Monday, September 14, 2009

When violence against women hits close to home  

I'd be surprised if you haven't yet heard about the disappearance of Yale student Annie Le. There are many reasons as to why this story is so widely covered by various news channels and websites: Annie was young, pretty, smart, and set to be married the weekend after she disappeared. It's typical that this story would be appealing, but it doesn't make it any less sad.

For me, this story hits close to home. My father called me, mentioned the story, and asked, "Do you know who her fiance is?" Turns out... I know him, as someone who went to my high school, attended my temple, and is close with a handful of my friends. I was good friends with his sister for many years. To see the photos of him and Annie in the news is strange and upsetting. Stories like this are always hard to hear, but it seems to hurt a bit more when I know the people involved. Somehow, it becomes more real.

Now, police have found remains hidden in a wall in a basement, and they seem to think it's Annie, though a positive identification has not yet been made.

I want to send my condolences to Annie's family, and her fiance (his name I will not mention) and his family. My heart goes out to them during this extremely difficult time. I cannot imagine finding out my daughter, sister, friend, or wife-to-be has disappeared without a trace. Though police have a suspect, they are still virtually clueless as to what exactly happened.

Articles say that Annie was never really concerned about walking alone on her campus. I walk alone on my campus all the time, so it sends a shiver down my spine to think about this. Violence against women is all too prominent; a woman isn't even safe in broad daylight on an Ivy League campus in a locked building.

When you examine the statistics, the overwhelming numbers, that display the frequency of violence against women, it's easy to forget that there is a face attached to each of those numbers. Violence against women can happen anywhere and to anyone... in fact, with the rate so high, you would be lucky to go through life without it happening to someone you know.

What next?

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