My daughter, Bres, was raised in the heart of rural South Dakota ….where everyone knows everyone…where I never once, in 12 years, locked the doors to my house nor to my car. I thought it a perfect setting for her childhood. One filled with the outdoors, Canadian geese on migratory paths, bald eagles nesting, sheep, horses, pups and cats….caring neighbors and true friends…
It helped form her into a self-reliant person, one able to step up to most problems, one who doesn’t mind getting dirty in order to get a job done…one who is willing to pitch in and help a friend.
She also hung out with the FFA boys, learned to smoke and cuss, drink, dance, and dodge a lot of bullets.
She and I moved to Houston 4 years ago…she has made a lot of friends: some good, some bad.
Last week she offered to drive a stranger (friend of a friend) part way to his home; a 6 foot man, named James N—(French word for Christmas)– who had recently moved to Houston from Ohio . When she declined the offer of sex, he turned in the passenger seat and punched her repeatedly. She stopped her car, got out and tried to run. He caught her, pushed her down, and punched her some more…
The police, thank goodness, were there almost immediately and intervened…He is in jail…She has a serious black eye, mild concussion, and dampened faith in humanity.
While in the gas station yesterday, buying cigarettes…the cashier looked at her and said, “I’ve had a few of those in my time.” My daughter laughed, thinking she was referring to the Marlboros, and started to explain that she was going to quit smoking soon…when she realized the lady was referring to her black eye.
Bres has been taken aback, by how many strange women have come up to her to offer sympathy and share stories of male violence. She is shaken by every revelation. The sisterhood of the battered…each with sympathy and condolence, and bitterness, and anger, and gleams of vengeance and wisps of resignation.
Where and when d0 young men get the idea that it is okay to hit a woman? When and where did the concept of gratitude for a kindness rendered go away?
Girls, be careful of whom you ask into your cars and your lives….we, as older women, need to be mindful of teaching our girls to stand up for themselves…that it is not okay to be hurt, that no one deserves violence or “asks” for it.
Let’s thank others who are courteous…publicly acknowledge kindness and thoughtfulness…
Just like we fortify our bodies with women vitamins, we need to fortify our world with positive examples and encouragement. Maybe we can intervene through praise, and approbation…the world changes one person at a time…be that person. Let’s make our world healthier, like we strive to make our bodies and spirits healthier.
WomenVitamins: promoting total health