My son isn't learning about consent in school. I'm furious.

How did my son learn about drugs, alcohol, STDs, birth control, and sex in school without emphasis on sexual assault?

My son met a girl this year, and they started dating. Now my "little boy" is someone’s boyfriend.

I feel like this relationship puts him in a slightly different light for me. He’s about to learn to trust someone in a new way and to care for her emotionally. She is someone’s little girl, and I want my son to treat her well.

Because of this, I decided that I wanted to talk to him about boundaries and consent. But then I got stuck.

I wasn’t sure how to approach this subject. It’s a tough one to just drop in his lap, but it’s important. When I thought about this, my mind flashed back to when he came home from school in the second grade and told me he learned about drugs and alcohol.


I remember my brief surprise: At 7 years old, my child is learning about the ways people abuse their bodies? I wondered if he was too young to understand.

Photo via iStock.

Then I remembered his 11th birthday party. One of his friends decided it would be fun to test my reaction by very casually mentioning that they were learning about STDs at school.

Then I thought of a day when he came home in seventh grade and told me about a special assembly. A man talked to the middle school students about his difficult journey through life. Until that day, he hadn’t ever thought deeply about suicide.

A few years later, as a sophomore in high school, my son proudly showed me his passing score on his driver’s ed test. He boasted about memorizing the penalties for the first, second, and third offenses of driving while intoxicated. He reminded me that he had been learning about the dangers of drunk driving for years in school.

Each of these new lessons, taught in school, pushed my child closer to "real" life, beyond the safety of youthful innocence.

Each time, I wondered if he was ready, but my concern quickly changed to gratitude when I realized that these lessons would open doors for us to talk about difficult subjects in the years to come.

I found relief in the fact that the school curriculum always seemed to be a few steps ahead of me. This could make it easier to talk about consent.

So I sat down and had the talk with him. I asked him who she was, what she was like.

I did my best to casually say: "Always keep this in mind: Never do anything with anyone who doesn’t want to do it as much as you."

Then, I asked him if he understood why this was so important. He raised an eyebrow and nodded. I tried (and failed) to be subtle when I told him that if he ever finds himself in a situation where he wants to do something physical and he’s not sure if she wants the same that he has to refrain, no matter how difficult it is. He has to protect her heart, and preserve his integrity, and make sure he doesn’t do anything without her consent.

He nodded his head and endured my impromptu lecture, and I said: "I know this is a little tough to hear from your mother. I’m sure they covered all of this in school."

But then he said no, he had not learned this in school.

He said it was obvious to him that he (or anyone) shouldn’t touch someone who doesn’t want to be touched, but he had never heard it said like this.

Photo via iStock.

As his mother, I was appalled.

How did my son learn about drugs, alcohol, STDs, birth control, and sex in school without emphasis on sexual assault?

As I talked to other parents with kids at other schools, I learned that this is common.

How is it that at school, he learned to recite the penalties for driving while intoxicated, sort through a list of illegal drugs and decipher which is a stimulant and which is a depressant, rattle off several forms of birth control, and name the symptoms of STDs I’ve never even heard of — but he has yet to hear anything about sexual violence or how to prevent it or the importance of enthusiastic consent?

My son knows that every 120 seconds, someone is injured by a drunk driver. He knows the dangers, preventative measures, and consequences of drunk driving thanks to the many years it was a major subject in health class.

He didn’t know (until I told him) that someone is sexually assaulted every 109 seconds. There is no curriculum that directly addresses the long-term effects, preventative measures, and consequences of sexual assault at his school.

As a mom of a teenage son, I can’t help but wonder: Why aren't we talking about this?

I don’t expect my son to grow up to be a drug addict or an alcoholic or a drunk driver.

I don’t expect him to contract all the STDs he can list.

And I sure as hell don’t expect him to become a rapist or the victim of one.

Photo via iStock.

But if 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault in their lifetime, how many perpetrators are out there?

How many were just as kind, conscientious, and mindful as my son and his friends when they were kids? This is a hard question but one I feel obligated to ask.

If we can reduce the risks of other dangerous behaviors through education and awareness, sexual assault should be part of the curriculum in every school.

I did quite a bit of research, hoping to find schools that taught more than just rape prevention focused on victim behavior, and I couldn’t find any programs. Not one. Kids are STILL being taught that prevention is mostly the responsibility of the potential victims.

Photo via iStock.

I want my teen son to know what sexual assault really means.

I want him to understand why rape is so damaging and traumatic.

I want him to know what to do if he or one of his friends is ever a victim.

And as difficult as it might be to state, I believe every young person should know the severity of the consequences of committing sexual assault.

If 1 in 5 women are survivors, that means that there are far too many perpetrators in the world. And prevention should not be the sole responsibility of the potential victim.

If we are teaching second graders not to do drugs, we can certainly teach teenagers about rape prevention, and the consequences of sexual assault.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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