As a child, I spent several months in a domestic violence shelter with my mother and sibling.
Even though the fence around the shelter was too high to see over or jump over - even though the address of the shelter was a secret from the public and even the women staying there - I remember my mother begging for a room with no windows.
At that point, there weren't many things my father did not stoop to, to remind us he could do whatever he wanted.
The possibility that he could send one of his friends to the shelter "identifying as a woman" would have absolutely deterred my mother from using its services.
And I don't doubt he would have done it. He and his friends would have found it hilarious.
If this had happened in the present day, he could have come to them before we could, naming my mother as his abuser, making her ineligible for its services.
These shelters are badly funded places - full of tired, traumatized, raped, beaten, women. Bruises still fresh and visible on many.
Like my mom, so many were there with small children, toddlers, infants. Some of the women were pregnant.
Tensions can run very high. Everyone is stressed.
No one wants to be there, but it's the only option left.
The only comfort we had in that windowless room was that there was finally no way for him to reach us.
No men allowed, no exceptions.
Once you open the door to one man who identifies as a woman, you open the door to any man who says he is as a woman.
If you cannot define "woman" you cannot protect women.
#unitedstates #domesticviolenceshelter #domesticviolence #safety #shelters #singlesexspaces #definitionofwoman