Murder, rape…and statistics

“Police have charged a man with the rape and murder of Jill Meagher” @Y7NEWS

These are the first words I read this morning. warranted, I was still half asleep, but I wasn’t shocked at all. I processed the words without reaction.

I absorbed the details, as were relayed down every news channel… abducted, raped, murdered and buried in a shallow grave. Still, I had no reaction.

Our world is broken, a fat we cannot deny. But this mornings news and my lack of reaction highlighted how desensitised I had become. A woman had been abducted, raped and murdered and I simply took it as news, a factual statement of events.

Jill Meagher was a well know ABC employee, and thanks in large to a significant social media campaign, everyone knew she was missing.

I failed to react when reading the news but in the hours following I couldn’t get her image out of my head. Her life had been stolen in what police described as “a unprovoked and opportunistic attack”. The sound of her now widowed husband’s voice, came back to me. While Jill was still “missing”, he was interviewed and said he was in a “living hell”.

This is exactly what I think of our broken world on days like these. A living hell.

We are surrounded by evil every which way we turn. So much so, the words murder and rape have lost their impact. I hold on to hope like a kite string, knowing it’ll all  fall away if I let go.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, there were 260 counts of murder (known as homicide officially) in 2010. 260 lives taken. 260 sons, daughters, friends and loved ones.

According to that source there were 17,757 counts of sexual assault. That’s 3,175 more instances of sexual assault than there was robbery.

The only way one can make sense of statistics like these is to feel them. Look past the words and numbers and find the human element. The suffering, the families and the loss.

I was shocked reading the news this morning but not because of what I read but because I expected to read it.



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