I like to do jigsaw puzzles, an old-fashioned pleasure in a world of fast-paced video games. There are several reasons I enjoy this gentle pastime. Itís quiet, itís leisurely and, most of all, itís challenging ó rather like life itself on a good day.
One of the most frustrating parts of this hobby is finding that elusive piece, the one that looks just like all the others, but once youíve found it, the picture is complete.
When I read this weekís story about the ongoing violence against women and children in our society at large and the Sunshine Coast in particular, it hit me that a big piece of that puzzle is still missing. Otherwise, why would this horror still be a factor after all these years.
The same thought occurred to me when I watched the film Miss Representation recently at the Ravenís Cry. Why are women still allowing themselves to be objectified by others?
Itís easy to lay all the blame for these sorrows at the feet of men, but I think thatís not the whole story.
Sometimes when Iím working on a particularly difficult puzzle, it helps me to study the completed picture intently. The colour nuances Iíd overlooked before suddenly help me to see where the piece can fit to complete the elusive section.
Perhaps thatís where we go wrong in society. We spend a lot of time studying whatís wrong instead of whatís right. For instance, we wax endlessly about how itís shameful that little girls are paraded in front of judges for junior miss beauty contests that are then aired under the oxymoron of family entertainment.
Instead of yapping about the insanity of it all, why donít we just turn the TV off and go down to the nearest Parents and Tots location and watch some genuine family entertainment. Watch little girls (and little boys) get their fingers dirty painting, tear their no-name jeans having fun or just plain watch the joy on their parentsí faces when they see their kids being kids.
Another thing that might help us all immensely is to find out what the secret is to happy relationships that donít involve violence. What is the magic piece thatís missing in some lives? Letís focus on the kids who arenít bullies, the men who love and respect their women and the women who build their friendships based on something besides superficial looks. What does the caring, compassionate, loving piece look like?
Just as ignoring all the pieces that donít fit at any given moment in a jigsaw puzzle makes no sense, so too does ignoring all the manifestations of violence in our society. We do need to take care of the victims. And we really need to weed out the poorly cut pieces in our society, the ones that will never fit no matter how we try to force them. Whether we do that with education, punishment or banishment, an answer must be found. In the meantime, ignoring the missing piece isnít an option.
Letís all do our part to complete the puzzle.