Recently I wrote about how my daughter was halfway to 16 and how it seemed she was growing up very fast. But however grown up 16 seems, 16 is still a child. And there are some things no child, no woman, no person should have to go through.
We picked up a copy of the local paper the other day, something we rarely do. The headline said: Attempted murder: Girl, 16, fighting for her life.
‘Oh yeah, I heard some kids talking about that on my bus,’ said my son.
So not only has there been the attempted murder of a 16 year old girl, but my 12 year old son is aware of it before it hits the press?
It made me realise how sheltered our lives are and how we can’t keep our kids sheltered forever. I don’t want 16 year old girls, or anyone of any age, to be fighting for their life. And I don’t want my kids in their safe house, with their two parents and two siblings, their dance classes and rugby teams, to know that kids who are hardly any older than them can be attacked and left fighting for their lives in hospital.
Her alleged attacker has been charged. And who was this attacker? A stranger down a dark alley in the early hours of the morning? No, it was her 18 year old boyfriend. Oh, and did I mention that she was pregnant? Words fail me.
It is only a year since domestic violence against 16 year olds was even recognised in law. This case sadly proves this change in the law was much needed, however hard it is to think that teenagers can be subjected to such appalling behaviour from someone who is supposed to care for them.
So how is the girl now? She’s getting better, right?
No, she isn’t. It was the following day I saw the tragic news online that she had died. In fact she was dead before we had even read her story in the paper.
For the second time in just over a year, my son’s school has opened its doors over the school holidays so that people can lay floral tributes for a pupil who has died way before her time.
My son is only in year 8, he’s only 12. I find it hard to believe that in his short time at secondary school two pupils have died. How does that happen?
I have no answers, only questions and a very heavy, sad heart for a girl I never knew and her family.