Earlier this week I had coffee with a lady who's recently been to the police to report her ex-boyfriend who's been harassing her. In their previous relationship she was physically and sexually abused by him and was terrified that it was all going to start again.
She showed me a letter she'd had from the police. She was absolutely delighted with it. 'They're treating me like a person, like someone who matters. They're listening to me and giving me respect.' I looked at it; it was a bog standard letter with just her name written into the Dear bit.
She had another letter from a different organisation as well. 'Look at that! They've bothered to reply. And it's on headed paper.' She was so thrilled. Two letters on headed paper that gave her value.
After the Bible study in Zac's on Tuesday a young lad came in and sat at the counter. He had a cup of tea and some cake. He was so drugged up it was hard to understand what he was saying but I gathered that he was only just 18, that he'd been living with his brother but his brother had now thrown him out and he was wondering where he was going to spend the night. He'd come to Zac's because he'd been told there were sleeping bags to be had there.
I suppose I'm naive and I've led a sheltered life but how do people come to this? I take respect for granted. I assume I will be treated as someone worthwhile; I expect to be believed if I say something. I can't imagine having children and not caring where they are or what they're doing. There's nothing my children could do that would make me stop loving them or trying to help them.
How can this cycle of misery be broken? God alone knows.