The following post is upsetting. It hits that very uncomfortable spot. I didn’t write it. It was a post sent to me by Alison from Mad House Mum for consideration as a guest post on my blog. My first reaction, I am ashamed to admit, was no. It’s not the normal kind of post I would publish. It’s honest. It’s raw. I’m not saying that my posts aren’t honest but this is a very sensitive subject and I completely understand the reluctance to publish on her own blog. I didn’t respond immediately to Alison’s request. I shut down my email and got on with my day.
The post, her words, stayed with me. It was a beautiful piece of writing with an important message. Who was I not to publish this? Who was I to shy away from such behaviour? I’m a mum who promotes positive parenting. To discuss everything with my children has always been a focus of mine. Leaving things unsaid, or glossing over important issues is not what I’m about.
This is a harrowing read but it needs to be read by parents of both sons and daughters. The issue needs to be discussed. So, I’m thrilled that Alison felt she could ask me to publish this post. It is with absolute pleasure that we stand together as parents and write about these issues. Thank you Alison.
“No” means “No”
I want our kids to know that, ‘no’ means ‘no’. I don’t want this message to get diluted in the pool of porn or the ‘banter’. I don’t want it to be misunderstood by alcohol, naivety or uncontrollable desire. Because none of these factors are excuses: NO means NO!
The characters in the story below could be your son, your daughter, your grandchild or your friend. They are representative of an important issue. One that we must make sure teenagers understand. ‘No’ can be whispered, it can be a kick in the balls or a shake of the head. We must teach our children to recognise the signs and to take control.
It was a balmy summer afternoon and we were at your parents’ house. They were away on holiday and we were just hanging out. I was wearing a pretty, white Indian top that I had bought the year before. It hugged my skin and so I didn’t need a bra. It was cropped and showed off my small belly, that you said you liked.
We were sitting on the step that was on the landing upstairs. You put your arm around me and traced the contours of the lace. You started kissing me and I felt a sense of vulnerability. I wasn’t feeling it and I knew I didn’t want it. I shook my head and you replied to my silence with a: ‘yes’. Your hand and lips continued while my head continued to shake. I conjured up a quiet, ‘no’. I felt afraid. Afraid of losing you. ‘Yes’, you replied confidently and ‘no’ I said weakly back. I felt like a child. I was a child, albeit 17. We were still children.
You led me to your bedroom and had sex. But you see, I wasn’t wanting and the condom split. The little girl suddenly had to grow up. I showered through my convulsing sobs and wails. The shower head shook in my hand, making the soap that I was trying to smother across my body, difficult to spread.
You rang my doctor in a panic – the doctor who had creepily admired my budding breasts as I had grown. The doctor who always made me feel uncomfortable and submissive, now felt like my best friend. I pulled on one of your t shirts because I didn’t want him to think that I was asking for it. I wondered if I was? It was my fault for wearing that pretty top. You couldn’t help yourself. I hated your t shirt because it made me feel different. It wasn’t me. But it also made me feel safe.
He saw me out of hours – immediately. He talked me through the morning after pill. He asked me to ring him in a few days. You told me that I was at my most fertile. I don’t know how you even knew – I didn’t have any idea about how my monthly cycle worked, but you knew. You knew everything.
You told me I would have to have an abortion if the magic pill didn’t work. I couldn’t even contemplate it. I couldn’t even imagine. I was terrified and couldn’t leave your side. I was that little girl and you were scared too.
You were scared, but you weren’t sorry and I never asked you to be. Instead, when the panic was over, I took control. I called the shots in the only way I felt I could. I insisted on double protection and even withheld sex when I wanted to. I did it out of terror, not out of spite.
You had terrified me.
It wasn’t us, it was you. I had said, ‘no’ and you knew it. You knew that I hadn’t wanted sex that day, but you carried on.
It wasn’t me, it was you. You never said sorry. Perhaps you could never admit to yourself what you had done. Perhaps when it was over, you didn’t care.
Alison writes at www.madhousemum.com