LAST week, my 11-year-old cousin Joseph randomly asked me, “Kuya, is the world dangerous?”
I was amazed at the fact that a boy approaching his adolescence would ponder on such deep idea. I gave him an answer which seemed to satisfy his curiosity; but as I have read the news over the past few weeks, I could not help but think the same: Is our society indeed dangerous, especially for young women?
Last April 7, two girls, aged 13 and 14, were raped by their drunken male friend and cousin. The latter were aged 15 and 22, respectively.
Additionally, a 14-year-old girl, Tesa Marie Ygay, was found dead inside a septic tank at the back of Cogon Cruz Integrated School in Danao City.
Jessie Montes Medequillo, a 36-year old security guard, allegedly murdered the girl.
Of course, I could not go any further without mentioning the murder of Christine Lee Silawan last month in Lapu-Lapu City. She was raped and brutally slain.
Obviously, all of these incidents would bring out the possible notion that our society is a dangerous place for women.
But personally, I believe the fates of not just young women but all young adults like me lie within our own hands.
At this point of our lives, we are at an age where we can discern what is right or wrong; what is beneficial or dangerous for us.
I strongly feel that these three incidents could have been avoided had there been proper discernment on the part of the victims, as to whether the places they had gone to were a threat to their lives.
Yes, responsibility still lies within the parents’ hands. They may either be strict or lenient towards their children. Regardless, they should always strive to do their duties as a role model and guide to their children.
But realistically, they can only do so much. They are not full-time guardians because they themselves are busy with their own personal endeavors.
So the act of discernment remains as a crucial responsibility for us, young adults. We should wisely choose our acquaintances, as well as use our instinctive inclination to determine whether a certain place or event is safe for us.
As for my cousin’s question, I confidently assured him that the world is not dangerous. There may be dangerous personalities in the community; but it is up to us whether we are capable of avoiding these hazards. He nodded his head as if he agreed with my opinion.
I am glad that I was able to not just clear out his curiosity, but also to prepare him for what shall be an interesting stage in his life.
To guide us in our everyday decisions, we can refer to William Ernest Henley’s timeless line in the poem Invictus, one of the greatest pieces of poetry ever written: “I am the MASTER of my FATE; I am the CAPTAIN of my SOUL.” (By Oscar Tan III)