On Friday, a middle school boy called me a “puta” because I asked him to listen while I gave instructions. For my English speaking friends, if it was possible to combine the words “bitch” and “whore” and then make that combination even more derogatory, that’s “puta.”
In the moment, the grace of God alone filled me with compassion and not anger. We talked. I talked to his parents. His parents talked to him. He apologized. But does he understand?
After living for 7 years in Guatemala, I understand why women’s day exists; I understand why we need it.
I am thankful that I didn’t understand that before – I grew up in a family, in a school, in a church that celebrated me, encouraged my leadership, pushed me to learn and grow and succeed as a strong female.
But that story is rare.
Here’s an overview of my women’s day, today, in Guatemala.
On the way to school, the all male radio hosts were honoring women by talking about how women care so much about clothes and shoes and that doesn’t make a difference to men. And this is the progressive radio station.
As the day unfolded, news broke – a local safe house for girls was on fire. The home was for victims of trafficking and abuse. 19* girls died and hundreds are being sent to other homes around the city. As the news of the fire spread, so did the news of a riot that occurred in the same home yesterday. Girls made accusations of rape and abuse within the home. Girls ran away, and it’s being said the residents started the fire.
School began to mobilize immediately to collect donations to give to the homes that are receiving the girls, and for that I’m thankful.
But, this heartbreaking news, this news that should stop us in our tracks, was quickly silenced by the news of a soccer game happening in Spain. Barcelona wins and we forget about the girls.
We need women’s day.
We need so much more than women’s day.
*Since I originally posted, the death toll has risen to 31, with over 40 girls still in ICU. The more international news outlets pick the story up, the more attention it’s getting here.