frontline

In June of 1989, there was a curly haired, green-eyed 16-year-old girl, she wore high-waisted jeans and a white t-shirt under her leather jacket like she did most days, picture Sandy Olsson from Grease. She was the youngest girl out of 6, with a laugh that could make you fall in love, her name was Sandra.

On that particular day, there was no laughter. She had been walking for two hours holding two huge suitcases filled with everything she owned and she refused to stop. Her hands were bleeding, filled with blisters, mascara running down her face as she cried at the sight of her hands. She walked in the freezing cold, bleeding, sad, alone and pregnant.

When her father had figured out she was pregnant, he slapped her, packed up her belongings and kicked her out of the house no questions asked no comments made. She made her way towards her boyfriend’s place, expecting a home but finding a vacant house. He was gone. Every door she knocked on, she received disapproval, shame and one common request for entry- abortion. The one thing she knew for sure was out of the question.

Being the youngest girl she never received much attention nor instruction, or a conversation on sex but one mantra that was always repeated by father: “Sex is a sin” but everywhere she looked there it was. Sex symbolized fun, sex was the trend, sex was part of culture. But to her, sex was expected, sex was demanded, and sex was love.

So there she was aimlessly walking on the side of the road, a 16-year-old girl with nowhere to go. With every option exhausted, she snuck into the attic of a small retail store where she worked. For days she slept there, with barely any food, cold, alone, and dreaming of her baby.

This was my mom. When we talk today, she describes this day as her worst day. The lack of this one conversation, changed the whole outlook of her life, it altered it completely. What can one conversation do in our life, if we just make them reachable? If we make them an option?

This is FRONTLINE, it’s that reachable conversation, it’s that option. Telling stories of women who have been there, done that to women who are there, doing it.

ra