Hey sis, good luck in your new town, here’s some pepper spray

Between the articles on rape in the newspaper, and my sister moving away from home at the age of sixteen, I can’t help myself from feeling a bit worried. And it got even worse when I started looking for housewarming gifts for her.

My little sister is amazing. She’s funny, nerdy, cute and really unique. She is so like me when I was her age, just… better. I love her to death, and I want her to get everything she wants in life and more. I want her to do everything she damn well pleases, and I’ll be there to support her every step of the way. It might sound cliché, but that’s the way it is. I have two brothers as well, which I love to bits too. But there’s something about my sister being a girl. I know the same struggles she has with boys, periods, the first bra and other embarrassing and annoying things that enters a teenage girl’s life.

She has always had her own mind. Her own, terribly stubborn mind. She, like me, did not like growing up in the middle of nowhere in a tiny village, where the nearest real town was a two hour drive away. There’s not much in terms of education either. For college I applied to schools 150 kilometers from home, but at the end I stayed in my home town, the only thing I ever regret in life. The school was comfortable, but not very good. At least not my line of education wasn’t. I ended college not even being able to apply into university in my line of work. Instead, I had to take a few extra classes in college to even be able to apply to uni.

So when my sister said she wanted to move away from home for college, I applauded her, (silently, in my head.) She knew what she wants, and she’s going for it. But as the date for her moving approaches, I get this nervous aching in the pit of my stomach. I know she’s a tough, smart girl and she will live with her best friend in an older lady’s flat. I know she will do well. But at the same time I can not help but worry. So when I thought of housewarming gifts, I don’t really know what happened. I didn’t even think about it, to be honest. It was the first thing that came to mind. Pepper spray and assault alarms. And I took to Google to find some good choices, and I sat there scrolling without it even crossing my mind how fucked up it sort of was.

I mean, when I was her age, I worried about homework and how I could score the most recent teen gossip magazine and if the cute boy with his locker opposite mine fancied me. Getting jumped on, groped or raped hadn’t crossed my mind. (This was 10-12 years ago. God, I’m old.) My sister is in the same fragile age as I once was. Worried about grades and boys and having crushes on celebrities and watching their movies over and over again. On top of that, my sister has to worry about all the bullshit which social media brings along. And if that wasn’t enough, she has to worry about if the cute boy on the late night bus want’s to chat with her or take her out to the forest and…

Ok, I won’t go that far. But you get the picture. At the age of sixteen you’re still a kid. You might think you’re the shit, but there’s dangers in the “grown up” world that also applies to younger people. I might be a tad over sensitive, but I know I’m not wrong. And this is not some “feminazi” bullshit like some people try say as a way to shrink these issues. The matter of the fact is, that times have changed since I was a teenager. And when my first idea of a housewarming gift for a sixteen year old is pepper spray, something’s gone horribly wrong.

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