By the time women reach the age of fifty-five, 46 percent live alone in the United States. Thirty-five million women are the head of their households. At least eighteen million women in the United States live alone. An additional twelve million women are single mothers. Uncounted other women head households while their husbands are away.
|PHOTO BY COTTONBRO|
I am a woman who lived alone for only four years of my life and during that time, I encountered numerous incidents that left me bewildered, unsure and afraid. And even though I had five brothers they could not protect me while I was trying to grow-up and live away from home…alone.
I have been married for over twenty years now and sometimes I find myself alone even more. I travel on a regular basis to book signings, workshops, seminars, and I often stay at hotels and in strange cities.
I am compelled to write this book because of several reasons: One, my mother at the age of sixty-three was assaulted and raped in her home as she lies in her bed. Two, one of my sorority sisters, Jacqueline Patrick was assaulted, stabbed, and murdered in her home. Three, I have two daughters that have now moved in their own apartments and are trying to live a happy and safe life alone, therefore I am urged to write this book for personal and practical reasons. Most of the incidents in this book were inflicted by people that the victims knew. As a matter of fact, the people that assaulted my mother and my friend were their neighbors.
There is a major concern for women to protect themselves. Burying your head in the sand and hoping that something will not happen to you is not the intelligent way to prepare for your safety. If crime has not happened to you, then it probably has happened to someone you know: a friend, relative, neighbor, or co-worker. Rape, robbery, and assault, in the last ten years have doubled. The President has named the war against crime the nation’s priority.
Unfortunately, women are not given a large arsenal to fight with. More women than ever are buying guns, but that haven’t slowed down the crime rate. Weapon toting Americans even think that crime has increased since doing so. Personal safety classes are multiplying, and more parents are enrolling their children in self-defense classes than ever before. Most people obtain their safety from the information given on talk shows, women’s magazines, and office gossip.
There is a great deal of women who are alone and are not counted when their husbands are away. Salesmen, military men, night shift workers, church mission executives, entertainers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, taxi drivers, athletes, pilots, politicians, truck drivers, incarcerated, police officers, and corporate executives. Then there are the wives of loner’s men who are physically there but are
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emotionally and socially home alone. The lives of wives alone are much like that of women who are widowed, married, and divorced with an additional twist: invisibility. Few women realize just how much they are alone.
For Women Who Live Alone will provide simple, sound, and well-founded information and advice about personal safety. I am often asked by women what they should do if stranded, how they can best educate themselves while living alone, at home or away from home? How do I they handle harassment, what should they do if faced with an armed attacker? In this book you will find answers to these questions and much more.
The aim of this book is to help women who live or spend a great deal of time alone: It will help women cope with difficulties, conquer frustrations, and celebrate being alone. I suggests ways a woman who lives alone single or married can make confident decisions, overcome loneliness, avoid emotional traps, build a family team, deal with medical emergencies, stay safe at all times, manage money wisely, make minor house and car repairs and build various networks of support. Being alone does not mean you have to settle for being lonely.
Thinking smarter and taking precaution will give other a wider range of safety and freedom in life. This book will help prepare women who live alone, and it will open the eyes of those who someday plan to live alone. It will also help women thrive as they move forward in life and it will give them answers to the many questions they have had for a long time. Single, widowed, divorced, or married women who at home alone have many similar concerns:
1. Isolation. Nobody is there in times of crisis. Equally, nobody is round to share little joys and understand special moments. This isolation is intensified for married women alone at home. While single, divorce or widow women may seek one another out, married women are alone erratically and hate to bother other women.
2. Inconvenience. When you are alone you might feel that the solitary life you lead without your husband is very inconvenient. You might feel that nobody lends a hand, or gets the door for you, or holds up the other end, or checks out the strange noises you hear at night, or helps with the children, or answers the phone when your hands are full, or gets the mail or whatever.
3. Indecision. You probably hate all the decision you have to make on your own now. Since our society trains us that financial matters and home/auto maintenance are men’s business, women alone must decide how to invest money, what to repair and what to replace. You have to decide when a child is ill enough to go to the doctor, secure the home, make repairs, and whom to call in an emergency.
4. Lack of respect. Decision-making is complicated by lack of respect. On a day-to-day basis single woman say they deal with a world geared toward couples and families.
5. Loneliness. Loneliness is one of the hardest parts about being alone. Mothers at home with preschoolers suffer just as much as women with no children. With widows there are no sides to take. With divorced friends, people think they must choose sides of the use to be couples.6. Burnout. Almost every woman alone comes to a frightening point where she feels overwhelmed by having primary responsibility for her financial, social, and domestic life. This is very hard on women who have envisioned a future shared with a strong mate. Among women I interviewed, widows seemed to have less burnout than other women did. However, any woman home alone must do all the cooking, cleaning, repairs, driving, and childcare and often hold down a job as well. No wonder so many women admit “I’m just worn out.”