Yesterday, we celebrated Halloween. The kids dressed up. Met up with friends and we trick-or-treated along our street meeting the neighbours. It was a lot of fun and I was really touched by the generosity of some and the trouble people went to just to make the neighborhood kids smile.
At the same time, I’m not a huge fan of Halloween both due to our beliefs but also because I know we have way too much horror in real life without making things up. Yet, at the same time, I know we watch TV shows which grafically portray these horrors and the other day a friend and I went to see a real tear-jerker: I Miss You Already starring Toni Colette and Drew Barrymore. As she was bawling her eyes out, I leaned over and said: “This is what we do for fun!”
Why didn’t we choose to see a comedy?
Of course, you don’t need to look far for any real life horror. Just switch on the News.I’m one of those people who can’t just watch the news without absorbing it and somehow living and almost breathing some of these tragic events though my heightened sense of empathy,
But there are some cases we should never ignore. Even though they’re too gruesome and make us sick to the core, we should never turn our backs.
In what sounded like a scene out of a Steven King novel, on the 15 July 2015 a little girl was found dead in a suitcase beside the highway near the tiny South Australian town of Wynaka (regional population 167 people). She was believed to be around 2-3 years old with fair hair.Unlike Madeleine McCann, who is recognised right around the world as a much loved missing child, this little girl hadn’t even been reported missing. It was truly shocking!!
How could a little girl disappear and not be missed?
Unable to make an identification, Police turned to the public for help. Detailed photographs of a handmade, patchwork quilt were shown on the news and Police worked with patchworkers trying to find even the smallest hint of a clue. Mothers rang in recognising her clothes, trying to help date the murder.The community of Wynarka also took this little girl into their hearts and grieved her senseless death.The public really rallied to try to do anything they could to help.Evil had ended her short, precious life but the Police and community took her into our hearts and were determined to at the very least find out who she was. Give this little girl back her name, identity, family and hope against hope…catch the bastards.
As we heard about this case on the news, I’m sure we were asking the same question: How could any little child be murdered in Australia and not be missed?
As a parent, you worry when a child that age wanders more than arm’s length away. You’re absolutely frantic and you’d shout the place down. A missing child stops a nation. Stops the world. How could this little girl pass right under the radar without even a blip? Was this our Australia? The whole case was so disturbing and broke all sort of concepts of family, love, community. How could this happen?
Two weeks ago, after tip offs to Crime Stoppers, our little girl finally had a name, a family and a young Mum who had also been murdered. Mum’s unidentified body had been found in Belangelo State Forest, where the victims of Australia’s notorious Backpacker Killer, Ivan Milat had also been found. Mother and daughter had been found in separate States but at least things were starting to make sense.
Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter, Khandalyce, had been travelling around Australia when they were murdered. Like the backpackers murdered by Ivan Milat, they were travelling, seeing our beautiful country and not being caught up in the rat race for a bit. Innocence, optimism, freedom, happiness…all these images come to mind. I have travelled a bit around Australia as a single woman myself and thought nothing of it. It was safe and incredibly liberating!
But there is even evil in paradise.
It soon became evident that Karlie and “Khandles” weren’t unloved. Hadn’t gone right off the grid. They had been murdered. Moreover, the killers stole Karlie’s identity and even contacted her family saying they were fine…adding an extra layer of heinous barbarism to something already too awful for words. Indeed, they used her phone for 3 years after her death and stole her identity to claim welfare benefits.
The more they delve into what happened, the more ugly it gets and I can’t understand how humans can be so heartless, cruel and barbaric.This horror is also something their family can’t simply switch off either. It’s forever.
Yet, as much as I hate people talking about needing to move forward even when people have experienced such unfathomable grief, I did want to mention a life raft.
That many victims of horror, actually turn their grief into good. Change for the community. That doesn’t lessen their loss. However, it does put them more in the driver’s seat, instead of under the truck. Here, they’re much better placed to process what’s happened and what they can do. It seems to be quite a natural desire to help prevent others from doing through their pain and they go on to make an incredible contribution for good. That good might not undo evil but hopefully it can ultimately triumph over it. Show that such acts are unacceptable and that goodness will fight back!
Our Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, became a fierce and unstoppable campaigner against Domestic Violence after her son’s father murdered him with a cricket bat. She has managed to break down barriers, red tape and people’s attitudes towards Domestic Violence in a way experts could not. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t grieve but she has salvaged good from horror and is helping countless others.
Meanwhile, I send my love to the family and friends of Karlie Pearce-Stevenson and her daughter, Khandalyce and to the Police who have worked tirelessly on an incredibly heartbreaking case with such love and compassion. I also feel for the people of Wynaka where she was found and took Khandalyce into their hearts.Your love knows no bounds.
I leave you with one of my favourite quotes:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
May we each try to do our own little bit to lessen the real horrors of humanity and make our world a safer, happier place for all.
Love and Blessings,