Get Off Your Soap Box: Personal Safety

In case you missed it, this week is when I get off my soap box and do something about the things I believe in.  In line for today is personal safety.

Yesterday, my little sister called me.  She’d found Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman on our shared Kindle account.

“After I finished reading, I curled up in my bed and cried for forty-five minutes.”

We then talked for forty-five minutes about how important this book is and about whom should read it.  While I know Ms. Littman wrote Want to Go Private? to initiate conversation between parents and their children, Little Sis believes far more people should read this book than just parents and teens.

“Everyone,” was her exact assessment.  And she’s right.

Personal safety is a taboo topic.  Nobody wants to hear about sexting scandals between young teens and thirty-year-old men.  Nobody wants to hear about incest or the assault that took place in the back seat after the homecoming game.  Everybody turns away from rape victims and ignores the pain they must have gone through.  Or worse yet, they blame the victim, not the predator.

Sadly, this mindset is so pervasive that even the victims blame themselves and predators are left to pray on others, untouched, unchecked and smarter with each perpetration.  It is sickening and debilitating.  It’s wrong on many levels.  And nobody is exempt.

Child pornography infiltrates many a household.  Significant others fall victim to the twisted whims of their partners and can’t escape the escalating behavior.  The elderly are emotionally manipulated for their money in the same way that vulnerable teens are culled by sexual predators.

I’ve worked as an advocate for children.  I’ve seen the fall-out from such abuse.  I’ve also seen just how horrifying these experiences can be.  And yet, we don’t take charge of personal safety the way we do drinking and driving.  The message is not on billboards and public radio.  The message does not make television commercials or magazine covers.  As a society, we prefer not to talk about it, because then it might not exist.

But it does exist.  Every day, potential victims are groomed by perpetrators.  Every day, victims are left to navigate the after-math of their experiences.  Every day, somebody blames the victim.

“They should have known better.”

“She asked for it.”

“It’s his own fault.”

The truth is, relationships are easily manipulated and perpetrators learn how to manipulate emotionally vulnerable individuals in a way that would make your toes curl.  They practice it, hone it, and perfect it like normal people do with their hobbies.  They get good at it so they can be more effective at luring their victims into a one-sided relationship that feels safe and fulfilling.

Well, I’m here to do something about your personal safety.  I am getting off my soap box and telling everyone I know that personal safety is hard to hold onto in this day and age.

Today I launch #WTGV, a book give-away of Want to go Private? 

#WTGV (Want to Go Viral) is my way of educating anyone who loves someone enough to care about their personal safety.  From November 1st-December 31st, I’m hosting a three book give-away of Want to Go Private?

If you simply want to enter your name in the drawing, hop over to my #WTGV Book Give-Away page and follow the rules posted there.

If you want to help make the message of personal safety  go viral, please visit my #WTGV page to learn how you can help spread the word.

If you care at all, please stop by the #WTGV tab and see what’s new between now and the end of the year.

So, who wants to go viral?

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3 responses to “Get Off Your Soap Box: Personal Safety

  1. My daughter is 11 and she is already getting disturbing texts, mostly those chain-texts. One said that if she didn’t send it to 17 people, a little girl would sneak into her room at midnight and giggle before killing her with a big knife. Scared the bejeezus out of my little girl.

    The only computer the kids can use is on the kitchen table. I’ve seen it happen and find it incredible that anyone over 16 doesn’t already know the proper rules, the first of which is this: they are NOT who they say they are.

    – Eric

    • Eric, thanks so much for sharing this terrible story. Harrassment starts so young and our kids don’t have the emotional maturity to handle it well without the support of parents and caregivers. It makes me angry to hear of things like this–things that can traumatize kids for life.

      Also, the scary part–which is very evident in WTGP–is that these kids do know the rules, but they are so vulnerable and so easily manipulated. It breaks my heart. Your daughter is very lucky to have a parent she can talk to who helps direct her in making right choices. Sadly, not all kids are so lucky.

      And not all parents are tech savvy enough to know the pitfalls their kids can encounter. That’s why this message is so important.

      Hugs~ cat

  2. Pingback: NaNoWriMo and other links « creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator)

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