Although gut wrenching fear comes with having children at all, it's terrifying to raise daughters. Parents suffer many sleepless nights worrying about their reckless boys. But with girls there is another layer of torment that begins from the moment the tiny creatures are born. It is the thought of a sexual predator harming her. That's not to say boys are never the targets of sexual abusers. Of course, they are and it's just as terrible. It is, however, something that happens less often than with girls or the threat of it dissipates as sons grow older. With daughters, the threat increases as they grow into their teens and then into young women. The presence of the sexual predator is always there and there is little a parent, no matter how protective, can do to ensure their girls are safe. The horrific story of Col. Russell Williams and his brutalization and murder of two young women has parents across Canada, and no doubt beyond, sickened, frightened and once again aware of their helplessness in the face of such evil. It could so easily have been any parent in the shoes of Jessica Lloyd's mother as she stood in the courtroom Wednesday and tried to describe her life today. "I feel like my heart has been ripped right out of my chest," Roxanne Lloyd told the court in her victim impact statement. "Jessica did not deserve this to happen to her. She never, ever did anything to hurt anyone. Why did he do this to me, too? Now I am a broken woman and my life has changed forever. I will never be the same woman I was before Jessica was taken from me." There was no actual purpose for her comments to the court. They will mean nothing to the killer who is so driven by his depraved urges that he has no control over them. His apologies will mean nothing to her. There are no words to lessen what he has done. The judge did not need to hear from her to understand her loss. The maximum sentence of life without parole eligibility for 25 years was already a certainty. Her statement was simply the only way left for her to stand up for her daughter, to advocate for her and to be there for her. In the same way, the parents of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy forced themselves into the courtroom day after day to hear the unspeakable details of what Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka did to their daughters. The words of Kristen French's mother resonate today: she had to be there for her daughter. It was the last thing she could do for her because she could not be there when her daughter was suffering the most. No community is too small to escape the talons of a predator. In the 1970s, little Monica Jack of Merritt was abducted and murdered. Her body was not found for years. Later in that decade, the body of Pamela Darlington, a girl who grew up near me in Dallas, was found, horribly violated. Gail Weys was another local victim brutally destroyed. Sheri McLaughlin's body has never been recovered. Even a two year old girl sleeping in her North Kamloops bedroom was not safe from a rapist and murderer. Stacey Harker was attacked in her bed and then dumped into the river to drown. In 2001, near Merritt, Cherish Oppenheim was found partially clothed in a wooded area after her family went through agony for a week while she was missing. She was sexually abused, severely beaten and strangled to death. In 2009, in Vancouver, Wendy Ladner Beaudry, a mother in her 40s, went for a run and was hunted down and killed. In Delta, just weeks ago, a 15 year old girl going to meet friends was bludgeoned to death as she walked through a forested area. It's frightening to think that in this region alone there are too many girls and women who have been tortured by sex fiends to name them all. Some of their tormenters have been caught and are in jail, some have died and too many others still walk free. As a national community, we should be able to rise up and stop this ongoing assault upon girls and women. We try in little ways with symbolic marches like Take Back the Night. Are there no more powerful actions? Probably not when we consider that in many parts of the world women are raped daily and it's permitted under their country's laws. Staggering numbers of women have and are raped as political statements. Rape has always been a weapon of war. No wonder our daughters many of them with no idea of how unsafe the world is remain so vulnerable. They may not be threatened by political beasts, but murderous sex predators live everywhere. We can tell them to never walk alone. Don't leave a city nightclub unaccompanied. Don't hike on trails without a companion or walk on backroads. Don't hitchhike. If they weren't so innocent, all of our cautions might be enough to make them afraid of even the most basic daily movement. Yet, our daughters refuse to live in fear. They bravely face each day and take chances their parents might beg them not to, if they knew.
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Run of the Mill Theater, an innovative company that has helped to enliven the Baltimore scene since 2003, will close at the end of the month. (The phone number has already been disconnected.) The final productions, scheduled for this weekend, are typically adventurous. First, a followup to "The North Avenue Plays," a concept introduced last year six playwrights and six directors will ride the North Avenue bus on Thursday, writing new plays as they go. (The picture here was taken during the 2010 bus ride.) Overnight and throughout the day Friday, the plays will be rehearsed. Friday at Load of Fun Theater, 120 W. North Ave. $15. Run of the Mill Theater will also present, as part of Artscape, a free performance of . Saturday at Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St. In a press release, artistic director Dave Mitchell and Garner (the company's marketing director) wrote: Run of the Mill Theater truly was anything but for a long, long time. A broad and diverse ensemble of creative, technical, and administrative talents strove to create powerful work, reach out to the local community. and nurture a rebuilding small theater movement in Baltimore. Most of us, individually, will be staying put here, doing good work, fighting the good fight. Watch for us. Music became my main focus after high school. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks. I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least). Think of this as your open all hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.