we begin? How do we teach our daughters to love sex, to embrace their sexiness for their husbands, feel no shame, guard their hearts, and protect themselves from assault or harassment?
Let your daughters have an attitude!
I want my daughter to walk around confident, knowing she is carrying a treasure inside of her, proud of who she is and sassy. I want her to spit in the face of a man who tries to exploit her, not giggle shyly in embarrassment like I did. I want her to be street-wise, knowing she has to be smart, and cautious, because she has a treasure hidden. There are a lot of pirates out there who will sail any sea to get it.
I want her to think boys are cute, and smile and giggle at the one she REALLY thinks is cute, and I want her to experience love. I want her to be able to pick out a good man from a line up of rats. I want her to marry that good man, and be a sexual goddess for him.
I don’t want my daughter to be a man-hater, be mistrusting or paranoid. I want her to respect men in authority, but respect herself more. I recently asked my daughter what she thought of the biblical teaching that husband’s should have authority over their wives. She responded – “I think God meant that he wants husbands to protect their wives, and you can’t have someone protect you if they don’t have authority over you.” I love her point of view!
This is a big, tall order I am asking God for–and this is not a “sit down” and have ‘the talk’ kind of teaching. This is a lifetime of discussion and relationship we have to continually have with our daughters and our sons!
This is you, Mom, having the courage to reach into the skeletons of your past and share them, at an appropriate age, with your daughter. This is about dads, stepping up to be the 1st example of a GOOD MAN, and setting her bar high. This is about us as parents, allowing our daughters to feel safe enough to talk to us about anything. You don’t overreact, and scramble to find the chastity belt, you talk to her, you love her and you walk with her.
If it’s too late, and your daughter has already fit into the statistics, I want to tell you that I am so sorry. I also want to tell you there is hope.
I stood, face to face with my sexual abuser, under oath, 15 years after I was victimized. My eyes were blurry with tears, my hands shaking in fear. I was in immense pain, but I had a loving husband, waiting in the gallery to console me, treasure me and pour purity back into my heart with his love and respect for me.
I also have a God who puts his arm around me, drawing a line in the sand with his hand against a culture that wants to stone me. Hagar, Sarah’s bondwoman, – which you can read more on here – was sexually exploited, the woman who washed Jesus’s feet with her tears who was labeled a slut, and even King David’s daughter was raped by her own brother. This is not a new issue.
God always defended these precious women, pursued them and pursued justice. Jesus came to pour hope, value and purity back into a shamed culture, and we must look to him for healing.
So tonight, before your daughter goes to bed, give her a big hug, tell her how precious she is, show her how to drop kick a pirate and pray for her, a lot.
Sarah Ball is the blogger behind Virtuous Woman Exposed, a columnist, freelance writer and mother of 5 children ages 4-15 and she’s exhausted just writing that. Her passion is to see women set free from shame, fear and bondage. She wants you to know that you can hold your head up high knowing they you are a precious daughter of God. You can visit her blog at http://www.virtuouswomanexposed.com and you can follow her on FACEBOOK & TWITTER