Tags: Keeping | Our | Daughters | Safe

Keeping Our Daughters Safe

Friday, 12 August 2005 12:00 AM

The reason her daughter got the attention was because her mother made it happen. That's why. Her mother made the story – a story needs a face and a voice, and it was hers.

Beth Twitty made mistakes, to be sure, as even the most experienced of us do – in her case, calling two of the men involved criminals and raising flags about respect for the justice system. But that's small potatoes compared to the scrutiny she brought in. If attention would have brought her daughter back to life, or brought her killers to justice, there would be a happy ending here.

There isn't. Beth has moved back to Alabama, as of last week. They've increased the reward to $250,000, but her final interviews in Aruba were not promising. All this mother power, and what good does it do? Most mothers could not pull this off, but does it matter?

Beth Holloway Twitty insists that Natalee must have been kidnapped. There have been various reports: Maybe she drank too much, or drank something with the "date rape" drug in it. Or maybe she went out voluntarily with three men she didn't know and things got out of her control.

It doesn't matter for purposes of the guilt of her killers. There's no cause for judging her. But it does matter when you think about mothers, and how we use that power.

Making a federal case of your daughter's disappearance is a terrible waste of power. It takes a huge amount, and it rarely works.

Trying to get through to her on what she MUST do to stay safe is less Herculean – and more likely to work.

It would be too cruel to ask Beth Twitty if she talked to her daughter about dealing with men she doesn't know in strange environments, whether it's a beach trip, a new college or an out-of-town party.

But for everyone else, there is a danger that teaching our daughters that they have rights, which they do, and that the victims shouldn't be blamed, which can be cruel, has led us to forget to teach them to protect themselves.

The most powerful four-letter word in the English language is RAPE. It used to just mean a man with an ice pick against your throat in a dark alley.

It doesn't anymore. It means a great deal more – so much more, potentially, that all but the most hardened criminal will stop when he hears it. That is what law reform has accomplished. But the purpose is deterrence, not punishment; the greatest impact of reform may be its potential to give women the power to protect themselves.

Don't go alone with men you don't know. Period. Ever.

Always have a buddy when you go out. Make a deal before you leave, and consider the night out more dangerous than the neighborhood pool because it is. There is no lifeguard. A buddy can at least call for help.

Never drink liquids that someone hands to you, that don't come straight from the bottle, can, etc. No punch. Not unless someone's mother made it. Say it's too sweet. Say you hate punch. Watch your drink more carefully than you do your baggage.

Don't say "no," say "rape." This is my most important lesson. Some of the Web sites I've seen tell women to "say 'no' like you mean it." It's easier than that. Say "rape," and say it loud. Better sooner, much sooner, than later, when the justice system doesn't do as well, and a mother's power can easily go to waste.

COPYRIGHT 2005 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

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The reason her daughter got the attention was because her mother made it happen. That's why. Her mother made the story - a story needs a face and a voice, and it was hers. Beth Twitty made mistakes, to be sure, as even the most experienced of us do - in her case, calling...
Keeping,Our,Daughters,Safe
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2005-00-12
Friday, 12 August 2005 12:00 AM
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