When we are children, fears are simple. Darkness, storms, monsters under the bed, representations of things we don’t understand or control. As we grow up, we like to think we have control over our lives. We understand that monsters aren’t real, storms can be beautiful, and darkness isn’t inherently bad. But yet, darkness exists, and can take the form of people who look no different than you and me.
Women have already learned to fear so many things. Running alone, leaving drinks unattended, merely existing without taking the necessary precautions to ensure we are as safe as can be. Even so, the greatest fear often isn’t what happens to us, it’s the unexpected loss of another. In the endless stream of reports on assaults, rapes, and murders, somewhere in the back of our minds a voice whispers: That could be you. That could be your sister. That could be anyone. And although you feel guilty, a piece of you tells yourself that isn’t true; that the people you know are careful and would never be that victim. And you can keep telling yourself that, until the day you recognize the name you read. Today was that day for me.
Celia Barquin Arozamena was a senior at ISU; a golfer, student, and friend to many. I say ‘was’ because, while out on a golf course, she was assaulted and killed. She was found in a lake on the ninth green after some players noticed an unattended bag. All she had the audacity to do was practice the sport she loved and truly excelled at, and in return she was murdered. For daring to exist in the same world as real darkness, she lost her life.
I had only the slightest brush with Celia before her life was snuffed out. I can’t even give specific instances, really. Whether it was my time working in the athletic department, being around the teams because of my family, or simply in our daily goings-on as students, I knew her name. I knew her face. Even if I hadn’t, I would know she deserved to live.
More will come out in the following days regarding how her life ended and the person who did it, but frankly I’m sick of trying to process and care about the disgusting excuses for people that commit these horrific crimes. I want to look back at the amazing things she had already accomplished and was well on her way to surpassing, but doing so makes me physically ill because of the coward who made her unable to do so.
I don’t have some poignant thought to contribute here. I don’t have a beautiful story of our friendship, or a cute picture to bring a tear to your eye. All I have is a shadow of someone I barely knew that I know is gone, and the heaps of confusion and sickness and heartache that come with it. There isn’t a simple solution. There isn’t a quick fix. But if there’s not even a small change, there’s no future. For any of us. So do… something. I don’t know what. Watch out for your friends. Give someone a ride home. Believe victims. I don’t know if it’ll matter. But I guess it’s better than nothing.