A Modern Woman

I’m in first grade, and there’s a boy who follows me around, tries to sit next to me at reading time, tries to hold my hand. I ignore him. I scoot away and turn my back on him to talk to my friends. I hurry to the bus to get away from him.  I tell my mother of my frustration, and she thinks it’s cute that this boy has such a crush on me. She tells me to be kind and not hurt his feelings.

My mother who is smart, confident, capable, who wanted to go to college but couldn’t because her parents had limited funds and it was more important to send the two boys to college since they’d need to support families. College for women was an unnecessary extravagance. They’d never use that degree. They’d get married and be homemakers and stay-at-home-mothers. It was a waste of money for all but the wealthy. My mother who felt strongly about equal rights for women had inadvertently told me that this boy’s feelings were more important than mine – that I shouldn’t hurt his feelings, even if that meant I needed to suck it up and put up with his very unwanted attentions.

I’m in second grade and another boy pulls my braids. Hard. It’s not the first time, so I punch him. Hard. I am called before the teacher who tells me that this boy has a crush on me and that’s why he pulls my hair. I get a bad mark for that day for hitting him.  The lesson there is that boys get to hurt me, and I can’t do anything about it or I’ll get in trouble.

Fast forward to my first “real


6 thoughts on “A Modern Woman

  1. Thank you. I was deeply moved by your post, and I think most women have experienced some level of this, not to the extent you have, which is both horrendous and outrageous, but I once had a corporate career prior to illness and I can tell you it’s the same in my country, (Australia). I can also relate to the ridiculous, discriminatory messages little girls have inflicted on them. The “don’t upset your father/brother/ (insert male here) ” I was constantly told. Why the hell not?
    I cried when I read of your rape, and your friends’ reactions to it. I was raped by my ex husband during our marriage but it wasn’t until after we split (when I was no longer able to support him) that I could see, and name it for what it was. I too, never told anyone.
    What an incredible, courageous, determined woman you are. I truly hope you are very proud of yourself, because you should be.
    I want to say something supportive, comforting, and to express how incredible you are, but because your story touched me so deeply, I’m floundering, and can’t find the words. Just, please know that I feel it for you.
    Much love to you xxxx

  2. This post moved me more than you can imagine. With the country in divided turmoil it is so important to remind women of all ages that we need to be strong. It’s not a fair world and women have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously. It was very brave of you to share this today and I am inspired by what you have said. Your books are my all time favorite and I’ve read your series over and over again. I’ve gotten my entire family hooked on you and we are anxiously awaiting Sam and Amber’s next story.
    It is interesting to peek into the mind of the woman who created some of my favorite characters and see that she is a strong independent woman. A survivor. I have so much respect for you and all you have been through and I will faithfully continue to read everything you share with the world. Thank you for letting us peek into who you really are and thank you for creating strong female characters that represent who we are and who we strive to be (minus the killing and the demon magic, but that’d be kinda cool). I don’t even know you but I absolutely love you. Thank you for never letting a man derail your dreams.

  3. Debra, I have nothing but respect for you. Thank you for sharing and proving to women that we are the stronger sex because we go through “more

  4. This is so true, and is happening everyday. In addition, even in the most “civilised” countries women earn 15% to 25% less than men. There are no excuses, only abuses.

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