Ladies' Month

Now that I have come to a close on my vacation musings, it seems only fitting that it is smack dab at the beginning of October. This may be my favorite month. I love autumn and all that this season brings... the crunching of fallen leaves beneath my feet, the way I am drawn back into my kitchen to make warm and comforting meals for my family, breaking out the sweaters and pulling blankets out of the chest for evening snuggles, the smells, the beautiful and vibrant colors that are brand new and comforting with familiarity at the same time, Keeneland, anticipation of the holiday season. Really, I love it all.

The other part of October that brews excitement is that for the past seven years, it was the busiest time of the year for me at work. In the wake of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the fact that it is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month always seems to get a little lost. Both issues are deeply relevant and important for women all over the world, but for some reason this year, it saddens me to hear so much effort being placed on breast cancer, yet so little on DV.

Breast cancer has touched our family deeply. My dad's mother and Curt's mom both lost battles with this devistating illness. We support the cause as much as we can and have all kinds of pink paraphernalia. It is so important and I would never want to minimize that fact. Having said that, don't most people know that breast cancer exists and that it is an issue? Sadly, the same is not true for domestic violence.

Last month, there were two domestic violence-related murders in Lexington. Two women whose lives were lost right in our own backyards and the media response to these cases has been astounding. One because it has seemed to get lost in the shuffle of the latest robbery or weather update, and the other because it has put the spotlight on an accused well known public official in a troublingly sympathetic way. In never ceases to amaze me how uneducated the public is on something that is so prevalent and puts all of us at risk. And it is a risk that can be stopped.

Yesterday, I was looking at Addie and I was overwhelmed with emotion as I realized how innocent she is. When I reach out to tickle her, she does not crouch back in fear of being hit, she giggles in anticpation. When she runs to hide in the guest bedroom, it is not because she is trying to escape violence in our home, it's because she wants me to come and find her. She loves and trusts with complete abandon because she has never had a reason to doubt our intentions of love for her. My heart breaks at the thought of that ever being stolen from her. In all that I know, in all of the work that I've done, I know that really, I can't protect her from that. I wish I could and sometimes I pretend that I can, but I am painfully aware of the sad reality that our girls face in this world.

I am not writing this in an effort to depress the crap out of you, but to only plant a seed. You see, the more we talk about it, the less likely it is that Addie will grow up in a world where the numbers of violence are stacked against her. So this month, when you watch football on TV and see all the pink towels and goalposts, when you hear breast cancer talked about every single morning on The Today Show, absolutely take heart. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. But then, take a moment to remember that one in four women will be a victim of Domestic Violence in her lifetime. One in four. How many women and girls do you know?

Perhaps in an effort to give each issue the proper attention, we should simply declare October to be: Ladies' Month. Run in marathons, donate to research and shelters, attend rallies and vigils, check your boobs, give a friend a hotline number, talk to your girls and your boys... Break out your pink AND your purple.


Tisha said...

I'm in for Ladies Month. Love the idea Sara!

LeTonia said...

Ladies Month! Brilliant!

sara said...

Maybe we can rally up and start a joint campaign. There's always room on our plates for one more thing, right?