Earlier this year when I decided to choose a word for the week at the beginning of every week, the idea was to start my week off on a positive and constructive week. And to use the word as a reminder whenever the going gets tough.
But this past week nearly broke me and the last thing on my mind was my word of the week. I was woken up at 2:30 this morning with a call to say that my daughter had been raped. One of the calls that no parent wishes to get. My heart sank and I felt my chest pull tight as we rushed off to fetch her.
To cut a long story short, my daughter was crying and in a state but said that she couldn’t remember what had happened, so we took her to our nearest hospital. After three hours of questioning and examination, a very kind woman doctor said that she couldn’t find anything that we should be concerned about and we returned home at 5am.
Of course we are all very relieved and grateful that my daughter is fine. But the entire episode has left me feeling spent. My daughter says she never wants to leave the house ever again. She was very badly affected by the rape and murder of a university student last month, more so because this young student was a good friend with many of her friends. She has a real fear that the same thing could happen to her.
How does one protect your children when they aren’t with you? How do you keep them safe? My daughter is 22 – some young people her age are traveling the world, but she somehow seems to find herself in unsafe situations back here. And so I feel that I have to ask myself the questions like whether I have been an overprotective mother, or is it the opposite and am I not being protective enough? Have I failed my child? Is it too late to become more strict about where she goes, who she sees, how late she stays out at night? My head is spinning and none of the questions or answers make sense.
So my word of the week is to be strong this week. Right now I don’t know what else to do.