Susanne Severeid -
Photo: ©2014, Beatrice Angela Jacobs Photography
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The rush of time halted by a koi look
December 5, 2017
October 7, 2017
Crisis can bring your inner voice to the surface
July 31, 2017
The unconditional love of dog
July 4 , 2017
The mystery of the toppled blue bin
Original Mother's Day aim was substance, not sentiment
May 1 , 2017
Death by a thousand budget cuts
April 3, 2017
Don't Loot Our National Treasures
March 6, 2017
Living Life with a Sense of urgency
February 6, 2017
Resolving to Stay Strong and Stay Engaged
January 2, 2017
Don't Be On Lookout for Answers - Look in
December 5, 2016
Exploring the State of the State – It's Good
October 31, 2016
You're the Boss— If You Vote
Oct 3, 2016
Of Trivia, Tiaras, and Trying Again—and again
September 5, 2016
July 5, 2016
Olympian Feats Not Always About Being FIrst
July 5, 2016
To Open New Doors, Step Outside Your Own
June 6, 2016
Ready for Adventure in Parts Unknown
April 5, 2016
A Close Encounter with One Not So Fortunate
February 29, 2016
Not Even Cupid Can Quantify a Moonbeam
February 1, 2016
January 4, 2016
December 1, 2015
Raindrops Leave an Impression
November 4 , 2015
The New Role Model: Gordon Gekko
Have Someone You Can Talk to? You're lucky
Channeling Your Inner Teenager
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"Brilliant, touching article as always ! You touch people’s hearts with such kindness, wisdom and humor."
Time for an end to Violence on Women
By Susanne Severeid
Posted January 2, 2018, Ashland Daily Tidings
With all the recent take-downs of powerful men due to sexual harassment accusations, it made me wonder — why have I found it entirely commonplace to go through my purse on any given day and find the following: pepper spray (in an attractive metallic pink tube), a whistle and, sometimes, even a mini-stun gun (with its own, attractively-styled purple case).
Why, I further ask myself, has it felt totally natural to carry these items with me since I was in my late teens? Simple. As any woman knows, the incidence of such assaults (and by this I mean physically threatening assaults) happen on a frequent basis and in a multitude of settings, not just at drunken frat parties. They can happen in offices of powerful people, on the street, and in one’s own home with people we know.
I once took a women’s self-defense class (which I recommend to every teen girl or woman). The ages ranged from 20 to 50-plus. During the first class, the male instructor asked: Who here has been the victim of an assault? Every single participant raised her hand. The answers ranged from attempted kidnapping on a city street in broad daylight, to being raped while vacationing on a tropical beach.
I saw a cartoon once alternating between drawings of a young woman preparing for a first date, and a young man doing the same. He puts a condom in his wallet, she puts mace in her purse. He combs his hair and tucks his comb in his back pocket, she makes a plan to text her roommate by 10 p.m. to make sure she’s safe and practices carrying her keys between her fingers. The message: the young man is preparing for a fun evening where he might get “lucky.” The young woman is doing the same, but she is also aware of the possibility she could be sexually assaulted.
What is equally disturbing to me, whether in the workplace or in social situations, is that such intimidation and assault toward women has become so normalized and a part of our culture. Our American society is a violent one, and that extends toward treatment of women. Women have been denied equal access to positions of power — much less equal pay for equal work — and let’s remember that women only got the vote on Aug. 18, 1920, with the 19th Amendment.
We need more women at the board table and in government as policy makers. We also need to change the notion that problems are best solved with force or violence or a gun. The amount of violence pervading our entertainment, often intertwined with sexually provocative situations or women as victims, is over the top. Statistics may vary, but the numbers are staggering: According to Huffington Post, 1 in 6 American women have survived an attempted or completed rape in their lifetimes and I am sure that we all know someone who has been the victim of such an attack. Ninety percent of all rape victims are women; 99 percent of perpetrators of sexual assault will walk free. Is it any wonder the majority of victims of harassment and assault do not come forward?
We can use this moment in our history to take a good look at what our norms and values as a society have become. Our boys and young men need to learn how to behave with girls and women from parents who see both sexes as equals, and who treat each other with respect and dignity. Boys, from a young age, must be taught that “no” does not mean “maybe,” and that even when sitting behind a large desk, there are lines that must not be crossed in a civilized society.
One out of six women — many believe the actual number is higher — is an appalling statistic. It takes tremendous courage to come forward and hold powerful people, and their enablers, accountable.
It is high time.