Trust the red flags

So I had this perky post about resolutions all set to go and then I read this from Charlotte. It just breaks my heart. My heart breaks for Charlotte and all the other women who had this happen to them. My heart breaks for my daughters and all the other daughters out there who will have to be warned about this kind of thing. It makes me angry as hell at anyone who thinks they can intimidate and threaten another human being all for the sake of power.How do I talk to my daughter, who is 8, about things like this? We’ve talked about stranger danger, and standing up for herself (she’s a follower, big time), and we have talked about how our bodies are our own and no one has permission to touch us.

But I want to know, how do I tell her to trust that inner voice that says “this is not a good situation”? How do I make her understand that being polite is not always the best thing to be? She is such a people pleaser and so naïve (like I was at her age) that I’m afraid she’ll ignore that gut feeling (like I have so many times before) when there are red flags going up everywhere.

I’ve never been hurt or assaulted, but there were times in college when, if it hadn’t been for my roommate (who was always at my side) I would have found myself in very bad circumstances. She always seemed to be able to read a situation better than I could, so she was usually the one saying “come on, we need to get outta here”. I was so green, that I wanted to believe that every one had good intentions and no one would hurt me because I was a good person. When I think back to what could have happened – it chills me to the bone. I want my daughters to be smarter than I was.

Wow, not such a perky post huh? I wasn’t even going to blog about this, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. Putting it out there in cyberspace helps a little, so here it is. I promise tomorrow’s post will be a little more light-hearted.

9 thoughts on “Trust the red flags

  1. I was also very troubled by her post. The statistics for violence against women are so frighteningly high and we are all at risk… You’re right, we need to teach our daughters!

  2. Not a perky post, but very, very important.

    I have three daughters and we talk about this. We call it being the boss of your body, so that it’s about both hitting/violence and inappropriate touch. I started this at about age 8 and I will keep on talking. Sometimes I think, as moms, we might do our daughters a disservice by not telling them more, preparing them better, daring to be more honest, more frank. Just my opinion.

    I plan to take them to self-defense classes too. I tell them that the world is a safe place, but that there are a few bad people (and stay the heck away from them).

  3. Wow, Jill. I never even came close to having anything like this happen to me. I think my mom was a big red flag for me–very overprotective. But now I’m grateful for it.

  4. I consider myself very very lucky. The scariest time when was I was in a cab in Greece and traveling by myself. I was 20 years old and heading home. I was broke and going to spend the night at the airport and told the cabbie this. He told me he would take me to a hotel where we could both “sleep.” I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I told him no, several times and thought about jumping out of the cab at the nearest stop light. Luckily, I kept seeing signs for the airport and he got me there.

  5. Wow – there but for the grace of God. It is scary what women have to think about these days. It is so important to trust your gut! Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Jilly- Wow. How sad and scary! =( As neurotic and crazy and overprotective as your sister can sometimes be, she definitely instilled a sense of, oh-I-don’t-know– intolerance, self-confidence, self-awareness, in me that helped me listen to those red flags as they would pop up in my psyche throughout my growing up. Those things, paired with 5-million “don’t-open-that-can-of-worms” talks are the perfect recipe for not becoming victims of horrible situations like this one. I have no doubt that both your daughters will grow up to be just as awesome as their Mom, though! Naive and sweet as they may be, they will be just as strong as you are…

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