Episode 30: Gorilla, Rape Culture, and the Role of Parents

Tesi and Leslie get a little heated, a tiny bit soap box-y, and a whole lot passionate on Episode 30 in which they tackle the headlines. The women pause to consider the magnifying glass that was placed on the mother at the Cincinnati Zoo as her toddler tumbled into the ape enclosure and discuss how, as mothers, our generation can help put a stop to the rape culture that's all too prevalent in our country. As they discuss the zoo incident and the sentence just doled out to a rapist in California, the women try their best to navigate the incredibly difficult world we inhabit. Through their conversation they mince no words, but do their best to arrive at a place of productive rage and overall love.

Here is a brief description of the two items we discuss:

The Mom and the Toddler in the Gorilla Enclosure: At the Cincinnati Zoo last month a three-year-old climbed through a barrier and fell into a gorilla enclosure. After dragging the boy around for nearly 10 minutes, zoo staff shot and killed the gorilla. It became a huge controversy, many people blaming the mom of the young boy for not keeping a closer eye on him.

Brock Turner: A 20-year-old Stanford University student was found guilty in March and this week was sentenced to just six months in prison. Two male witnesses saw him raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and chased Turner down and held him there until police arrived. The judge's verdict explained that he was sentencing Turner to far less than the 14-year maximum essentially because it was a lapse in judgement and that he didn’t believe Turner was a threat to anyone. This judge was a Stanford graduate and there is now a petition to recall him.

Here are a few ways that moms (and dads) can help turn the tide of rape culture discussed on today's episode:

  • Talk to your kids about sex. It's awkward and embarrassing. Do it anyway.
  • Implement a firm "NO means NO policy" while rough-housing, tickling, wrestling, or any other physical play.
  • Encourage children to practice their "NO" out loud ... and then honor it.
  • Stop telling our daughters that "teasing" (pulling hair, pulling on clothing, chasing, etc., even if she doesn't like it) is a sign that someone "likes" you.
  • Stop assigning boyfriends/girlfriends to young children too young to be sexualized.
  • When age appropriate, talk about the definition of consent.
  • Discuss with your children the media's portrayal of criminals through images and the use of language in describing victims and perpetrators.
  • Notice, together with your children, how race and class distort our system of justice.

How to find hope, Mama Bears? Listen to the end of the episode for a list of what keeps Leslie and Tesi clinging to the idea that good can prevail.

Important links mentioned in the show:

Sign the petition to remove the judge of the Stanford rape trial from the bench HERE.

A response to the Gorilla story that resonates can be found HERE.

An article by Jessica Birthisel referenced within the podcast can be found HERE.

Amy Schumer's take on "GRAPE" here or Google it for other examples and explanations within interviews.

If you do nothing else, please read the response from the victim in this wretched case HERE. Such love and wisdom and strength and compassion.

We must hold the bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. ~ This quote is widely attributed to Karl Barth

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Thanks to Wunderkind for the beats!