A brief talk (and books) on respecting our bodies, sexual consent and boundaries

In this day and age we are inundated with story after story about sexual harassment, rape culture and consent. Every morning our news feed, television and podcasts flash stories across our devices setting the emotional tone for our day. This seemingly unending barrage of stories enrage us. For hundreds of thousands, it triggers old, buried wounds of pain and trauma. This rape culture is often downplayed,  ignored and sometimes condoned by the powers that be which further silences and shames victims of these crimes against their bodies.

Not My Lane

But let me be clear and say that this is not my lane. There are authors, researchers and mental health professionals who have studied and conducted extensive research in this area. I am not one of them. But despite the fact that this is not my declared area of expertise, it is quickly becoming just that for many of us in this field.  In fact, countless mental health professionals treat this form of trauma because of the rising amount of people showing up with stories of harassment, objectification, misogyny, inappropriate touching and groping, demoralizing comments, body shaming, date rape, and all forms of sexual trauma. They are showing up now, finally unafraid to address the pain and suffering. We help them feel whole again and get their power back.

Shift Needs to Happen

My first go-to is always prevention. I like to look at what can be done to stop this from happening in the first place.  For one, our society needs a shift; a spiritual and behavioral shift to change the course of this low vibrational behavior.  So, how does this shift happen? I believe that it starts with self-awareness. Self-awareness can be realized by creating a daily meditation practice, being mindful and aware of our thoughts and behaviors, focusing on loving kindness, living in a state of gratitude and seeing the goodness in others are actions needed to shift this ugly blemish on our society. Respecting our body temples by being aware of what we do with it, put on it and in it makes a difference. Secondly, having open discussions about rape, consent and boundaries with and among our peers, community, schools, institutions and the larger society can cause a huge shift in the right direction.

Start Early

Lastly, I have the belief that it all of our responsibility to do our part to stop these unhealthy practices. It starts with children, which is why I've compiled a few books (not exhaustive) for both children and adults. Boys and girls alike should know, early on, that their bodies are their temples and that no one has the right or authority to objectify or touch it without their consent. Let's teach them to stop looking out for the "no" and wait for a clear "yes" instead.

Books For Kids:

 Yes Means Yes: An Introduction to Consent and Boundaries

No Means No!: Teaching children about personal boundaries, respect and consent; empowering kids by respecting their choices and their right to say, 'No!'

I Said No! A Kid-to-kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private

Books For Adults (men and women):

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape

Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do about It

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