PLANO – After 24-year-old Mollie Tibbetts was attacked and killed this summer by a man accused of following her on a routine jog, we were all hit with another wave of suggestions for how women can stay safe during normal activities.
But what if, that’s not the only solution.
“It’s not on the victim,” said Kortney Sorrell from the Turning Point Rape Crisis Center.
Just this month, a 14-year-old girl in Oklahoma was stabbed repeatedly by a male classmate at school because she told him she only liked him as a friend when he wanted to be in a relationship.
So what’s the best age to learn consent and how to handle rejection without violence?
“There’s not an age where it’s too young to teach consent,” Sorrell said. “There’s even been research that shows talking to your one-year-old about consent and healthy boundaries looks like is appropriate. We need to be teaching kids that saying ‘no’ is okay. It’s not selfish to say, ‘Hey, I don’t like this.'”
A relative of Mollie Tibbetts posted on Facebook earlier this week, saying that “Mollie was murdered because a man denied her right to say ‘no.'”
Potential victims can attempt to prepare themselves with self defense classes and pepper spray, but for real prevention, we’ll need to start long before that.
“We absolutely need to start at square one,” Sorrell said. “Preventative education about knowing what’s causing these people to believe that they can act this way with others.”