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I talked to my 10-year-old son about consent today

I'm doing my part to make sure that my kid grows up to never rape a 16-year-old in Eilat (or any age, anywhere). What more can we do?

A 16-year-old was raped in Eilat this week.

I’m still shaking with horror and rage that this happened to her.

So I did the only thing I could do that might make a difference: I had a talk with my son this afternoon about consent.

Because as his mother, among many other things, it is part of my job to make sure he doesn’t grow up to abuse or assault or rape anyone.

Here’s how our conversation went down:

“Baby, I want to talk to you for a minute. Can you come into the kitchen ?”

“What did I do?”

“Nothing, sweetheart, you aren’t in trouble. Want a cookie?”

“Okay.”

“So, did you hear anything in the news about something that happened in Eilat?”

“Nope.”

“Okay, so a girl a little older than your sister went to Eilat with her friend, and she drank a little too much, which sometimes teenagers do, and there was a big group of men and they hurt her.”

“They hit her?”

“No, they had sex with her.”

“Without consent?”

“When you’re only 16 and you’re drunk, you can’t give legal consent — so what these men did was rape. Even if she was an adult woman, what they did was still rape because she was too drunk to really consent.”

“Is she okay?”

“She’s scared and upset and very hurt by all this — and while she is alive, she will have to live with this forever.”

“Oh.”

“I’m telling you this because I want to remind you that when you get older, you need to always make sure you get consent before kissing someone or going further and…”

“Eew, Mom!”

“I know you don’t want to hear it from me now, but this is important. You need to make sure that the person you’re with gives consent and that you also give consent before having sex with someone — and if they’ve been drinking, even if they say yes, it isn’t real consent.”

“Okay, I know!”

“One more thing. If you’re out with your friends and you see them with someone who is really drunk, please get involved. Help them. And if you’re in a situation and you don’t know how to handle it, you can call me or your dad and we will help you.

“Okay, okay, I get it, I get it.”

“Okay, but remember in Harry Potter how Neville got the 10 extra points for Gryffindor that made them win the house cup?”

“Yeah.”

“He got it because like Dumbledore said, it takes courage to stand up to your enemies and even more courage to stand up to your friends. I hope you won’t be in this situation, but if you are, I hope you’ll show courage and do the right thing.”

“I know, you always tell me to kick ass, make it a great day, and be kind, and don’t be an asshole, and use my powers for good. I always try. That’s the same thing as this. NOW can I go finish my D&D Campaign?!”

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel, She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems. She now lives in Israel with her two kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors and talks to strangers, and writes stories about people. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She also loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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