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New Year’s resolutions are filled with hope, promise and a sense of renewal. Year after year we pack up the holiday madness, sit down and create a list of all the things we wish to change to have the “best year ever” and be better, brighter, versions of ourselves.
Ana Walshe, a mom of three, a wife and a successful real estate executive made her list, too. In fact, she made her New Year’s list a little early on December 13th.
“Manifesting 2023. Curious, what words do you see?
Mine are FAMILY/MIRACLES/CONNECTION/STRENGTH”
Then on December 15th, she posted this quote to her Instagram account.
“We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.”
Her last post on December 31, was another quote.
“Take the risk of optimism”
Ana loves her job, her children, her dog and life’s pleasures. She reads books about self-improvement, she motivates her peers, she carefully curates moments of her personal life into pictures for her social media accounts.
Ana has big plans for the future.
Ana went missing on January 1, 2023, and now it seems that all her dreams, the risks she took to be optimistic, are but whispers in the universe that may never come true.
Love and danger
It’s dangerous to be a woman in America. Statistically speaking, not only do women have to worry about going out into their communities to work, gather groceries, just walk to their cars or take a run, but they also need to worry about who they share their bed with. The man that you love, could very well be the person who hurts you the most.
Thousands of women go missing in America every year. We are obsessed with true crime podcasts, but how many of us actually have a system or plan in place to check on our wives, sisters and friends regularly to help ensure their personal safety both at home and in the world?
What’s even more frightening is how many women of color, who do not make it in the headlines, go missing with little to no coverage or public interest.
A quarter of a million women and teenage girls are reported missing every year in the U.S. And many of these cases are connected to male violence, according to Statista.com
Then there is garbage like this that makes women think they are the problem. They just need to just be better, to stay “good girls,” and things will eventually work out.
But if he loves me, why does he hurt me? That’s because he can’t control it. Sometimes, we hurt each other every day without even knowing it.
Therefore, a man will say he didn’t know what he was doing when he hurt you.
Rachel Pace/Expert Blogger for Marriage.com
Essential stats about domestic violence
The one resolution we forgot? To be safer this year than last
So this is where we start another year. More women are lost, hurt and missing. We have less control over our bodies, are still being paid less for work that men do not want to do, are still managing the majority of the weight and responsibility of running most households, and are still burned out and exhausted thinking that if we just got our shit together with the perfect morning routine that we will be that picture-perfect version of success that we are supposed to be.
Let me be clear: No amount of self-care, self-help books, journaling, devotionals, meditation or careful practice of self-control is going to make you safer in this world. We have to start looking out for one another.
We have to add safety onto our vision boards, we have to get angry enough to advocate for the women and girls around us and make safety more important to us than our next perfect social media post. We have to be less worried about organizing the damn pantry and more worried about where our friends are and if they are safe.
They didn’t start looking for Ana until January 4th.
Think about that and think about your routine. How long would it take for someone to know you were missing? What a horrible question to have to ask yourself. We have to start having real conversations about mental health and personal safety, not just hopes and prayers.
What can we do to support each other?
- Check on your friends and family regularly. Be a pain. Don’t wait for them to contact you first to initiate conversations. Make the time.
- Create location pacts, and use technology to know where your loved ones are at. If they don’t know how to do it, use your skills to help them.
- Talk about your schedule, your daily routes. Make sure they know if you have a new car. If you’re getting on a plane, share your itinerary. Share the addresses of the homes you are showing.
- Make your clients fill out identification forms at your main office before you show homes.
- Don’t meet anyone to show homes if they are not pre-qualified. Call each pre-qualification letter to make sure it is authentic.
- Make sure your car is equipped with safety equipment, backup battery banks, flares, spare tire, first aid supplies.
- Create a digital legacy plan of how you would want your social accounts handled if something happened to you so that troll men cannot speculate their toxic insecurities on your profile because of a book you read, or an outfit you wore for your friends and family to see. If you want your profiles deleted, make sure you enable a trusted friend with the ability to do so.
- Check out wearable technology and jewelry. Make gifts of it.
- Know the signs of domestic violence at home. Ask questions. Create safe spaces.
- Try not to get numb to the dangers, and make regular reminders and check-ins part of your communication plan.
- Take self-defense classes.
- Know the signs and signals of stalkers. Check your car. Stay aware of your surroundings. I recently had a friend get grabbed at the grocery store and followed twice in one week by a man who figured out her routine by watching her. He didn’t care that it was a public place.
- Document and keep track of incidents at work involving troublesome phone calls and virtual or in-person interactions.
- Be an example to your friends and family. Show them the changes you are making to improve your safety and help encourage them to do the same.
- Brokers, make a better plan to keep your agents safe. How many days would it take for you to realize an agent was missing if their family didn’t report it?
Where’s Ana? We can only speculate what happened, although surfacing information paints a grim picture.
Where’s Ana? She is looking back at you in the mirror. She is your co-worker across the table at lunch. She is your best friend who you haven’t talked to in a few days. She is your sister who you just got off the phone with. She is that woman you see getting harassed at the grocery store.
Ana is everywhere around us. Ana is nowhere to be found.