I joked half a year ago (double checks the date, yes, it was exactly half a year ago today) that sex ed talks could be renamed “Why Mommy Wants to Drink”. I take it back. Plain, basic explanations on what people do together in private (you know, beyond sleeping and surfing the net) are easy.
I was in the kitchen preparing dinner when Jeremy walked in. He leaned against the fridge and eyed me seriously.
“Mom. Some people say men can’t get raped.”
I put the knife down and stared at him, momentarily speechless, my thoughts colliding with each other as they went from organizing food prep to serious conversation.
“They say that men have to, umm, be interested in order to have sex.”
Really? I’d rather just go back to explaining anal sex. Talk about needing a deep breath. I was tired, hungry, and in no way ready for a conversation like this.
“Okay,” I said slowly, trying to corral my thoughts. “Something you have to remember is that nature has only one goal and that’s to reproduce. That’s it for every single plant and animal and that includes us. Nature doesn’t care what you think, feel, or want; it tries its utmost for a baby regardless. Men can have erections and women can have orgasms even if they don’t want to have sex at all.”
He nodded then added, “And women have it a lot easier because they get believed and men don’t. They get more help too.”
Jeremy rattled off a statistic which I promptly lost. Under ten rape clinics that worked with men and clinics numbering in the thousands for women. He had exact numbers, presumably from a video he’d watched.
“They said there’s more clinics for women because men get raped less but how would anyone know that if they’re not believed?”
Another deep breath. My doctor offered me Ativan last month and I turned him down. Which was probably a good choice because this was not a conversation to have while looped.
“In one way that’s true,” I agreed. “Men don’t get believed and often don’t report assaults. Plus there’s a whole different mentality. If a grown man has sex with a 14 year old girl, that’s rape. But if a grown woman has sex with a 14 year old boy, he’s considered a stud. And that’s not right.”
Jeremy nodded and stayed silent. So I continued.
“Sadly, women don’t have it much better. I read a story recently where a judge reduced the sentence on a sexual assault case because the 14 year old girl was too mature for her age and must have been willing. And the first things people ask when a woman’s raped are what she’s wearing, how late it was, and if she was drinking. You know, to figure out how much was her fault. Women might be doing a bit better when it comes to being believed but everyone’s getting the short end of the stick.”
Then a thought occurred to me.
“Jeremy? Has anyone ever touched you or done anything…” I had no idea how to finish that sentence. Luckily I didn’t need to.
“No,” he replied simply in a voice full of surprise. His expression was baffled as if he couldn’t comprehend that anyone would try to hurt him like that. I think everyone feels like that, until something happens at least, and I hope he keeps that feeling forever.