SUSAN SILAS
     

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© 2011 by Susan Silas
           

odds & ends


WOMEN WITH SIGNS, ongoing

(see images)

In the '80s, there were hoards of mentally ill homeless people on the streets in New York City. On one occasion, I watched from across the street in horror as a filthy and disheveled homeless woman, naked from the waist up, gyrated in front of a floor to ceiling window outside of the Panda Club, a Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side. Her very existence could not have been more antithetical to the life styles and pursuits of the patrons inside that eating establishment. Occasionally someone by the window would glance up and then quickly look back down at their plate. She was akin to the gory part of a movie; where the prudish and scqueamish avert their eyes.

Because of the violence perpetrated against women in our society, the lives of homeless women on the street seem even more precarious than those of the men; they are so easily preyed upon and thus more vulnerable. I have noticed over the past few years, especially since 2008, a resurgence of women in the streets after a period of time in which there was a real decline in the visibility of the homelessness in the city, although this was in part due to the fact that Giuliani would round them up and bus them upstate and dump them there.

These are their signs; small pathetic pleas for our attention and help.