Here in the states, it is a holiday weekend. A time to reflect on the service men and women who lost their lives fighting for the rights of others, Memorial Day is also the official kick-off of summer - which means people fire up the grills and BBQ or hit the road bound for the beach or someone else's cook out. That translates to lots of folks in the grocery store stocking up on picnic or travel essentials.
After class today, I was in line with most of them, waiting to pay for my potato salad and Vitamin Water for our trip to the beach tomorrow. Long lines left me with some time on my hands, so I tried to pass it by reading the last People magazine on the rack. On the cover was Yeardley Love (pictured above), the 22-yr-old University of Virginia lacrosse player who was beaten to death a few weeks ago - allegedly by her former boyfriend who was also a student and lacrosse player at the school. She was reportedly found by her roommate face down on her bed in a pool of her own blood with one of her eyes swollen shut. Threats apparently precipitated his kicking in her door, tossing out her computer and pummeling her to death. It wasn't the first time he'd gotten physical with her the reports say, but it was, unfortunately, the last. Both of them were weeks away from graduation and playing with their respective teams in the NCAA tournament.
People gave all kinds of domestic/acquaintance violence statistics, but one nearly made me fall over: women age 16-24 suffer three times higher rates of domestic violence than any other age group. Can you believe that?!? I still have a hard time digesting that information.
Lately there have been too many stories of young women who went out for a run, a walk to school, a night out with friends, a rock concert, a trip to the local deli or whatever and never returned home. Many of them were abducted and killed by folks they knew while some of them were accosted by complete strangers. The end results were exactly the same.
I've asked before, but I'll ask again: what can we as martial artists, as instructors, as women, as humans do to help stop the madness so that we don't have to keep burying our daughters, sisters, friends, cousins, neighbors, class- and team-mates? What we're doing now isn't working or just isn't enough, it seems...