Homeless Women and their Hardship
San Francisco has a serious homeless problem. I’m from the city and I grew up knowing that this city has a horrible poverty situation. It’s really hard to ignore because you see them everywhere, especially the populated area because that’s where they get the most from begging. In 2014–2015, according to How many people live on our streets? by Joaquin Palomino, the “Public Health’s CCMS reported 9,975 homeless individuals in the city” and I’m pretty sure that number had increased significantly in 2016 because, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article, A civic disgrace, it stated that San Francisco gets an “influx of about 450 chronically homeless people a year…” and that’s a really high number. Why do you think people say that San Francisco has the highest rate of homeless? Obviously, it’s because it’s an undeniable truth.
The question is — who should be helped first?
I believe that homeless women should be helped first.
Over the years, I have gotten used to seeing them. However, every now and then they will enter my peripheral vision. Among the homeless community, I have noticed the women. Every time I see them, I would fear for their safety because as a female myself, I know our vulnerability, therefore I know that it isn’t easy for them especially when they’re on the streets. I believe that the most challenging thing for them isn’t about finding food, it’s about avoiding sexual violence and cruelty. Women are naturally weaker and smaller. They are generally considered easy target, regardless homeless or not.
Problems for women on the streets are endless.
Aside from unwanted attention from men — all men, homeless or not, these women also have to worry about their biological problems: menstruation and the ability to get pregnant.
Getting your period as a normal person is a pain already, but having blood leaking out of your body while you’re living on the streets is surely two times worse. The reason why is a no brainer. Sanitary pads, tampons, or menstruation products, in general, are expensive. When I buy them, it’s usually $10 for a small pack, which usually last for about two cycles. I doubt these women could afford to have the same luxury. I believe they rather bleed out on the dirty streets or use dirty rags risking infections.
Another expensive endeavor they can’t have is contraception pills. Women are usually the targeted of rape and it’s even worse if you’re homeless because there are no law that can protect you when you’re on the jungle side of the world. If you’re lucky, you won’t get pregnant. If you’re unlucky, well…there are only two roads that I can think of if pregnancy happened: you either die from having unsanitary birth or you have a kid for a ride. If the latter, there’s one more weak and vulnerable person to care about.
Why am I writing this and why should we care?
I’m writing this because I care and I think everyone in this world should care because you never know what life will bring you. You can be the next victim of homeless and surely you would wish that someone out there who have the capability to do something could make your life easier by providing free food or free sanitary pads. I want to bring more awareness to this problem and I want people to be more proactive in fixing this situation. I’m not asking for anyone to end poverty, I’m just promoting people to do small things like donating something or start a community group dedicated to making life safer for these poor women out there fending for themselves.
Furthermore, I believe this topic deserves further exploration because not many are willing to talk about it, especially when it’s about women. Did you know that although there are articles out there that talk about women on the streets, the majority of them consist of only the general population or men in general? Did you also know that helping women out is secondary and that a lot of programs and organization prefer to help men first? I’m pretty sure women shelter was created only after many incidents had happened.
Also, I hope by researching this topic I, myself, could learn in how to start something for these women in the future. I believe that there will be many other people, aside from me, who feel for these women might also be interested in this topic.