This week saw the murder of a beautiful young teacher and talented musician, in Ireland, who simply went for a run by a river on a popular walkway, after work, on a bright January afternoon, only to have it end up costing her, her life.
It has shocked our nation, both men and women, who find it an appalling atrocity and stunned people too that it happened in broad daylight. It has left women with a heightened sense of anxiety for their safety, which in some ways was never not there by virtue that they are women and are only too well aware of previous violent attacks against women in our world, but this has now escalated the intensity of that anxiety. It has left anger and fury in the hearts of many who feel the injustice and unfairness of such an act and how it has robbed a young girl of her whole life. It has left sorrow in the hearts of many, who pity and mourn for her, her family and friends, work colleagues and the children at the school where she taught.
Alas this is not the first time that this has happened in this country, or in any country in our world. Violence against women is an all too common problem everywhere. So often we read of brutal murders, alas often committed by spouses and partners, or by someone ‘known to authorities’ or by those who were just released on bail, or indeed by those have been lurking in our midst with unknown intentions until they strike. There’s trafficking too and domestic violence, all crimes against women, simply because they are women.
It is hard not to feel a certain despair today, but as I thought about this beautiful girl, who has been described more than once as a shining light, I felt that out of respect for the great, bright, beautiful energy she possessed, that perhaps the light, or at least the promise of it, is where some healing might be found now.
I have thus written the following poem for all the women who have experienced the dark presence, threat, or fear of violence in their lives, especially this lovely lady, Ashling Murphy RIP. I hope these words will honour their souls whether past, or still living, with the love and light they deserve now and in the future.