Normally, I would not have posted about this story. Normally, I am not so disturbed or vexed by stories like this. Normally, I would be more inclined to post about a missing African American woman because, let’s face it, mainstream media flood the airwaves with missing white women stories giving black women very little coverage, if any. However, this isn’t a normal missing person story for me.
This missing person has a six degrees of separation element to it. Quite simply, I work with a very close friend of Meredith Emerson, Bruce. Not a case of working for the same company, we’re in the same department, on the same team – a team of 7, including myself. On a team as small as ours, you sometimes get to know about people’s lives outside the workplace.
Because of my interest in and a brief foray into Tae Kwon Do, I had several conversations with Bruce, a black belt in the art, in which Meredith’s name was mentioned. Most of the team knew of Meredith or had met her on occasion. The day Bruce was informed she was missing he was in the office and was visibly upset. Needless to say, he left immediately to help in the search.
From the police updates and news conferences, it doesn’t look favorable for finding Meredith alive. You can read more about it here and here. In that vein, I extend my sincerest condolences to her family, friends and loved ones.
Now, to what has bothered me. Although Meredith was smart in leaving a note for her roommate on her whereabouts the day she went missing, she fell short on good judgement by going alone. A shortcoming that appears has cost her her life. Many of her friends have been quoted saying even though Meredith was only 5’2″, 120 lbs, she was a “tough girl“, she was a “black belt” that could take care of herself and ‘if anyone could survive something like this it was her’.
I politely and humbly beg to differ. In most cases a woman can not physically overpower a man. Don’t care how many belts you (a woman) have acquired in martial arts, if some deranged nut (a man) means to do you bodily harm – he will.
My intent is not to blame the victim but as women we are vulnerable and should take every precaution for our safety.
Do not go to isolated places alone – adhere to the buddy system. Remember Natalie Holloway? The bar wasn’t isolated but I’m still asking where were her friends? Not to mention the chaperones. Never talk to strangers. When those little hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, listen to the small still voice telling you that it isn’t safe. This is your gut instinct trying to protect you. TRUST IT! Even if it means you have to be rude. Wouldn’t you rather be rude than dead?
I’m not suggesting that we women should live in fear but we should remember we are not invincible. Use common sense. Exercise caution lest you share the same fate as Meredith and the many, many more women prior to her.