The Land of the Sheep and the Wolves
I'm sure by now everyone's heard the catchy ukulele song "A bad time for men" spreading like wildfire all over facebook. It wasn't Kavanaugh that really got me thinking hard about sexual assault- it was that song. Every single thing she mentioned- being unable to wear headphones while jogging. Not using public transportation at night. Not wearing that one mini skirt. Not renting a first floor apartment. Everything she listed, I have avoided (or done very rarely) my entire life because of one thing: MEN.
I remember being 21 years old, living in Miami beach, and looking for 2nd floor apartments because a man could easily break into a first floor one. Then I heard that the sister of a friend was almost attacked when a man put a ladder up to her 2nd story bedroom window and tried to get in. I remember thinking that even a 2nd floor apartment was no longer safe. I remember walking in the middle of the streets at night after work because if I walked on the sidewalk, a man could easily pull me into an alleyway. At 22 years of age, I was in a nightclub with my best girlfriend, dancing and having a good time. I remember the light blue dress I was wearing that night and I felt really pretty in it. I don't usually feel pretty. I remember her leaving me on the dance floor (to go get a drink or go to the bathroom) and sheer panic set in. I felt like a sheep surrounded by wolves. I was a bit tipsy, my guard was down, and I wanted my "chaperone" to hurry back.
I am 42 years old now and have a 17 year old daughter. She will be leaving for college soon, on the other side of the country. That's the plan, anyway. And my biggest and ONLY fear while she's in college?? Men. I cannot be 3000 miles away from my daughter IN CASE SHE IS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. In case "something happens to her," which is what I actually say when I tell people why I'm moving out there, too. But they simply don't get it. Either they don't have a daughter or they're living in a dream world. So, so much of our female lives have been molded, shaped, and steered around avoiding being harmed by men, that we don't even realize it, until we hear a list of things in a song that we never did because of them.
I am a 42 year old single mother currently pursuing a nursing career so that I can have a steady, good paying job when I move out to California to be closer to my daughter while she is in college just in case she is sexually assaulted. Seriously. That is a true statement. From a totally not crazy mom living in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia. Or am I?
Two things I've said to my daughter in just the last three days: "You never take your earbuds out!! You need to be able to hear things going on in the house!" and "I'd get you an Uber if I knew they'd be female."
I never wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to be a movie director. For the last 17 years I've been a bodyguard.
Richmond, VA. It's my daughter's world. I'm just living in it.