I try to write about real life situations, mostly upbeat, mostly about my chaotic life with three boys, wait I take that back four boys including my husband – so you all can enjoy a weekly laugh or smile at imagining me trying to survive life – which although humorous is a constant Ferris wheel, one person getting off, one load of laundry getting on, one school project unloading, another activity taking a spin. Yep, as you all know my life is in constant motion, and I am blessed by it all.

But this has been weighing very heavily on my mind lately, and apparently, it is starting to creep into our sleepy little town, and into all the sleepy little towns around the world. Sadly, we expect danger or harm to be lurking around the dark corners or down alleys of big cities, but not in “Happyville, U.S.A.”.

This “monster” that I speak of is the crazy paranoia of abduction or sexual assault. Now I realize these are two totally different animals. The first is so scary to me because I am hearing as a woman and a mother, I can’t even walk out to my car from the grocery store without being stalked or followed. This is happening to women all over the US, in small towns, big cities, everywhere. So, the fact of the matter is, these “monsters” are taking advantage of the fact that people are so unplugged from the three-dimensional world that they are paying no mind or attention to the guy leaning against the lamp post who casually starts walking towards “his” car which happens to be very near yours. And in turn, follows you to your car, and well…

So, we must all be aware. Know your surroundings, get out of your phone, have your keys ready, have an empty hand available.

Sadly, this fear is rolling over to the safety of our children too. But it has been for years. I remember getting on my bike at 8 A.M. and not returning home until the streetlights came on at night, and my mom wasn’t worried. But now we can’t let our kids out of our sight at the grocery store or at the park for fear they will be snatched in a moment’s notice.

I’m so grateful my boys are getting to grow up where they are. Yes, it is a drive into town, yes it takes some organizing and planning on my part to remember everything I need in my car for the day, and yes if I forgot something at the grocery store then we just don’t have it until the next day. But the tradeoff is so worth it. It is quiet, it is private, and it is a cul de sac in the middle of nowhere that I know my boys are safe and can ride their bikes or go run around outside and I know they are safe and having fun. In some small way I can give them the childhood I had in the 70s and 80s and the slight inconvenience of living outside of town is worth that tradeoff to me.

And sexual assault in the workplace is another topic that makes my stomach turn. I try to not get political when I write, but this angers me. Women have tried, fought, studied, and worked just as hard if not harder to get where they are today, and right now all they are having to deal with is the “Me Too Movement”. What kind of reward or promotion in their career is that? As I said, I am going to steer clear of political talk, but to this point why does, it seem lately that women (and children) are more rapidly becoming innocent prey?

We can’t stop these monsters from their actions, but we can protect ourselves, so please be aware of your surroundings. Please don’t think that this can’t happen to you just because you live in a small town, or out in a sleepy rural area; predators are lurking everywhere. They are just waiting for you to let your guard down.

Never let your wall fall, not around you, your children, your friends, or your family. Unfortunately, bad things do and will always happen, but the best way to prevent them is to be aware. Don’t be so wrapped up in a text, or a phone call, or what your kids are doing. Having everything together, organized, and being on your path to your car or your destination is your best alliance for prevention. Look like you have a purpose.

If you are approached – this is your chance to go nuts. We all know we have it in us. The quietest, meekest, sweetest little lady needs to let that inner “crazy” fly – and I mean loud and obnoxiously so. Bring as much attention to the situation as possible – and fight as you’ve never fought before. Fight as if your life depended on it – because it does!

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