Let me preface by saying I have had an amazing life and amazing friends and wonderful experiences. This is rather vulnerable of me, but these experiences have taught me why it's critical to teach children safety, teach them to say no, and teach them how to defend themselves.
  1. The 1st HS Boy Who Didn't Want to Take "NO" for an Answer
    In his truck, after kindly giving me a ride home from school, he thought he deserved payment. After the fifth "no," getting out and racing on foot to the house made sense.
  2. The 2nd HS Boy Who Didn't Want to Take "NO" for an Answer
    Oh we are just getting started. Making out is one thing, but when my virginal "no" wasn't enough to counteract his being twice my size and much stronger, I proceeded to informing him that when I told my father, he would hunt him down and remove his manhood if his own father didn't do it first.
  3. The Guy with the Pill
    Being drugged sucks. When I spoke to my sister, she explained what he had given me, demanded the address, and showed up in thirty minutes with several football players to escort me out of there. I had to have a "babysitter" the rest of the night.
  4. The Tow Truck Driver
    In college, my car broke down and a very "nice" tow-truck driver picked up my car after I called AAA. He then proceeded to show up at my apartment several times and call me from outside my apartment because well you have to give the driver your number on the form right?!
  5. The Trusted Friend
    Because let's face it, this isn't vulnerable and traumatic enough... That time you fall asleep after a few drinks and wake up not knowing how you got into you dear friends bed, spend years blaming and punishing yourself, and realize it wasn't your fault years later.
  6. The Proposition
    Never have drinks with your boss. And, apparently if you do, don't be surprised when you are offered large sums of cash to change your "no" into a "yes."
  7. The Guys Outside the Club at 2:00AM
    Who apparently think grabbing a woman's ass as she exits is appropriate. I was proud of my quick reflexes and ability to slap him hard enough his friends all heard it.
  8. The Guy Who Thought Starting a Fight with Me in Front of 20 People was "Cool"
    Yes, actually attempting to fight a woman in public in front of bouncers. To my dismay, no one did anything. So I held him up straight by his jugular and proceeded to make him look like a moron.
  9. Some of the Creepy Internet Dating Guys
    I had a simple rule that saved my butt - tell a close friend where I'll be and who I'm with, leave it written down, take my own transportation, and let her know when I'll call or text to check in. If you don't hear from me within a reasonable timeframe, send help. We never had to use it, but it was a safe strategy.
  10. And the reasons why I have massive faith in humanity overall...
    Because of all the men who have stuck up for me, loved me, cherished me, walked me to my car, treated me with respect, waited for consent, and held me up as an equal. Because of all of the women who have had my back, protected me like a sister, and loved me in spite of my flaws. Because there is ALWAYS so much good in this world and we just need to learn to make better decisions, protect one another, and love each other fiercely so the assholes that treat people like objects can't win.
  11. This is for my father
    Who never sugar-coated the world. Who put boxing gloves on me at 15 and made me learn how to fight. Who kept my ego in check when I got too froggy. Who would still be there in two minutes if I was in danger. Who never put me on a "little girl" pedestal and treated me like I was less than because I was a girl. And who made me better for all of those things.
  12. Education Matters
    Tell your kids your stories, teach them how to stand up for themselves, be vulnerable in the mistakes you made, and teach them not to do the same things. Don't pretend that preserving their innocence is more important than preserving their right to intelligence and self-preservation. There is a such thing as age-appropriate, but, if you aren't asking them what's going on, age-appropriate is probably a lot younger than you think.