To my future daughter,

There are a lot of things to say to you, and figuring out where to start is hard. But I want you to know that I will do my best to raise you the best way I know how and teach you everything I can so that you are able to trust yourself and your decisions.

I hope you grow up knowing that your intelligence is worth more than the ratio of your hips to your waist. I hope you grow up being characterized by who you are and not by the way you look. I hope that when you go to your first dance, it’s with someone you care about and someone who cares about you. There are a lot of things to hope for, but what I hope for most, is that you are safe.

Sometimes, the world isn’t the best place, and although every generation has said that to their children, each generation says it for a different reason. I want you to be able to walk down the street without getting catcalled. I want you to be able to wear shorts on a hot day and not feel as though you are on display. Most of all, I want you to know that your body is your own. It doesn’t belong to anyone else, and if people tell you that what you are wearing is too ‘inappropriate,’ I want you know that you aren’t responsible for their self-control.

I never want you to have to experience a situation that you are uncomfortable with. Whether it is at a party or in your own home, I never want you to fear that the justice system won’t take you seriously when you need it to be on your side. I hope you never have to see your name spread through the news, or questioned, or as a trend on Twitter. I hope you never experience the cruelty of a society that sides with an attacker over their victim.

I hope, more than anything, that the world you are brought into has changed. Right now, we have come a long way, but there is still so much more to be done. I hope that when you do come, you don’t have to fight to be heard and believed.

And to my future son,

I have not forgotten you. I promise to raise you to recognize the difference between a yes and a no - verbal or not. I hope that you will know what to do in a situation that isn’t clearly black or white. I promise to teach you that a woman is not just a body to claim and that the only one she has to answer to is herself. By teaching you that, I hope that you are able to respect a woman for who she is and not think that you are owed anything for taking her out.

I hope that if you choose to go to college, that I will have raised you to do the right thing - even if the right thing is telling a person of authority the truth, even if the truth hurts a friend. I hope that you know that a bare shoulder isn’t consent, and a Halloween costume isn’t an invitation.

I hope you never have to experience what it means to be a man that has been sexually assaulted. I hope you never experience what it means to tell your truth, your story, and not be believed because “a man can’t be raped.”

The man you can grow up to be is a man of respect, and I hope you never feel that respect taken away by being taunted, or made fun of, or not believed. I hope you never experience the isolation that comes with sexual assault, and I want you to know I will be always here for you.

I hope you never experience the world forgetting that your pain exists and that it is possible for you to go through the same thing.

To my future children,

I hope that when you come into the world, the world is ready for you. I hope the legal system is better prepared for sexual assault, and I hope that others are teaching their children the same things I plan to teach you. 

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