While I’m happy that accused pedophile Senator Tony Navarrete has resigned, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people (mostly women) who have privately messaged me to share their stories of sexual assault because of my recent Facebook post. I’m glad they feel safe and that my story inspired them to share, but it’s a lot.
We have a problem in this country. It’s not partisan, but a result of an imbalance of power and an approach to sexuality that makes it shameful for people to talk about their bodies. I’m especially angry at those who say that this is a result of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE). It’s not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
We would have all been safer had I or the many people who reached out to me had the vocabulary to name what was happening with our bodies, how our perpetrators violated our bodies and our trust, and understand basic concepts like consent, or “good touch/bad touch.” We would have recognized the abuse when it happened.
Child started to change
I still remember a colleague who taught second grade and shared the story about how this once lively and precocious child started to change. Her student became withdrawn and began acting out in class. One day when the class shared stories about family members acting “silly” and the kids started sharing stories. “My dad high fives the TV when his team scores a goal”) this little girl said, and “my uncle is silly because he likes to kiss cookies.”
The teacher tried to laugh it off, and said, “That sure is silly!” but she remembered this declaration, and began asking about the family situation. She learned that an uncle had actually come to live with them recently, and he wasn’t referencing baked goods. It resulted in a call to the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
And those who deny children access to scientifically and medically accurate sex education so they may be empowered to defend themselves against the predators that live among us. They are the real enemies and enablers. They do not care about the safety of kids no matter how much they say they do.
If I had had just one class as a child or a teenager to help me understand that what happened to me was wrong, perhaps I wouldn’t have waited so long to share my story, and perhaps countless others would have been spared or felt empowered to tell their stories as well.
When some folks start sounding the alarm against CSE because of one state senator now facing multiple felony charges who supported it, perhaps tell them to be quiet, listen to victims, and empower our youth to shield themselves from this abuse.
This is a case for more CSE in our schools, not less.
This content was originally published here.