A Letter to My Daughters About Sexual Harassment & Living Here Right Now

Dear sweet young girls and women,

You are strikingly beautiful–inside and out. Our culture values beauty but sometimes they get it wrong. They mistake seductive or sexy or desired for real beauty and it can get really confusing to those of you trying to make your way through it all.

There are mildly inappropriate behaviors that both men and women can be guilty of projecting onto someone and there are wildly abusive behaviors that likewise can be inflicted and there is a whole spectrum in between. None of it is acceptable.

But something I know of the murky waters of sexual misconduct is that when a culture embraces, no celebrates immorality, immodesty, explicitly sexual misconduct (all 50 shades) and pornography, we bear part of the blame, collectively, for the abuses that spawn out of that.

Don’t be a part of the hypocrisy that celebrates inappropriate sexuality then damns it, and everyone is supposed to know when it’s OK and when it’s not.

Stand up for morality all the time because all the time it’s appropriate. Stand up for modesty and propriety and decency all the time, because all the time it is right.

Don’t cheer for the freedom of women to pose nude to the whole world and expect men to appreciate it as purely an art form. It’s never going to happen.

I’m asking you to live honestly, to see the sick paradox of our current position on sex and set your feet firm in a tide of emotional gravity.

And remember: not all men are perverts and not all women who claim to be victimized actually have been. This is an important distinction for the sake of true victims. The #metoo movement might have good intentions, but somewhere along the way, an agenda has taken over that threatens to reduce the term “sexual assault/harassment” to nothing, hurting real victims, and simultaneously setting a precedent can ruin anyone by unfounded, unproven allegations.

Stand for women by protesting ALL forms of abuse, objectification of women, pornography, and degradation of the sacredness of sex. Oh, and darling, do it in a dress without plunging cleavage, mkay?

7 Responses to “A Letter to My Daughters About Sexual Harassment & Living Here Right Now”

  1. Mrs. S says:

    This post seems to be more about modesty and false accusations. It’s not really about sexual harassment or those who have experienced it. Do you have any words/advice for women who have actually been sexually harassed?

    • I don’t know so much about words for women who have been harassed, but the way I try to prepare my girls is just to help them understand appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior/language. When to report it, when to simply defend yourself and verbalize that you don’t appreciate x,y or z. One thing I don’t want is for my girls to be so “fragile” that when a man at work makes an inappropriate comment (they will) they feel violated to the point they let it affect them. I think we are (and should be) stronger than that. So just trying to help them navigate what is serious, what should be reported, what should be defended themselves, what should be ignored.

      • Mrs. S says:

        I’m surprised your post doesn’t contain advice on what to do if you are sexually harassed. That is very important! Girls should know what to do. So many girls blame themselves, think they should put up with it, think it’s their fault because of a “low cut blouse.”

        Yes, there are women who contact HR because a man says they look nice. But that’s what your whole post seems to be about! Most women go to HR after suffering far worse harassment for weeks or months. They deserve a mention.

      • Caroline says:

        I’ve worked in the same public high school for 34 years, and I remember the ugly 80’s when there was a lot of inappropriate banter and commentary from men towards women. It was awkward because I was young and there were not clear ‘rules’ against this kind of behavior by men. Fortunately, that ridiculous period ended and employers became much more aware of the negative affects of this kind of behavior in the work place. I haven’t heard or been the recipient of an inappropriate comment for at least the last 25 years, and I’m glad. I hope that your daughters and mine don’t encounter that kind of behavior in the work place, but at least among the public school teachers I know it is unheard of these days. Unfortunately I know there is this kind of inappropriate behavior among students (especially older boys toward younger girls), and when it is discovered it is dealt with.

        • Mrs. S says:

          Thank goodness there are clear rules now to protect those young girls! They should be able to feel safe in school and at work. I’m glad harassers are dealt with at your school, and punished appropriately. It sounds like that has significantly cut down the amount of harassment that occurs. I’m sorry they didn’t receive punishment in the 80s. So much unnecessary suffering took place as a result, I am sure.

  2. D. says:

    Mrs. S. It really starts with what children are taught or not taught at home. Kelly’s whole point is that we prepare our children to navigate this crazy world. In this particular article, Kelly is sharing how we can teach our daughters to be pure and modest and prepare them for how to respond to comments or advances sexual in nature. Our culture is so rift with sexuality and “my rights,” that it cannot distinguish between one who brings shame upon themselves and one who is taken advantage of. Wearing a tight skirt, plunging neckline and acting flirtatious are sure ways to get negative attention. What we want to prepare our daughters for is that if they ever are sexually harassed, it is of no fault of their own.

  3. Mrs. S. says:

    “What we want to prepare our daughters for is that if they ever are sexually harassed, it is of no fault of their own.”

    Agreed!

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