Scarlett – Raped and murdered
I have to admit, I tend to avoid the news as much as possible as it invariably either depresses me or makes me angry and, to be honest, I don’t have time enough in my life for either of those emotions if I can help it at all. However, there has been no escaping certain news stories and once again, my blood has been heating up till it reaches near boiling point and it’s all because of the seeming double standards of the press.
Case 1: A family on a foreign holiday leave their three year old daughter in an unlocked hotel room with her two younger siblings whilst Mum and Dad go off for dinner down the road. The three-year-old disappears. After much speculation, people start to wonder if the parents may have been at fault in some way and accusations fly. The parents end up winning libel damages for thousands of pounds.
Case 2: A single mother on holiday abroad leaves her fifteen-year-old daughter in one area whilst she and her boyfriend move on to another area. The daughter is raped and murdered. The mother is accused of negligence and is currently in hiding over fears over her safety.
Now, in both cases, I believe the parents have done some wrong in leaving their children alone in a foreign country, no matter how nearby they are. But there are differences here:
Question 1: Would you leave your three-year-old daughter and her two younger siblings alone at home, with the door unlocked whilst you went to the shops?
Question 2: Would you leave your fifteen-year-old daughter alone at home, with the door unlocked, whilst you went to the shops?
I can guess that your answer to question 1 would be a resounding “No way! That would be irresponsible!” and that your answer to question 2 would be “Yes, I think that at 15 my daughter can be trusted for a short while to look after herself.”
In case 1, the young daughter would not have been able to go missing if she had not been left alone in that room. In case two, you can be any age and get raped and murdered, irrespective of whether you are with people or alone.
Once again, I will reiterate that I don’t agree with the actions of either set of parents, but the double standards shown in the press coverage of these stories really gets my goat. Could one of the main reasons be that Maddy’s parents are professionals and Scarlett’s mum is a Single Mum who lives a bit of a hippy lifestyle? Neither of those circumstances should have any bearing on the perception of the cases. If one family gets it in the neck for being negligent enough to leave their child unattended, then so should the other – and none of them should be awarded money for anything said about them.
And of course, it goes without saying, that none of them should ever be up for “Parent of the Year” awards.