Overheard at the park just now:
“What do you tell a woman with two black eyes? Nothing; you already told her twice.”
What she actually needs to hear? I’m not qualified to say entirely, but it surely includes that she is endowed by her Creator with infinite value and worth, that her safety is deserved and important, and that help is available from people who don’t agree with hateful “jokes” like that.
What those who tell and laugh at such jokes need to hear? The same.
The saddest part? It’s hard for either side to really hear those messages, especially from people they don’t have relationships with.
There’s an increasing emphasis on teaching men not to hurt women rather than teaching women not to be hurt by men. It’s understandable and has a worthwhile point. No one deserves to be hurt. No one deserves to live in fear. No one is to blame for the actions of those who hurt them.
But the sad reality is we can only teach those we know and love; we can only influence people through time and relationship. We can not teach everyone else. Tracy and I are teaching our daughter to protect herself from harm not because we’re trapped in some sexist perspective but because we don’t want her to be hurt, and sadly, we can’t teach others not to hurt her. We teach our son to respect and protect women, but that’s part of teaching both of them to respect and help other people, to love all those whom God puts in their path. Just as teaching her to protect herself is part of teaching both of them to protect themselves from the many people who aren’t being taught to love and protect and help.
Because some people still think it’s funny to think of giving black eyes as a conversation.