In honour of courage

Have you ever experienced how sadness and anger are often just one breath apart? It is said that some people use anger to hide their sadness, and others, who are afraid of their anger’s power turn to sadness to protect themselves and others. This might be one explanation for reactive depression.

The book that made me sad also made me angry. It’s Sabine Dardenne’s ‘I Choose to Live‘. For those of you who don’t know her story: Sabine was 12 year old when she was kidnapped by Marc Dutroux, Belgian’s most popoular – is popular a good word in this case? – paedophile serial killer, back in 1996. It was a huge topic in European media, as Dutroux was considered part of  a massive cycle of paedophiles abusing children around Belgium.

Sabine was held capture in the basement of Dutroux’s house and sexually abused for three month before she was found by the police only because the kidnapper was observed kidnapping another girl to keep her company. Police found four other missing girls dead, buried in Dutroux’s gardens. – Oh gosh, I want to vomit!

Sabine’s recall of what happened to her is hard to read, although she leaves out most of the details. And although she survived, obviously. I constantly wonder how such a young girl finds the courage to stand up against the man she absolutely and in every regard depends on. I have only admiration for Sabine’s courage and strength. And still, it makes me sad. It makes me sad for the time she lost and the things she had to bear. It makes me sad for every other victim, girl or boy, man or woman, of someone who thought he had the right to abuse them for his / her own delight. It makes me sad for the families’ loss. It even makes me sad for the world and what we lost because kids were not allowed to grow up to be good people and put their dent into the world.

When I think about the perpetrators, I feel hot anger and I fancy the idea of becoming a contract killer. But then, something inside of me knows that taking a life is wrong, even such a life. Why do some people not have this sense of ‘wrong’ and control over themselves? I totally don’t get that. And because I don’t know what to make of my anger, I become sad again.

Which I want to stop. I promise to myself I will turn back to fighting ignorance and violence, to turn my anger into something productive; something more productive than sadness can’t be hard to find. When I was younger, I was a self defence teacher. Why did I stop?




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