Today, March 8, 2021 is International Women’s Day. The theme of this years campaign is #ChooseToChallenge It is about making a “commitment to choose to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.”
I will do that through this blog. I challenge all women to learn the signs of abuse and listen to that gut that tells you there is danger. Be strong. There is is help and I will continue to write about it and spread the word.
When you watch a movie and the female lead walks down a dark alley–(often it’s after a rain and there’ll be puddles glistening in the one and only street light)–Typically she’ll be wearing impossibly stupid shoes that she could never run in…because we all know she’ll have to run, right?
Hmm….all the better to trip in and smear the mud from the puddle all over her beautiful dress so she can look back again to see who’s following her.
The background music gets louder, your gut clinches even tighter, and the sense of impending doom engulfs you only to have you look away at that very moment of danger.
What the heck is she doing in that damn alley anyway?
That’s always the question, right? Why take the short cut when you could be safe going to the other way. Is it because she thought she was invincible or was it because she didn’t pay attention to the red flags?
I’m here to tell you that you need to listen. You need to hear. You need to watch. Those red flags could save your life.
There are certain times when you may have a physical response to something you’re about to do. Maybe you’re about to enter a room and you hesitate. Why? Is there danger? Often there’s a reason and you already know it.
You can call it a sixth-sense, or maybe intuition, or a foreboding, but it’s there. A gut clenching adrenaline surge that often triggers the fight or flight response in your body.
Do you know what triggers you? What sends those prickly spider senses soaring?
- is it a sudden shortness of breath?
- the feeling of walking on egg shells?
- a certain sound? maybe a creaking door or floorboards?
- the smell of alcohol? gunpowder?
- walking through spiderwebs? or cobwebs?
- a particular person or voice?
- shadows? maybe a flapping curtain through an open window?
These are all subtle things that can make you senses pique. Think of them when you consider these things…
- someone scrolling through your phone or looking through your purse without permission.
- a partner who calls you nasty names.
- someone who separates you from your family and friends.
- being humiliated at any time.
- being told you’re paranoid, stupid, crazy, confused, over-reacting.
- manipulation that causes you to act in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
- substance abuse that results in mood swings and/or physical confrontation.
Why do you run the other way from a cobweb or a funny smell but stay when someone who purportedly loves you, calls you a fat cow or doesn’t let you see your friends.
Listen to your gut. It wills speak loud and clear. The signals are often accurate and worthy of your attention.
Don’t be that young woman who walks back into the house even when she knows–or at least senses–something is off kilter and she’s in danger.
If you’re in an abusive relationship there is help. Call 9-1-1 if there is immediate danger or check out
Ending Violence Association of Canada for the phone numbers in your area.
So often the answer is either within you but you’re refusing to listen or it’s right in front of you but you chose to look the other way. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect–always. Never sell yourself short. Tell someone what is happening–talk to your mom, auntie, pastor, teacher, boss, counsellor… Reach out and get the help you need.
Trust that gut instinct–it could save your life.