My daughter was two when I first got my hands on Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher’s groundbreaking book about girls. I was in I was in my late 20s and it was a revelation. I devoured it. I was furious. If people knew these things, if it were even possible to know these things, where were the grown-ups in my life as a young teen, keeping me safe?
When my daughter was 12 I began talking to her about how to protect herself.
“You can’t go to parties and drink like other girls,” I told her. “It may look like fun, but bad things can happen.”
Without going into what bad things, exactly, I tried to come at her crab-style in order to keep the channels open.
“You’re going to be tempted to lie to me.”
“Mom, I won’t.”
“You can always tell me the truth. It’s the only way I can keep you safe.” And with the promise of open communication, I prayed.
And still, one day I picked her up from school after spending the weekend at her dad’s and something had happened. She didn’t tell me exactly what. She appeared hunched in on herself and somehow smaller. She went into her room to sleep. In just one night, the warnings, the work, had unraveled. Her confidence suffered.
With love, my daughter overcame her lingering self-doubt, and today strong women speak openly about sexual trauma they have suffered. A crack of light is getting in. But public speeches are never enough. Our girls are exposed to so much more today than even when my daughter was young. It really does take a village.
Simple and Just is laying a foundation for that village square. It’s bricks and it’s mortar lie in the heart of the Queen Anne community, and every day the women who work and volunteer in the shop touch someone’s life.
In truth, we can never know who we impact when we give, or how our efforts will effect change. We’ll never receive a reward. It’s enough. Our donations, our purchases, are helping women and girls and families who we will never know, and for that, we can all be profoundly grateful.