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Until we had monumental changes in life leading us away from group daycare, my daughter attended an aftercare program that had housing in a portable at her school. Every day after class she would go there, play with other kids, do arts and crafts, and generally have fun. Every once in a while she would get herself in a little trouble and get a write-up that her dad or I had to sign when we picked her up.
One day when I arrived to pick her up after work, there was a report for me to sign. It stated that my daughter had punched a boy in the privates.
Wow. Apparently we teach them early, here.
Before I signed the report, I wanted to understand what had happened. I asked the young lady in charge if she knew why my daughter had done this. "No, I didn't ask her," she shrugged. I asked my daughter to come over to talk with us. "A, this report says you punched _____ in the privates. Did you do that?" She looked me straight in the eye. "Yes, I did, Mommy." "Ok. Can you tell me WHY you punched him in the privates?"
"Well, I was sitting over there," she pointed at one of the long tables, "drawing, and he came over to me and put his hips in my face and wiggled them," she demonstrated, "and said to me "TALK TO MR. WIENER!!! So I punched him."
I looked at the now-pale face of the young lady in charge as I ripped up the report. "I'm not signing this, and unless you want me to start a stink about why you let my daughter be the recipient of sexual harassment on your premises, you will not only write up that boy but you will make sure that his family understands that if it ever happens again and he is allowed back here I will report you."
My daughter seems to know, instinctively, that her body is hers and not to be messed with. We talk about the uncomfortable subjects - unwanted touching, what is an "Ok" touch and a "not ok" touch. She and my son have my unwavering promise that if anyone ever does something to them that they are not comfortable with, if they tell me about it I will take care of it. If someone tells them that if they tell me then that person will hurt me, I assure them that I am bigger and stronger and meaner than ANYONE and NO ONE is going to kill me if they tell me about unwanted touching.
They will not always be here for me to protect. Already, as they go to school, get bigger, do more things outside the safety of my eyes watching them, the possibility of harm looms bigger and more frightening.
Tonight I read this post over at Karen Sugarpants' blog, and I can't even begin to express how disheartened and upset I am. That any young woman would tolerate such blatant harassment disturbs me more than I can put into words.
Tonight I look at my privates-punching daughter, and I think, "Don't change. Don't ever EVER change. Punch that guy in the dick for all its worth, sweetie."