To my daughter,
Sometimes it is difficult to find the words to explain the love I have for you. The responsibility I hold in keeping you safe. I would walk over burning coals to protect you. Your dad and I both. There is nothing that we wouldn’t do for you.
When the news regarding Brock Turner began filling my newsfeed and I read the crushing words of the young woman he brutalized, I couldn’t help but picture your face.
My sweet, innocent, loving girl.
I sat with her words echoing in my ears.
I couldn’t begin to understand the immense pain and suffering she was feeling.
I couldn’t fathom the helplessness and horror of her parents.
I couldn’t help but imagine what I would do if something horrible like this were to happen to you.
The tears flowed.
My anger raged.
You see, my darling girl, there are monsters in this world. Monsters much more frightening than those I pretend to shoo from under your bed before you are able to fall asleep.
There are monsters who may disguise themselves as your friends.
There are monsters who you may trust.
There are monsters who you may not even know their names.
As your mom, my job is to make sure you know that these monsters exist and that I will do whatever I can to keep you away from them.
The helplessness lies in the truth that I won’t always be there to be your shield.
You will begin to make you own choices.
You will forge your way through junior high and high school.
You will date.
You will go to parties.
You will likely drink alcohol and possibly black out.
You will be put in situations that are difficult for me to think about.
I’m not naive.
What I want you to know is that in no way do you EVER deserve to be violated.
No matter your actions.
No matter your wardrobe.
No matter what you do.
Without consent, nobody has the right to put their hands on you.
Your body is yours. Yours, and yours alone.
But, for some, this doesn’t seem to matter.
I am terrified of the world in which we live.
A world where victims are continuously victimized.
I am terrified that this young woman could very well be you one day.
I am terrified that boys, who try to pass themselves off as men, get a free pass or a slap on the wrist.
I am terrified.
I have no answers.
I know that I can do my best to teach you about these monsters. However, no amount of lectures and discussions makes you immune to their existence.
My wish is that we do better.
For you, we MUST do better.
All of us.
Let us teach our children about consent. About respect. About accepting responsibility. About consequences. About the weight of every action and reaction.
Rape is a crime. Always. Period. End of story.
Let us all join together and make our voices heard so that these horrific injustices stop.
For the sake of you, my sweet girl, and for daughters everywhere…we have no other choice.
Love always and forever,