A tragedy occurs in towns every day. Many go unnoticed. Many are overlooked. Some make national news. The tragedy of Jessica Ridgeway brings to heart the need for vigilance from violence. Look for the signs of abuse or danger BEFORE a crime happens.
We were not able to save Jessica from the horrors of a violent predator. Our hope is that the killer will be found quickly. After the violence, stay in contact with the residual victims of the crime — the family and the friends. The survivors need nourishment to overcome their own trauma.
Jessica’s friends will now live in fear for quite some time. They will suffer from residual fear — a common reaction to any form of violence. It is extremely disheartening that the legal system as well as law enforcement officers ignore the signs and effects of mental fear when it is presented to them.
Mental trauma from abuse lasts far longer than physical effects. Police will only get involved if there is a definite sign of physical trauma. Law enforcement appears to ignore or are unwilling to recognize the emotional, mental, psychological abuse that is the precursor to physical violence.
We can’t accept the concept of waiting till someone is missing, injured or dead to intervene. We need to be proactive to notice signs and not be afraid to ask probing questions. The worst that could happen is your embarassment for asking. The best — one less victim of violent crime.