Being a Mother to Daughters

mother

The news this week has been filled with the heartbreaking story of a young woman who should have been safe walking home, but tragically wasn’t. As a woman, the story hit home in a way that was depressingly familiar. As a mother, it reignited fears for the safety of my own daughters.

Just like 97% of the female population, I have experienced harassment, inappropriate comments, intimidating behaviour and situations where I have felt afraid of men. I have pretended to take a phone call, I have changed my route as I was afraid of being followed, I have carried my keys through my fingers, I have sent texts to people to say when I am home so that they know I am safe and I have asked friends to text me for the same reason.

I am the mother of two daughters who bring huge amounts of joy to my life. But, being a mother of daughters is terrifying. I teach them the skills that I have learned to try and keep them safe and I desperately hope that they will never need to use them. At the moment, they are 10 and 14. We talk about stranger danger, what counts as inappropriate behaviour and why it’s important to tell someone where they are going. As they get older, I know that my fears will increase. We will need to discuss consent, drink spiking, inappropriate behaviour in the workplace and the many forms of domestic abuse.

My daughters know that MOST boys and men can be trusted. They know that MOST people wouldn’t ever think of hurting them. But, they also know that bad people exist and it’s not always easy to tell which is which, so it is better to be careful. I would much rather that they are too cautious rather than too trusting.

I am proud of every woman who has shared stories of their experiences this week. Talking about things is the first step in creating change. Change is necessary! I don’t want to be having the same conversations with my granddaughters.

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