Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Too Young for the High Seas?

Laura Dekker has become the youngest person to sail around the world with her 518 day voyage beginning in 2009 and ending in 2011 in St. Maarten. Decker first had the idea to sail solo at the age of 13 with the support of her parents, but due to legal obstacles, she had to wait until she was 14. After dealing with opposition from Dutch authorities, Child Protective Services, and her teachers, Dekker finally set sail and traveled a total of 27,000 nautical miles.

Dekker and her family planned the route around the world to stop at what they considered “safe” docking ports and also navigated a way that avoided areas that had high seas and pirates.

While on her trip, Dekker kept a blog documenting her trip and describing the vast area of places she visited such as the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, and South Africa.

Her adventure drew audiences from all around the world who felt that she was too young to undertake such a dangerous and possibly traumatic voyage. Many psychiatrists believed that she would suffer from extreme depression being alone for the long amount of time she planned to be sailing. Others said that the trip was too dangerous for just a teenager, and she could face problems such as high seas, shark infested waters, and pirates. Dekker argued that she would keep human contact by docking at different ports throughout her trip and visiting the locals.

While I admire Dekker’s courage and zest for adventure, if I were her parents I would never let her sail by herself around the world. The risks would be too great and I think an undertaking like this is meant for someone much older and wiser when it comes to knowledge about the ocean. Her parents claim that she has been sailing since she was 6 years old, but does that make her an expert sailor? I don’t think so. The fact that she made it home I find a complete miracle and while I give her props, why couldn’t she have waited another 10 years? I think her parents pulling her out of school for that long to go on essentially a vacation is not very responsible of them.

With about a thousand things that could go wrong in this situation, I don’t think this trip was the wisest. But good for her, because now she will have to find something to do in her life that will top the trip she took when she was 14.

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