Misfit - n.
1. One who is unable to adjust to one's environment or circumstances or is considered to be awkwardly different from others.
A little over a week ago a young woman in Nova Scotia took her life. No big deal, just another messed-up kid you might say. I'd say - really big deal - another messed-up kid - what are we doing wrong? Everyone of us should feel this - we have all failed her. We are all bystanders. She was called a misfit - why is that? Because she made a mistake, got loaded and four guys decided they could do what they wanted with her. Then - and this sounds like a bad thing and it is, only it covers up a good thing - they felt really bad at what they'd done and decided that she was to blame. She was a slut, she was a loser, she was a misfit who was awkward and couldn't adjust to the circumstance of her rape and humiliation. So they hounded her and encouraged others to do the same - all to shut up the voices in their own minds. We are all outraged at their behaviour. But I tell you - it was the original pain at what had happened that caused the rest to unfold as it did. And that pain was a good thing. Where did we fail those boys? We failed them when we allowed them to believe that they never ever have to tolerate feeling bad. We failed them every time the news was on and someone was blaming the system, the government, their mothers, their school mates, their bosses, for their own blunders and mistakes. I'm not crazy - I know it still would have been terrible - even if it was the rape alone but it wasn't the rape alone that caused this young woman to take her life - it was the subsequent harassment, the tearing down of her fragile confidence (yes - all young peoples' confidence is fragile - it hasn't been built yet) If even one of those boys had been prepared by society to stand up and say - we did something really wrong and we're going to have to pay for it and it has to stop now - things would've been different. What can we do - we can remind those that depend on us for structure and guidance that they will make mistakes and the mistakes don't have to be fatal. That there is a cost to many of our choices and that we need to step up and take responsibility. The four boys who began this journey are someone's dear children who have ruined their own lives as well as the family and friends of this young woman. That instead of pointing fingers and yelling we need to sit down together, cry and grieve, and ask how did this happen and how can we make it different for our children?