Today I put on my red shoes.
I thought about the men who abused me: men who were violent, bullying, manipulative and cruel. Not all men. But enough. Enough to drink together in a bar and laugh at what a pushover I was, how weak I was, how easy it was.
I looked at my red shoes, my favourite shoes, and I looked in the mirror.
I imagined myself standing before a group of women at the next table in that bar, and I said to all of them – the girl who was abused, the student who was raped, the young woman bullied at work, the mother just trying to cope, the disabled woman on her own, the older woman with a broken heart, the writer, the survivor:
You will never, ever let a man do that to you again.
You will heed the warning signs next time.
You will stick up for yourself.
You will fight.
You will be strong.
And all of them, all of those women, young and old, raised their glasses.
And the men fell silent.
There are millions of women who don’t feel that strong today; women who may still be in a terrible situation. Let’s think of them. Let’s be strong for them. We are stronger together.
Happy International Women’s Day.