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Empathy

When I was 23 years old, I was assaulted with a knife on the steps of the Queen street subway station. I was on my way to the Art Gallery to decorate for the annual Halloween fundraiser. My attacker was a middle-aged homeless woman who suffered with schizophrenia.


Although in shock, I can remember the swift kindness of the strangers and paramedics who helped and rushed me to the emergency.


Years later, after multiple surgeries, therapies and meditation, I feel gratitude for the many people who looked out for my safety and well -being.


I think about Pamela K, the woman who attacked me. Who at the time, was well known to the police with seven outstanding offenses on file. She was charged with aggravated assault and sentenced to 12 years in prison.


I now think of all of the support that I was offered and I wonder who looked out for her. She was alone, homeless and suffering. Why was she sent to prison and not a mental health facility? Was she offered compassion?


I consider that while I was sitting in the waiting room at the plastic surgery clinics and therapy offices, Pamela was sitting in a maximum-security prison. I wonder where is she now? Is she back on the street? Is she alive?


I am deeply sad for her and for the world which can be so compassionate to those who look or seem like they deserve kindness and dismissive or lacking towards those who do not. Were we both not victims?


Today, I am encouraged by the many people in my network who try for a kinder, resilient and more inclusive world. Thank you


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