This month five women from the town where I live were killed, and Suffolk’s safe status has been violently shaken into some alternative 21st century reality. The effects are far-reaching. At school we have cancelled after school detentions. We have cancelled the Christmas party for sixth formers, as it was just too close to the red light district. We have even cancelled the last day of term next Wednesday, as the bus passes run out and it is not safe to walk home in the dark now. My tutor group were more concerned about losing their non-uniform day than coming into school for four more lessons.
Last night our work meal out was in town, so we went in groups. I live near the centre of town, and could have walked alone.
It’s like some heightened terror alert that makes you wonder how safe things really were before and whether my town is at least as safe as anywhere else now. With the world’s press and the country’s police forces camped out locally it is probable any strangler thinking of offending again will move away.
With Christmas 9 days away I am saddened for the families and loved ones of these five women. One was pregnant, which was awful. Was it a punter’s baby, who will never know his child died as she was strangled? Was it her partner’s, even though they were apparently drug addicts and couldn’t look after her other three children? How can you look at a situation like this and not feel some degree of judgment, and then anger at yourself for thinking such things? And distress for all connected with clearing it up.
Once you’re gone, you’re gone.
So they are giving medical help to the drug-addicted women who work the streets in my town, and financial aid to those who need it. Is this what it takes to keep our streets free from prostitution?
We wake up to the facts only when the facts stare us in the face and demand an answer.
Street workers only get the help they need when there is an unprecedented local threat.
Dad only changes his diet radically after his heart attack.
I suspect my own health and eating habits may only change when they have to. I don’t even know if I have the discipline to live healthily when we get pregnant. What is a reason strong enough to tackle the elephants in our rooms?
Or are we all more or less the same?