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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » An darkly oversexualized view of the world?

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Author Topic: An darkly oversexualized view of the world?
Atonement
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I was just wanting to get an oppinion about a pattern I noticed with both of my parents.
They both seem to oversexualize things, and assume that there are insest/rape situations way too often.

For example, once when I was in high school, I was considering dating this guy. We were both 17 at the time, and my parents asked me if he had any siblings. I told them he had an 18 year old stepsister and that they got along well.

They immediately told me not to date the guy, because since he had a stepsister of similar age, they automatically assumed that the guy and his stepsister were sexually involved with one another, and they didn’t want me inducted (and these are their EXACT words) into his “harem”.

Earlier this month I went on vacation with my parents, siblings, and my older sister’s family. My parents also decided that there must be something “weird” going on between my 17 year old niece and her father because they were “unnatuarlly close” (she spent more time talking to him than her mother), there was “too much physical contact” (hugging, ect.) and because he pulled her the shoulder of her shirt up when her bra strap was showing.

Also, whenever my mom hears about a situation where a girl of any age has a stepfather, she automatically assumes that the girl is being molested by him. She has also voiced an oppinion that single moms shouldn’t date or remarry until their children are adults so they don’t get molested.

I realize that the issue may be that since my mom actually was molested by her stepfather as a child and teen, that assuming that things like this are more common than they actually are may be a coping mechanism. I can’t think of a reason for my father’s opinions other than that he’s a very cynical person in general.

Still, it really bothers me that their minds always go to such dark places so quickly. When I’ve discussed this with my mom, she says that I’m just thinking the best of the world because I’m “Innocent, naive, and nothing bad has ever happened to me or anyone I know.”

What do you all think about this?

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Robin Lee
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Hmm...most interesting. Personally, I think it's just as dangerous to assume that nefarious things are happening without actual proof. *My* cynical side says that holding such beliefs so strongly could blind people to things that are really going on.

It's certainly plausible that your mother sees the world like this because of her own experiences.

I can see where it would be frustrating for you, particularly since your Mom put down your poitn of view. The reality is that rape and incest are more prevalent than people think, but I'm not sure that thinking the worst of people for no reason whatsoever is also going to help things. Sadly, it's pretty tough to change people's minds or perceptions, particularly when we're close to them, like family. [Smile]

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Robin

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Atonement
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Just out of curiosity, I believe the statistics are that one in four women are raped at some point in their lifetime.

I'm pretty sure that it is safe to say that more than one in for women today have step parents, correct?

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Jill2000Plus
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That, and those statistics include many women who are raped by someone who is not a stepfamily member, and many victims of rape where it was a family member who raped them were raped by a biological parent, usually the father, does that mean that all women should keep their kids away from their biological fathers as a precaution too? Because children being molested/raped by their biological fathers is hardly rare (addressed to your mother rather than you).

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Heather
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You know, it's kind of amazing to me that your mother doesn't think you've had anything bad happen to you, given you grew up in some kinds of abuse yourself. [Frown]

It's also odd to me she thinks you don't know anyone who has lived through abuse: you certainly know her, but you also know other people.

Really, this sounds a whole lot like your mother still really, really needing her own help. In such a strong way that to me, it's almost painful to hear her presenting things like this because in my book, it's just such a strong cry for long, long overdue help she needs for herself.

In terms of your father being on board himself, well... there are probably a few reasons for that, and I imagine that it's possible one of them is that these kinds of potential abuse might make his behavior seem more benign, but who knows.

Either way, though, obviously having to live with this stinks and has to be pretty rough on you.

Since I think it's long been established, if I'm recalling correctly, that neither of them really have any interest yet in working on their own stuff (which for your Mom really is sad, but what can you do?), perhaps your own best tactic is to come up with a couple things to say or approaches to set a limit with these things when you're with them and they go places like this? In other words, some calm, kind, basic ways of saying, "I really don't want to hear this and am asking you to stop talking like this in front of me, please."

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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Hi, Heather!

It it something that i find a bit disturbing, but not extremely so. It's also not something that comes up very frequently, I guess I was just more curious to see what you guys thought about it, and I guess get a confirmation that my view was, statistically, closer to being correct.

I know I haven't given you an update, but things with my parents have gotten a lot better pretty much since I moved out.

Sadly, this has come at the cost of my dad's deteriorating health, and I know this may sound awful to some, but it's a trade I am totally willing to accept.

Since he's been on the psych meds, his moods have been stabilized almost to the point of him being spaced out, which in his case is a good thing. That coupled with his memory issues have given my mom pretty much full control of the finances/what the family does, ect. Not once have I heard them fight when I'm there, and I have only once heard my mom's "we've had a really rough day" voice, and I talk to her at least twice a day on average.

So, my mom has been better than ever for. She's nearly 53, and this is literally the first time in her life that she isn't being abused in some form or another. I still really think that she could benefit from a therapist(I know I did) to help with some of the longstanding issues, but she doesn't seem to have any interest.

I haven't gotten to the point of asking her not to discuss those particular things with me, but if it comes up again, I'd feel 100% comfortable presenting her the actual statistics and letting her know that her bias (while unfortunately true in some cases) isn't as common as she thinks.

The main reason that it bothers me is that in my opinion, saying that X happens to people in Y family conditions sounds uncomfortably similar to victim blaming (or in this case, victim's parent blaming), you know what I mean?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I guess.

That's not really what I feel from it, but I can see how one might.

To me, it looks a lot more like perhaps simply not being ready to put blame where it belongs -- on an individual person's choice to abuse -- and instead, make it more about whole contexts. In other words, it's about X kind of relationship or Y appearance of affection, abuse, not about the fact that people can have, say, a stepfather/stepdaughter relationship and NOT molest, while other stepparents do or have.

That all said, I'd not expect someone your mother's age, and who hasn't ever had any help with this, to have any kind of nuanced view of abuse dynamics. She's about ten years older than me, and I can tell you just from my stuff generationally that when I was a kid, even a teen, there was still nada culturally here in the states, let alone most places elsewhere, that talked out loud about abuse, that talked about abuse dynamics, etc. All of that really didn't start to happen in any major, to-the-mainstream way until the late 80s or 90s.

In other words, I'm not surprised her views on this are pretty simplistic: any of ours would likely be after a lifetime of various abuses, little to no education on it, and no counseling. I'm also not saying you're being shitty about your Mom, either, btw. Just bringing this stuff up because I think that to people in their 20s or even 30s right now, it can look and feel like the level of awareness we have now has always been there, that's all.

I am really glad to hear that some things have been improving for her. That's excellent news.

(Wonder if she might read a book about some of this if you gave it as a gift? If so, I'd be happy to come up with one most likely to be a good fit for her uniqiely.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Atonement
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I don't know if she would or not, or if I would feel comfortable giving one too her.

She has this idea that the best way to be happy is to "stay positive". While I definitely agree that a positive frame of mind is a good thing to have, I do not agree that it is healthy to ignore your problems.

My mom's perspective of looking at situations involves thinking of all the people in the world that have it worse and then being grateful. The thing is though, there is always going to be someone out there that has it worse than you, but that doesn't make your problems invalid. And that's not a concept I even understood until I started coming to Scarleteen.

I would, however, love to hear whatever suggestions you'd have so I could check them out and see if I'd be comfortable giving them to her. The thing is, I'm not even sure that she defines what went on with my dad as abuse, even if I know that it was.

I totally get what you're saying about the generation gap thing. I can honestly say that I am more informed than her about the medical side of sex and sexuality in general in addition to abuse dynamics. She still believes a lot of the classic myths, and continues to believe them even in the face of scientific proof.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Okay. Let me sleep on this, and think about what might be the best fit for her, talking all of this into account. I'll pop back in the morning with my ideas. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About MeGet our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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