“Love and violence, properly speaking, are polar opposites. Love lets the other be, but with affection and concern. Violence attempts to constrain the other’s freedom, to force him to act in the way we desire, but with ultimate lack of concern, with indifference to the other’s own existence of destiny.”
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Sophie died at the age of 22. In January 2008 she had been stabbed 216 times by her former boyfriend who claimed to love her more than anything on Earth. She had a loving family, good education, promising career. She lived in a stable society with good police and justice system. Most chilling was a complete absence of regret from her killer. “That was all her fault,” he said. He pleaded not guilty and tried to put dirt on every sweet memory of Sophie people had inflicting further pain on her family and friends. In democracy even the most violent murderer has a voice. His lawyer argued a defence of provocation.
Girls do continue to die in abusive relationships in all lands, no matter how good the police and justice systems are. Boys do sometimes get caught in abusive relationships too.
If someone tells you about love, don’t trust the words – trust the actions. Actions speak louder.
One of my boys is going to college next year. When I was looking through the prospectus of the college of his choice, I came across “Love Bite” programme – a one day workshop for teenagers on healthy relationships. A key message of the programme is encouraging teenagers to be ‘ethical bystanders”, who look out for each other – and stressing the need to get someone else involved if they can’t or won’t talk to their parents. This programme teaches young people about supporting their friends, being together as a group, and stepping in when something isn’t okay.
I do like the college of my child’s choice because it teaches not only science, math and literature – it also teaches boys and girls essential life skills. And I like the country where society does not silence issues, but acts promptly to get them resolved. Society that tries to care about all its members.
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