What do we owe to our Daughters?
I came into work this week to find that the building had put a door knob combination lock on the public bathrooms. They did this because we have a large population of homeless nearby and they regularly use the bathroom in our building to take sink baths and to use the facility. Since they no longer had access to the public restroom, they started to enter the offices in the building asking if they could either have the combination or use our bathrooms.
One young woman came into my office and asked me if she could use my sink as she had an appointment with DHS and wanted to clean up and change. After she had left the bathroom, she thanked me and talked to me for a few minutes about her life, and on her way out of the building, she took the doorbell outside our office door. I know it was her because she rang it as she pulled it from the wall. I laughed when I noticed it. missing.
Then later in the week, I watched a domestic in our parking lot. Tons of screaming on the male's part, lots of aggressive posturing, and verbal abuse while the woman was begging him for forgiveness. Apparently, she burned a hole in his scarf. I watched in case he actually hit her, but I kept thinking to myself, "what are we teaching our daughters?". How do these two young women get to these points?
The first homeless woman had some obvious mental health issues I noticed during our brief interaction. I couldn't tell if she suffered from drug or alcohol abuse, or if she self-medicated for an underlining mental health issue with drugs or alcohol. Either way, she was in trouble. The second young woman was scared that her husband would leave her. I know this because she kept reminding him that he was her husband and begging him to forgive her and love her again She had no self-respect, shame, or self-worth. While I had no respect or liking for the man, I did feel some pity for him because someone taught him to behave this way. But, I wanted to hug her so badly. And you know what, I should have interfered. Asa human being I owed her something.
What do we owe our daughters? More than they get through their social groups, television, music, movies, or public education. More than the popular icons, influencers, politicians, and advertisers give them. We owe them the ability to build self-respect and to love themselves. In some ways, it seems that we're running back into history where women were somehow less. What do we as women owe our daughters? Another question is what do men owe their daughters? The answer to both questions is everything they need to be aware, self-sufficient, independent, honorable, considerate, kind, courteous, and respectful. The ability to see that they deserve to be treated the same by everyone they meet. They need to know that we always have their back. It starts at home, it starts with us, and it starts with me. And now that I think about it, we owe our sons too.