With the golden stands empty and the flow of tributes slowed, we are left to sort through our feelings alone. For the past week, Ames, Iowa State, golfers, and many more outside of our beloved communities have bonded together to support each other. But now, daily life moves on, oblivious to the devastation many have faced.
It seems selfish to think about trivial every day concerns. After all, we woke up this morning, which we have been reminded is truly never a given. For the vast majority of us, though, the sad truth is that we didn’t know Celia or Molly or most of the other victims we pay tribute to. And so, while it weighs heavy on our hearts, little has visibly changed about our every day life.
At least, that’s what it would seem like, to anyone not dealing with the string of violence against peers that women, especially young ones, are seeing today. Since the news of Celia’s death, I have been unable to run outside, sleep without checking the lock on my door multiple times, or do pretty much anything outside my home alone. It’s past the level of paranoid; for many of us, it’s a very real matter of safety.
We won’t always be willing or able to exist in groups. Running is my peace and my solitude, where I get to be alone with my thoughts. For the time being, for my own peace of mind, my boyfriend will join me. Eventually, though, I’ll need my space again, and that’s why arguments pushing women to just travel in groups and be aware of their surroundings ring so hollow. There will always be people who do things alone, whether it be golfing, running, or whatever else they choose to fill their day.
If we don’t look at every possible avenue to defend them–whether it be mental health services, stricter sentencing for recurring violent offenders, or some other solution I haven’t heard–we are failing.
Thoughts and prayers have not and will never be enough. Action is the ONLY thing that will ever make a difference. As I said before, we have to do something. It’s not an easy task, or a particularly clear one, but it is necessary.
You can find Jamie’s first piece on this subject here.