Guest Post: Another gal in another Hannah Graham like moment.

I’m so happy to know that I am not alone in my decision making. Since my last post,  I’ve had three people request guest writing about their questionable past life decisions. This post is from my friend Heather, you may remember her from the blog post, Dress Rehearsal.

This is her story about her time in Italy. My favorite part is towards the end. She discusses how her and her husband are raising their sons. This I love. I especially love tying the teaching moment of “when a girl says no” to everyday experiences. Women raise your boys like this please 🙂

Anyway, here is Heather’s story:

“We all have stories that we look back on and think, “What was I thinking?”

My mind always goes back to my semester abroad in Florence, Italy. I walked everywhere, and I almost always walked alone at night. I’d meet up with friends in a central location (usually the steps of the Duomo) and we’d go out together. When the night was over, we’d go home. Since we all lived in separate parts of the city, we all went different ways. I never took a cab because I didn’t want to spend the money (I mean, every euro spent on a cab is once less euro I’ll have to buy awesome Italian clothes).After a couple of weeks of walking the shortest route possible at night, I realized that what was a totally safe piazza during the day to walk through was a different atmosphere after midnight. Mostly because gypsies would sleep there. So I started to walk the long way home so that I could always be on well-lit, busy streets. A smarter move, but I was still alone. Thankfully, I didn’t usually drink more than one drink a night because I’d rather buy Italian clothes than drinks, so I was never the walking drunk girl target.

There was one time some friends and I met some Italian guys when we went out to dinner. We went to a club opening with them. One of the guys was really into me. His friends said he was an underwear model. He was shy about it. Even though he was hot and had the body for it, I didn’t really believe that the was an underwear model, but maybe he was. Eventually, my friends, who lived on the same side of the city as each other, were ready to go home and I was going to go home my usual walking way, so we parted ways. The underwear model and his friends were like we’ll take you home! We have a car! I was like, “No really, I’m fine,” and they were like, “Yes! We drive!” So it came to be that I got in the car alone with three strange Italian men. In typical Italian douche fashion, the car was red and sporty and the guy whose car it was drove like a maniac. But they did drive the most direct way to where I lived. The underwear model walked me to the door of my building while his friends waited in the car. We said goodnight, and he left. Thankfully, they actually were nice guys. But seriously. What was I thinking?!?!

And then one time while I was in Florence, I went over to a friend’s house one afternoon. She lived on a busy, main street. I remember being creeped out by the door of her building. It was a palazzo style door, so it was this big heavy two-story door. You would put your key in and it would open automatically, then slowly close automatically behind you. The kind of slow where you would halfway up the first set of stairs and the door would still be closing. I said to her, “This door closes incredibly slowly. Aren’t you worried that someone will come in behind you?” She shrugged it off. A month later, someone did follow her in. He grabbed her hair as she was walking up the stairs and dragged her down. He was most likely planning to rape and rob her. His plans were thwarted by my friend’s roommate. He obviously didn’t see someone go in the building ahead of my friend. The roommate ran down the stairs screaming and the bad guy ran off. My friend was bruised and hurt from being dragged down the stairs, but she was otherwise, thankfully, okay. She later put in a request with the housing department of our school to get a new housing assignment.

As a mother of boys, I’m already working on raising them to be considerate of girls. We walk their little gal pal to her car after playing with her somewhere. When they are being obnoxious and unruly with me and I ask them to stop, and they don’t, I say, “When a girl says ‘No! Stop!’ You need to stop what you are doing and leave them alone!” We talk about always walking with friends. I hope that they will be the kind of men who look out for their friends who are girls. Men share a responsibility in looking out for the women in their life too. People let their guard down. People make bad choices. It’s not their fault. It’s harder to make a bad choice when you have people you trust looking out for you”

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