Woman in Red by Kaze Gadway
“Where does she come from?” asks a man at the coffee shop. We have seen her in there three times with enough money to buy coffee. She doesn’t wear much, just a blanket over her head to cover some worn clothes. He confides “She doesn’t have enough money for a refill so we just give it to her. She walks so she must live around here. I have not seen her on the street when I drive over her.”
I say “Hi there,” to her and she pulls the blanket tighter. I say something to her each time I see her, careful to not stare or look her in the eyes. I have seen many women like this on the street. They are afraid, cautious, and vigilant. They want to be oblivious, hidden from those who can hurt.
How do I know? They tell me. “I can’t go back to the shelter,” one whispers. “I was raped there and I’m scared.” This is a common story.
Two young girls tell me, “Yeah, we have a pimp. We weren’t going to do that but men kept picking us up and beating us up so we go with a pimp now. It gets us a bed and some food.” They are sixteen and ran away a year ago.
Another woman tells me “I keep a knife with me. I was messed with once and it is not going to happen again.”
Again and again I hear of abuse to women and children on the street. We all know about this. I am more aware of it since it is in my face.
We need some more prayers with feet. These problems are not solved just with money but by people with the desire to change the system. Yes they need food and safe shelter and better clothes. What they need most is someone who pays attention.