By now we all have heard of the unfortunate death of Keneeka Jenkins, the 19-year old, who according to the Chicago police, died over the weekend after “accidentally walking into a freezer”. While most of us agree that we don’t believe that is the actual cause of death, there are so many speculations and news stories floating around, many of us aren’t quite sure what to believe. Yet, one other thing we (those on the outside looking in) agree on is that we should definitely be talking to our children. However, while the masses suggests we talk to our girls about the company they keep, I believe we should be talking to our boys as well.
No, I don’t know the whole story. I’ve already said I’m trying to figure it out the same as everyone else, but the thing that got me was if a rape was taking place while Keneeka’s friend, Irene, was on Facebook live, how could they sit there throughout. What kind of human could? But furthermore, what kind of male is so in need of a woman that he has to overpower and take her? And we see this so often now days. Sexual assaults are in the news every day. The National Sexual Assault Center states that 1 in 5 women will be raped in their lifetime, and 1 in 71 men in their lifetime. Look around your workplace and see how many women that could be.
Yes, I do think we should be talking to our girls, discussing the traits of a healthy friendship and peer pressure, the “if we come together, we leave together” rule, and the dangers of misusing social media, but we also need to be discussing with our sons the risks of rape culture-how they should be mindful of their friends, peer pressure, and dangerous situations- being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We stress the dangers of police brutality, unwanted pregnancy and diseases, but we also need to be discussing sexual consent. We need to be sure they understand female or male, no one’s body is theirs for the taking. We need to be building our children up so that when faced with crazy, chaotic situations they have the spirit of discernment to say, “no, this isn’t me. This isn’t within my character, and I won’t stand by while something like this takes place.” They need to be able to see how one wrong move can affect their future.
I discussed the situation with my oldest two children (son 17 and daughter 13). They had already researched the story before I did. Initially we discussed the social media and the friends aspects of things, and they both agreed that it’s important to be mindful of real friends, though they refused to believe people judge you off the company you keep. That’s another story, but then it hit me that I needed to have a talk with my son alone as well.
It’s our duty as their parents to equip them for the world, to do our best to make sure we are rearing a generation stronger and kinder than us. My heart goes out to Keneeka’s mother and family, but my heart also goes out to all involved because this whole situation shows just how astray this upcoming generation is. If you would like to learn more about sexual consent in preparation for speaking with your children, I found these tips below to be great talking points.
From the Planned Parenthood Site:
Freely given. It’s not okay to pressure, trick, or threaten someone into saying yes. And you can’t give consent if you’re drunk, high, or passed out.
Reversible. It’s okay to say yes and then change your mind — at any time! Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
Informed. You can only consent to something if you have all the facts. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
Enthusiastic. When it comes to sex, you should do stuff you WANT to do, not things people expect you to do. If someone doesn’t seem enthusiastic (meaning happy, excited, or energized), stop and check in.
Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’re saying yes to other things (like having sex).
There are laws about who’s able to consent. If the person you’re with is…
- Drunk or high
- Asleep or passed out
- Below the legal age of consent or much younger than you
- Disabled in a way that affects their ability to understand you
…then they can’t consent, and it’s not okay for you to do anything sexual with them.
Consent should not be assumed
Each of us is responsible for making sure we have consent in every sexual situation. If you are unsure, it is important to clarify what your partner feels about the sexual situation before initiating or continuing the sexual activity. Consent should not simply be assumed by:
- Body language, Appearance, or Non-Verbal Communication: One should never assume by the way a person dresses, smiles, looks or acts, that they to have sex with you.
- Dating relationships or previous sexual activity: Simply because two or more people are dating or have had sex in the past does not mean that they are consenting to have sex with you.
- Marriage: Even in marriage, a person should not assume they have consent for sexual activity. Marital rape is as serious as any other sexual assault.
- Previous Activity: Consent to engage in one sexual activity at one time is not consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage in the same sexual activity on a later occasion.
- Silence, Passivity, Lack of Resistance, or immobility: A person’s silence should not be considered consent. A person who does not respond to attempts to engage in sexual activity, even if they do not verbally say no or resist physically, is not clearly agreeing to sexual activity.
- Incapacitation: Alcohol consumption or use of other drugs can render a person incapable of giving consent. Alcohol is often used as a weapon to target individuals and is used by perpetrators to excuse their own actions. Additionally, Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct laws apply to a perpetrator regardless of whether or not they were drinking. It is important to remember that sexual assault is never the survivor’s fault, regardless of whether they may have been intoxicated.
I wanted to find more info on the stats of teens who have been convicted of sexual assault or that were convicted somehow but did not actually engage it but the fact that they were there led to the conviction, but could not find anything on such short notice, and I wanted to share these thoughts with you all. I truly hope justice is served for Keneeka, but I won’t say she died in vain, because her death is bringing to light concerns we should be dealing with as parents. If you would like to continue this conversation with me on Twitter, my handle is below.