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In Her Shoes

Have you ever been instructed to put on an oversized hooded sweatshirt, and pull it tightly over your face so that you wouldn’t attract any attention, even though you were accompanied by two big guys?

As a child did you watch your friend’s mother burst through your front door in tears and run to the bathroom to vomit because she just discovered that the man she was sleeping with was married?

Did you decide to stay at home when you first got pregnant because of the reasoning that you could probably never make as much money as your husband, and because you had boobs?

Did you allow yourself to be sexually molested by a twenty two year old man at sixteen because you didn’t know any better, and because you appreciated the attention?

Did your best friend from high school become a victim of date rape in the first month that she went away to college?

Have you attempted to console a friend as she broke down over the possibility that she might never be able to have children as the result of a previous abortion?

Have you ever been harassed by a man that was working in your apartment building, where it escalated to the point that he was painting cryptic messages on your front door and you were afraid to go home?

Have you ever had a man recommend to your boyfriend that he should smack you around more often because you have too many opinions?

Have you ever hurried home in the dark convinced that someone was following you, and arrived there shaking and in tears?

Do you have a girlfriend who was told by the police that she was drunk and faking it as she lay on the ground bleeding internally after nearly being beaten to death by her boyfriend?

Do you always remember to check beneath your car when you approach it in a parking lot at night, and then check the backseat before you get in?

Do you have any friends who have walked in on a man at a family reunion who was molesting two little girls?

Do you know a woman who kept silent and allowed her father to sexually abuse her for years as a child because she wanted to make sure that he left her sisters alone?

Has one of your closest friends ever tried to force himself on you in the middle of the night, when you were sound asleep?

Are you careful about what you wear out in public because you don’t want to attract the wrong type of attention?

Are you diligent in reading up on self-defense techniques on a regular basis, and do you sleep with a taser on your bedside table, or run with pepper spray?

This is all me. Every single one of these questions is a yes for me. The saddest part of all is that I actually consider myself very fortunate because of the fact that I have never been raped. Men and women are absolutely not equal in our society. Before we even begin to solve the multitude of problems that are created by this inequality, we have to start paying attention to just how much this imbalance affects our daily lives. I do not believe that this list is an acceptable one for me to be able to make off of the top of my head, and I am determined to keep working to ensure that my daughters do not have lists to rival my own when they become adults. Sharing our own experiences is one of the most valuable ways that we can all spread awareness about gender inequality. Statistics are meaningless when compared with real people’s real experiences. Share your truth and help to make the future a brighter one for our daughters and our sons alike.


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