Today is Valentine’s Day. It’s a day to tell all the people you love exactly how much you love them. But it’s hard to get in the lovey-dovey mood when everywhere around me, I’m confronted with stories about women and children who are hurt or killed at the hands of those who “love” them.
Valentine’s isn’t just about couples and romance. February 14th, V-Day, is also a day to stand up against violence. This year, thanks to the tireless efforts of organizers all over the world working with One Billion Rising, females are coming together to demand that our countries and cultures search for justice and find ways to keep women and children safe.
It is with this international movement in my head that I wept over the death of a child in a town not too far from my own. A 2-year-old little girl who was found last night in her home with severe, scalding burns on her face, chest and back. The child, along with two siblings, was being “cared for” by her mother’s boyfriend, 27-year-old Donald Riddle. When the mother got home, her daughter was unresponsive and in bed.
This man who was supposed to be looking after three young children had somehow let a 2-year-old child be covered in boiling liquid, causing severe burns. Then, instead of getting her medical attention, he just left her in bed. This innocent child died of excruciatingly painful burns. The man is now being charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.
I’m thinking about this poor little girl today as I wrap a small gift for my own child to open when she gets home from school. I think about those women out there standing in unity as I get ready to take my own mother flowers and a card, to thank her for all the love she’s shown me. I think about these tragedies and this heartache, and while it makes me grateful for all that I have, it also makes it difficult to feel happy and joyful about the love in my life.
Less than an hour away from me, a 2-year-old little girl died because someone who was supposed to love her neglected to do so. These stories happen so often that they’re difficult to keep track of. A quick Google search will show hundreds of other children killed in recent months, often at the hands of those who are supposed to love them. There are thousands of adult women dying from violence all over the world, every single day.
I have so much to love and be thankful for, but it’s hard when there are still so many who deserve the same and don’t get it. It’s hard when I think about the tragic story of this 2-year-old little girl.