Do you remember?


Do you remember when girls were told that to be safe and not create the wrong impression, they had to make sure thier skirt covered the knees?

I remember 1958 as the time I made sure to walk down the middle of the sidewalk, ignore the whistles and cat calls lest somebody get the impression their attention was welcome.

Do you remember needing a new car for three children under four and being told by the salesman that you would have to bring your huband beefore one could be shown? That was in 1969.

Do you remember your neighbor, mother of four, asking to be excused from some event because she had to go out of town and make sure that fifth baby in six years did not get born? That was in 1970.

Do you remember being advised by the nice policeman that to avoid rape women should be sure not to go out at night and lock all the windows and doors? A matron of almost forty did not have to be warned about short skirts. That was in 1980.

Do you remember the defense attorney saying he’d never had an innocent client before? That was in 1984.

Do you remember being intercepted by a police van while you were taking pictures in an historic neighborhood on a bright Sunday morning only to be told that the area was unsafe for women out alone? That was in 1985.

Do you remember being told by an agitated policeman that if you did not move on, he’d take you to jail? That was in 2005.

Not all encounters with male authority figures have been unpleasant, but being ignored is about as good as it gets. During my last encounter with an officer of the law I was told that, since I was not useful, he was done with me. I appreciated the honesty.