Protecting our young girls

Me Too has become part of our vernacular - everyone can think of an instance where she can say “me, too.” We just don’t all choose to share those moments that made us feel like crap, or stupid for getting in that situation, or furious at our helplessness. I understand men can feel that way as well - in fact I just read a blog by a man who was continually propositioned by. powerful woman in his industry who was drunk - but I have the feeling men don’t get in these nightmare situations as often as women.

When my daughters went to college, we sat them down and explained that their home-built protection system wasn’t going to be there. They could no longer say, “I’m going to call my dad and he will kill you if you touch me once more.” We also explained that, as young women, they had to be careful to think carefully before doing something that could endanger them. Like drinking too much. Or drinking a drink they’d left unattended. Because, we pointed out, if some guy raped them, their father (veteran), uncles (both former military), and grandfather (also former military) would have to kill the creep, and they’d go to jail. I know its not the world we want but it’s the world we live in. Girls just have to think, to watch, and be careful. Not fair. Not right. But they are the prey to many creeps out there with no moral compass.

This made me think of how protected I have been by my family, starting with my great-grandmother. When I was a newborn, my parents drove me to see family and show me off, as new parents are wont to do. I was being given a bath in the kitchen sink, when my G-grandmother banished all the menfolk. “THIS IS A LITTLE GIRL” she commanded, now LEAVE. It sounds silly and old-fashioned, but now I see how she was setting a standard for my protection. I was a female and worthy of being protected by the womenfolk in my family. Men were not to take advantage of me in any way, not even family. I am grateful for that standard of protection, and that it has never wavered. I know I can depend on my people to protect me with every fiber of their being. And I will do the same for the young women who have come after me.