If you live in the UK, or France, you probably heard about the girl who went missing this week. Megan Stammers is actually from my end of the country down in the south-east, and failed to turn up to school last Friday morning. She was believed to have been abducted by her maths teacher, Mr. Jeremy Forrester and taken by ferry to France. See the BBC report here: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19686056. Today, I am very happy to hear Megan has been found along with Forrester in France and that she is safe and being brought back to the UK and Forrester has been arrested.
Stammers and Forrester on the ferry to France
Before I say anymore I want to make it really clear that I am extremely happy to hear that she is on her way home safe and think that the media coverage and the spread of information through twitter was brilliant and probably had an impact on eventually finding her.
What I want to point out is that surely she isn’t the only girl to have gone missing or been in danger in the last say 3 months or so and yet this is the most coverage I’ve seen in that time over a single person. Megan’s case also wasn’t as serious as others are. She left, apparently voluntarily with her teacher and from what I hear there’s not any suggestion of abuse. Again, let me be clear, this shouldn’t happen and contact needed to be made with the family but Megan was relatively safe. Her life and, it seems, wellbeing wasn’t at serious risk. Meanwhile girls are in trouble in this country, especially in our cities. This article compares Megan’s case to one such girl, “Suzie”. www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/why-do-we-care-about-megan-stammers-from-eastbourne-but-not-suzie-from-rochdale-8190274.html
Wouldn’t it amazing if twitter could come alive for girls like Suzie as it did for Megan? Raising awareness for such problems across the country could really mobilise the public and the police to more actively combat what is happening around us. Then there’s the slave trade and human trafficking that still exists in our world. Young men and women being abducted and sold to others in a different country from anything varying from domestic service to sexual slavery.
My question here is more certainly not “Why did the country, the media and twitter mobilise itself for Megan Stammers?” but “Why doesn’t the country, the media and Twitter mobilise itself for other girls and young people like it did for Megan?”
What do we think?
Is it down to the family to kickstart a campaign?
Should we make it more normal to campaign to help people like this? Or would that devalue the publicity?
- ‘Pure elation, pure relief’ – stepfather’s delight at Megan Stammers being found safe and well in France (independent.co.uk)