thoughts

Thoughts / How to Stop Sexual Harassment?

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In a recent article about a kid who got suspended from school for kissing a girl on the hand, the readers of the Huffington Post were told that a six year old boy was labeled with "sexual harassment."

Sure, he might have kissed the little miss more than she wanted, but it was also a lesson for her! At six, most kids do not yet know about sex or even the meaning of harassment. If I remember correctly, six is about the age when kids are just beginning to make judgements of their peers. Names like "nose-picker," or "fat," are only beginning to make their way out of these kids mouths. You don't hear anyone calling girls "sluts," until the age of 12 or so! 

In California, some 12 years ago, I had my first sex ed class. I was in 5th grade and I was about 10 years old. Girls and boys were separated and shown videos about the male and female reproductive organs, plus a gruesome home video of childbirth. After the ordeal, none of the boys and girls wanted to hang out in the playground. We remained segregated by sex until we all moved up the block to Middle School.

In high school the shy girls all got cheated on and the bold ones dumped too many guys to maintain a pristine reputation. From the stories I heard and some of my own experience, those sex ed courses in 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade were all missing one essential lesson. The boundaries of sex! 

What if in 5th grade, instead of watching the video of a woman giving birth, us ladies would have had a lesson in the words, no and stop? If instead of watching the presenter at the assembly in middle school put a condom on a banana, the boys could have been learning about molestation and the aftermath of rape! And what about senior year? Everybody carried around a robotic baby, but nobody talked about sexual harassment. I've heard and seen enough in my few years as a teen and adult that sexual harassment, molestation, and even rape are far more common than most of us are aware. I can count the number of people I know (guys and girls) who've been sexually abused on two hands. And those are just the ones who've admitted it! Imagine how many people are walking around feeling self conscious or unable to function normally because somebody touched them in the wrong way some years ago!

The six year old may have been innocently showing his affections for his classmate, and she may have cried out of fear, but it's not something he should have been punished for. Instead of sending the poor kid home, the school should have made the initiative to educate both children the meaning of sex, harassment, and what it means for both parties.

What do you think?