mardi, janvier 15, 2008

Who heard her scream?

Think about how many times you see a picture of a lovely teenage girl-or a young woman on the home page of your Internet provider. It seems as though we've had a spate of such pictures recently. Viewing their photos, the smile beamed at the camera, the wide eyes, the radiance of youth, one can't help but feel a connection to them.

They aren't up there because they are sportswomen or volunteers or politicians yakking about a gender gap. These are women who have been murdered, usually in some awful way.

Of course, middle-aged and older women are killed, too, by psychotic criminals, or furious husbands, or lovers. They just don't have the sex appeal of the pretty teenager or 20 something. It is shocking to say that-but it is also true.

We have a semi-erotic attachment to violent death here in the US, particularly the violent death of women.

As Bob Herbert reminded us in a Tuesday NYT editorial, we are a society that tolerates a frightening level violence against females.

I am still grappling with the awful fate of Maria Frances Lauterbach and her eight month old unborn baby. They are still looking for her alleged assailant.

Why was there no one in the Marine at her base at Camp Lejeune to protect Lauterbach? Wasn't there anyone who saw the threat posed by her alleged murderer? Where were her parents, her superior officer, clergy, psychologists?

Why haven't we find better ways of protecting women in danger? In a country with our social networks, we ought to find the situation appalling-particularly in the Marines, a community where discipline and order are essential. But if a society condones such hatred, then even its "sanctuaries", aren't safe. So it proved for Maria-and for her child.

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