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Twenty years ago, when I was still in speaking term with my mother (whom I do no longer consider such), she told me a thing that I never told anyone, that felt like a spear through my heart and that's never gone away. Her opinion of me. She summed it all up in a casually spoken sentence while we were apartment hunting in the big city, since I had to move down there to attend uni.

We were in a not very nice neighbourhood, but it was turning around, all the homes were being renovated, so SHE thought it could be a good place to start. I didn't like it. I had already lived in the city for a while and I knew that that particular area was not safe at all, especially for young women, and that there had been many rapes or attempted rapes in the months before.

I told her that as she pored over a ground floor apartment that was cheap enough for her budget. It didn't have bars at the windows and faced a backstreet with no gathering points (stores, restaurants, etc.) in sight. I told her I wouldn't have felt safe.

Her answer: "Oh, don't worry, no one would try to come after you, you know, you're not exactly a prize.".

She wasn't looking at me, she was checking if the windows were double glazed.

She said so casually that at first I thought she was joking.

That woman never jokes.

That was not the first (or the last) comment of such sort that she would make about me, before I decided enough is enough.

My mother sincerely thought I was safe from rapists because I was repulsive enough not to catch their attention.

I am not one to back down, so asked to repeat herself and she explained it in plainer terms. She gestured at all me while she did so. The gist of it was that I was not [insert adjective here] to even considered worthy of being raped.

My mother.

I am Buddhist.

There should be no such thing as this in me, but, god, I HATE that woman.