The Art of Centering

by | Jun 9, 2018 | 0 comments

TRIGGER WARNING: language about r*pe and sexual assault.

Today this cute little boy cut through the negative stories on my newsfeed. I began to read the caption from the OP and my smile quickly began turning upside down into a frown. The caption read:

“SHOP: link to what the kid is wearing…

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the animalistic appetites of young men. And hey, we’ll be the first to admit that our sons pose a clear and present danger to your popcorn, potato chips, and pretzels. But we promise you this: if they ever find an extremely drunk girl in a bedroom at a party, the only thing they’re going to do is help her get home safely. Here’s to raising good humans. Shop now -> Company website again.”

Source: Facebook – @FreeToBeKidsUSA

I have a son and I like buying him witty shirts with punchy one liners, here’s why I am not rushing to buy this one. There is quite a bit to consider. Let’s unpack this together:

We need to center the conversation around survivors and their perspectives. We must never steer the conversation to them instead of justifying members of the oppressive group perpetrating the acts causing said trauma.

  1. Centering:  We need to center the conversation around survivors and their perspectives and never steer the conversation to justify members of the group perpetrating the acts causing said trauma. In this case we cannot excuse the men in our lives saying “not them”, or if you are a man saying “not me”. Instead use your spaces and conversation uplifting and creating spaces for victims to trust you and open up. If you are ALREADY making excuses for yourself, your friends and family or even your child even before they fully understand consent how will any girl, woman or person come to you and tell you he needs guidance in that department? You’ve already said your work is done in one nifty, cutesy t-shirt. I, for one, raising two boys, know this work is a daily recommitment and although one is 30 and the other is 8 I am not done having this conversation with either of them.  ALL rapists are someone’s family and many with families who would NEVER think they were capable of it. Most predators are smart and cunning fooling everyone and grooming their victims with a soft disposition so the truth is you DON’T know and you are NOT making it safe for victims to come to you. I will never place my hands on the fire for ANYONE but myself, and even then I know I can try each day to be the best I can be but I can’t foresee how my lack of understanding or knowledge will lead me to be problematic in the future. 
  2. Empathy: When we are talking about the victims of oppression or any kind of traumatic event, especially assault or rape we have to tread lightly. Trivializing Even if we have experienced it in some form, our voice is just one and how we process the trauma isn’t how everyone lives their, Profiting off trauma, or making jokes about a serious matter is also lacking in empathy towards survivors of possibly the most terrible experience in their lives. 


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