Last night I received an email from a girl I know - a not long turned 18 year old girl.
She's had a shed-load of grief in her life with the death of a younger sibling in an accident she was also injured in. She's had family problems as her parents have struggled with each other. And she ended up with a boyfriend who was violent with her - all this before 18.
But she got wise, she recognised she needed help with her grief, she realised that she deserved better than a man who hurt her, she started trying to take control. She's clever.
Last night her email told me that this man, this boy, had become so enraged with her over her breaking up with him that he attacked her, raped her at knife-point but fortunately the police arrived before he killed her. She's brave - she pressed charges and he at least pleaded guilty and was jailed for 6 months. 6 months - nothing; unbelievable. But he couldn't even give her the satisfaction of that - a couple of days ago she was told that he committed suicide in his cell, leaving a note for her saying he couldn't take being in prison for 6 months and he couldn't live knowing what he'd done to her. What a coward - to make her life even worse.
How can someone be so evil? And today, today I don't want to hear about how he probably had problems of his own, probably came from a family where there was violence, how maybe he was abused himself. Today I am simply angry. And sad. And aghast that such things can happen in this world. I so wish I could make things better for this girl, but I know all I can do is be there for her, and listen to whatever she needs to say. She deserves better from life.
And today, today I guess I know that whatever I may feel about my situation; however much I may hate cancer; I count my blessings today that I have never had to experience what she has been through.
My friends, do something - please. Donate to a *local* charity that supports rape victims; support a zero tolerance to violence against women campaign; volunteer for a help-line; listen to young women - give them support and acceptance. Do *something*.