For over a week the media has been full of words about and images of Stephanie Scott. Pretty, smiling, dark haired Stephanie who disappeared over the Easter long weekend, a week before her wedding day. Photo’s of Stephanie in a veil and bride’s sash on her hen’s night; Stephanie with the childhood sweetheart fiancé she was to marry a week after she went missing. I read that she’d bought a new swimsuit for her honeymoon shortly before she disappeared. In news reports I learned she was twenty six years old; the same age my Daughter Number One would be if she were still alive. A teacher, teaching high school students subjects my Daughter was passionate about. As much as I try to avoid the news Stephanie’s was a story that permeated my consciousness and filled me with dread even while I hoped she would be found safe and well.
She wasn’t though and my heart aches for her fiancé, family and friends. Reading the speech Stephanie’s sister wrote for her wedding on the day after her body was found and hearing about the memorial service held for Stephanie on her wedding day; there was nothing about this story that didn’t break my heart.
I knew I wanted to say something here and pay my own simple tribute to all the Stephanie’s; the daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, aunties, nieces, grandmothers, friends, lovers, fiancées that smile out of us from news stories. The girls and women we know even though we’ve never met them because they are us. What could I say though, really? What hadn’t already been said? And Stephanie’s story had hit me with a force that rendered me almost mute.
Then in the last twenty four hours there was a different angle to the story. A photo of Stephanie’s alleged murderer was released. And I thought ‘Oh hell no!’. I do not want to see his face. I do not want to speak his name. Stephanie’s name and Stephanie’s face; they are worth seeing! Her name should be spoken and Stephanie should be remembered.
Also worth remembering is the fact that not all men perpetrate violence. There is no disputing the statistics on violence against women but I know good men and I am trying to raise my sons to be good men so they are worth remembering too. With that in mind I want to share with you the story of twenty three year old University student Tommy Connolly who assumed care of his homeless, teenaged, pregnant cousin and cares for her and her newborn baby as he studies and works to provide for them all. You can read Tommy’s story here and I encourage you to do so because we all could use a little more good news and kindness in our lives.
Rest in Peace Stephanie. Safe onward travel x