Daddy, What’s A Rapist?: Conversations Between A Father and Daughter

WARNING TEXT MAY BE TRIGGERING TO SURVIVORS OF RAPE OR SEXUAL ASSAULT

Scene: A Father and his daughter are watching the news and the Cosby guilty verdict scrolls across the screen. “This is bull!” the father exclaims. “Cosby didn’t rape those women!” Startled, the little girl looks at her father and the following ensues… Maybe…

Baby girl: Daddy, what’s a rapist?

Daddy: a rapist is someone who forces you to have sex with them and is only considered a rapist if you tell the world your horrific, degrading, humiliating experience immediately. If you wait, any amount of time, you’re a liar. No one will believe you. Not even me, baby girl.

Baby girl: Daddy, what’s a rapist?

Daddy: a rapist is someone who forces you to have sex with them. If you take drugs and you’re incoherent and can’t consent, you deserve to be raped and you’re the one at fault, baby girl.

Baby girl: Daddy, what’s a rapist?

Daddy: a rapist is someone who forces you to have sex with them. But as long as white men are getting away with rape, Black men should get away with it too. I can’t support their punishment, baby girl.

Baby girl: Daddy, what’s a rapist?

Daddy: a rapist is someone who forces you to have sex with them because of what you wear and how you behave. If you dress decently and act respectably, no man will ever rape you. If you’re raped, it’s your fault, baby girl.

Our girls need their fathers and their support. They don’t need to hear you excusing these rapes or sexual assaults. They need to feel safe to confide in you.

And yes, I’m aware that women say these things. But most likely a woman’s attacker will look more like her father than her mother. Make her feel safe.

The aftermath of the Cosby guilty verdict has made this conversation necessary. It’s hurtful to see responses that invalidate survivors who don’t immediately come forward, who accept drugs from, unbeknownst to them, their future predator and those who trust and respect a figurehead so much that they feel safe. These survivors exist outside of the Cosby case and you should all be mindful of your public reactions. People can see them. Leave your opinions about his guilt or innocence in the kitchen. It’s kitchen talk that’s not meant for public consumption. It’s hurtful.

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