In my all-female Catholic high school health and sex ed classes, I learned how to not be raped.
I learned how, if I was attacked, screaming “Help!” would be less effective than yelling “Fire!” I learned how the men in our lives are the ones most likely to harm us.
I learned that it was dangerous to be a woman, and that as a woman I needed to walk carefully into the darkening night.
I did it anyway. In my twenties, I walked my college campus and, later, the streets of my city at in the moonlit time. I rode my bike amidst the downtown carousers, along the river trails. I dared danger to find me.
I was never harmed.
In spite of all my health class anti-rape education, I didn’t know how lucky I was.
Because even though I never partied, never drank, and never dressed in what might be considered as a foolishly alluring way, I was (am) not immune. I could have easily been (could still be) one of the nearly twenty percent of women who have been raped in their lifetimes.
* * *
My husband’s co-ed Christian high school curriculum also included sex education.
But instead of learning about rape whistles and rohypnol, he and his classmates were taught explicitly about the male’s intrinsic and violent inability to control himself and his sexual urges. They learned about how it falls to the female to care for the male’s sexual thought life and the actions that result. . . .
I am so grateful to Micah for inviting me to write for his #YesAllWomen series. This is a vital conversation, for women and men alike. For our children. For a better, more beautiful world.