I joined a forum. It was 2004 and I was in need of somewhere with women who were like me - post-university, not yet settled into a groove of life/love/career, and of many different backgrounds and persuasions. I found such a group and over the past 8 years or so, I've seen the women there grow up, get married, have children, lose parents, divorce, finish study, buy houses, discover new careers, travel the world and cook, knit, sew, paint, write and groove their way onwards. The forum also helped me through thick and thin, bad relationships, good books, job interviews, interstate moves, surgery and recovery, a proposal, a wedding and a baby. I'm not so active on there but it's a warm spot in my heart and one that Facebook and other sites help me stay in touch with.
The site is US-based but I've met some of the amazing women there - this one time I flew to Sydney just to meet one of them, because I so couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet her!!
And just the other day, one of the women on there cried out to the wilderness that is the internet. And it was noticed. Within minutes, the concern was raised within the group. Someone more local to her called her house, and was concerned enough with the non-answer that they contacted her husband, and then the authorities in her city, who intervened.
I woke up to this - it had happened while I slept. I was concerned to see the first post, then on tenterhooks to watch it unfold, and then relieved to see that it was resolved. And then I looked at the deeper meaning of the community that is there on that site. Women all over the world were aware that something wasn't right, and were prepared to speak up and do something about it. This doesn't happen in the real world, does it?
And why not?