Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Walk A Mile In Her Shoes

Every nine seconds, a woman is abused physically, sexually, emotionally, economically or psychologically. This past weekend, 18-year-old college freshman Alexandra Kogut was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, who left her dead in her dorm room at SUNY Brockport.

Unspeakable tragedy that is a daily, horrific occurrence for women in every tax bracket, ethnicity, educational level and state. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it is a cause that I will be addressing each week, in a month that is inundated with other causes.

Why? Because most women who suffer do so in silence, thinking that there is no way to end it. I saw it in my family, as a cousin was beaten in broad daylight by her handsome quarterback boyfriend. I saw it in the workplace, as a coworker's threatening husband had our office under police surveillance for an entire week.  In both incidents, the women refused to press charges and stayed with their abusers.

But more importantly, I saw the warning signs BEFORE it happened in my own life, when the words and actions of a boyfriend were so unsettling to my spirit that I knew - I just knew - love had nothing to do with it.

My book How To Stylishly Fall From Grace details the fictional memoir of a fairy tale gone horribly wrong. The main character has to make a choice between staying in her circumstance, complete with a coveted NYC position within the fashion industry (not to mention a shiny new apartment with deck, dishwasher AND in-unit washer/dryer), or barely surviving in a sleepy city obsessed with naps.  The choice can be life-changing, especially when the allure of a lifestyle can mean the difference between losing everything (and someone) you think is important.

I just wish I had been able to give Alexandra a copy of my book.  A compact novella, 184 pages that she could have read in a weekend, like this past weekend...

Truly 9.6 ounces of prevention that would have been worth a pound of cure. 

Footnote: The men of SUNY Brockport donned red heels for the event Walk A Mile In Her Shoes today.  Although it was scheduled before Alexandra's death, it now has somber meaning to our local community and the university.

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