I’m going to tell you a story.
“Can I tell you something that happened yesterday?”
“A boy tried to kill me.”
“Well first he tried to kiss me, and then he tried to kill me.”
“What did you do?”
“I told him to stop but he didn’t listen.”
“Did you tell anyone else?”
“Did they do anything?”
“They told him to stop the first time. Then the second time they made us be in different places.”
“Did you want this boy to kiss you?”
“No. And it wasn’t him who kissed me. It was another smaller boy who they pushed onto me to kiss me.”
“Wait, what happened!?!”
“Two boys pushed another boy at me and he got my mouth.”
“Did he want to kiss you?”
“No, he ran away after.”
“What did you do when he was forced to kiss you?”
“I leaned back to get away but it was hard because I was against the fence.”
This, my friends, is the story my daughter told me today. She is five. This other boy who tried to kill her, by pelting her with a football was a grade older, in first grade. He was angry because she wouldn’t let him kiss her. So, he instead used his age and force to push a younger boy, who is in kindergarten, on her. Today, she said things were better but the older boy still tried to kiss her even after she said no. Today she had a friend with her, whom my kid left by accident (her words) to play with two others and her friend started to cry and ask for her mom because she was left alone with the older boy who was also trying to kiss her.
Boys will be boys eh?
I asked her what she wanted me to do. She was unsure so I gave her options. I could talk to the boy’s parents, talk to the head of the play group where it happened, or let it be. She wants to give him one more chance to see how he is next time.
I am so mad, so sad, and at a loss as a parent. We, as parents, need to work together to keep our kids safe from violence. This kid is not a bad kid, I truly believe that there is no such thing. He’s simply learned what society has offered him. He’s in charge, he can do what he wants to others, and you should get angry when a girl says no. He’s modeling what surrounds him every day, as his little body and mind start to grow into this world.
He is in 1st grade, let’s let that sink in.
This folks is where it starts. Kids this young already have this message. This young person has already learned that he has every right to demand what he wants from a woman’s body, that fury is an appropriate response to rejection. I can’t help but add that we like to talk about mental health when a young white boy kills his classmates or community in a school shooting, often in response to a romantic denial or broken relationship. Let me be clear that I am not linking this young person to this potential future. Instead, I am talking about a pattern. We are setting up young men to expect things from women, that they are entitled. And when they don’t get what they’re entitled to, that anger is appropriate. Rage even.
He told her that he was trying to kill her because she wouldn’t kiss him.
The story of my five year old is my story as a child, as a teenager, as an adult. Your story as a child, as a teenager, as an adult. And, it’s only the first chapter in hers.