Sometimes in the effort to write about extremely difficult stories I cut corners in my clarity of purpose.
It is hard to face so many tragedies.
But this time I need to be painfully explicit:
If the news report is correct, Ahlittia’s mother was a mother by 14. Her current partner is 46.
13 year olds do not decide to have sex for kicks (with other 13 year olds). They are more likely to be the sexual targets of older men. That is rape.
When I was 13 I knew a young woman who was pregnant as a result of incest–raped by her step-father. I hope he went to jail for it, but I am not optimistic.
I do know that my schoolmate was brave and deserved more support and help than she received. To carry a pregnancy at 13…to walk through the aggression of rape by a family member…
Her child is 30 now.
When I say, good folk did nothing, I mean this–
Whatever the story of Ahlittia’s murder, her life proves that her very young mother was a victim as well.
Baby girl is gone, who will help Lisa North? And more to the point–who could have helped before her kindergartener was murdered?
What happened to Lisa was a crime.
What happened to her daughter was unspeakable. But we must learn to speak it.
Make yourself uncomfortable. Ask the hard questions. And treat the Lisa Norths of the world like kin.
Because, to quote Carson McCullers–the life you save may be your own.
–praying for Lisa.