It’s every parent’s nightmare, and my heart goes out to the Reids, The Connolleys, the Trups and the Gees, desperately thinking out ways to help their children who ventured abroad. We mothers still regard daughters as childlike, the rest of the world doesn’t.
There is a feeling of total impotence. `Anything can happen to them and I won’t be able to help them.’ And sometimes it does. There are a completely different set of values and laws once you leave UK. It can be brutally brought home.The news the other day that two young women were faultless victims of an acid attack in Zanzibar has been followed up today by the story of another couple, barely a couple of years older, being questioned over suspected drug trafficking. Two cases in one week, similar profiling, different circumstances.
Naive females have always been prime targets, as are innocent girls, but today more than ever. Our safety guards are down. As I raised at the CWO Westminster Forum in June, it’s still predominantly women who are abducted and murdered, stalked, the targets of `cash for crash’ insurance scams. They are also a soft touch for predatory traffickers. Melissa Reid and Michaella McCollum Connolly, stopped while trying to board a flight to Madrid, certainly don’t look like typical carriers or hardened drug users.
It makes me wonder whether we have we got our priorities right? Yes, elimination of violence against women has become a major European push in the past couple of years with campaigns run by the UN Commission on the Status of Women and the European Feminist Network WAVE. At the same time they are pushing for quotas on boards to be implemented by 2014. But can we do both at once? Maybe we have focussed too much on emancipation in the boardroom at the risk of protection on the streets. As a result we have brought up a generation of go-getting girls, highly confident in business affairs, but completely oblivious to increased personal risk.