is chair of the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and lives in Rancho Peñasquitos.
In my work providing pro bono legal aid at a restraining order clinic, I witness the importance of knowing one’s rights.
I vividly remember meeting a young woman training to be a body builder who sought our help at the clinic. Tall and fit, she projected confidence but spoke softly.
I interviewed her to prepare a declaration that would be submitted in court seeking an order keeping an older man from contacting her. We were finalizing the document when she said something that caused my heart to drop. The young woman revealed that she thought the situation was in some way her fault because she gave the man a ride home knowing he was drunk.
In some way, she felt that by allowing the man into her car, she had surrendered the right to say “no.”
I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “Even if you asked him to your house, opened the door in a nightgown and consented to his touch but then changed your mind, he wouldn’t have the right to touch you again. It wasn’t your fault — it was his fault.”
The relief in her eyes told me she had heard the truth.
How is it in 2024 there are so many women living in the “land of the free” — yet we still don’t know our rights as a human being?
Experiences like this one inform my service as a member of the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. My colleagues on the commission and I share a commitment to advocating on areas of concern to women’s lives and needs in San Diego County.