Surviving Marc Dutroux
Monday, January 31, 2005, 05:16 - Books

I finished reading I was 12, I took my bike and went to school by Sabine Dardenne, surviving victim of Marc Dutroux.
Marc Dutroux is one of the most notorious killers Europe has ever seen. During a spree of terror in the 1990s, he kidnapped, raped and killed four young girls in Belgium. But two of his victims survived and later testified in his trial.

In this book Sabine describes how she was kidnapped and held prison for 80 days in a small secret compartment in Dutroux’s cellar, subjected to abuse and threats by this monster. One cannot begin to imagine what kind of hell she went through.
She survived only thanks to her exceptional strength of character – refusing to give way to madness, refusing to let herself be destroyed – and thanks to the letters, desperately lucid letters, which she wrote to her mother. Letters that of course were never sent.

When Dutroux kidnaps another girl there are some witnesses and after a few days he is arrested. Both girls are found and safely return to their homes. Preparing the trial took 8 years in which Sabine could build up a sort of normal life in anonymity, trying to forget her 80 days of hell.

When the trial finally took place, all publicity intensifies again and she testified against him and finally had the chance to look the monster in the eyes – Dutroux could only look down to the ground. In the end he was condemned to prison for life.

This book, dignified and restrained, was written so that the victim’s voice can at last be heard. For too long the attention of the media was monopolized by her torturer, while his victim was ignored. Her testimony, free of any fascination with evil or perversity, show how utterly the lives of the victims of pedophiles are devastated, their futures destroyed – even if some, like Sabine, manage to survive and get on with their lives. It is our duty to listen.

I don't understand why it took 8 years before the trial finally took place. It seems like it was a pretty obvious case and he had been convicted for child rape before. I hope Dutroux will never ever be released as he obviously is a real menace to society.

I wish Sabine great strength in putting all this behind her and getting back a normal life, including the anonymity of normal people.

See also this article in Der Spiegel.

Rule of twelve bonks
Wednesday, January 19, 2005, 07:43 - Books
This rule states that one needs to sleep with twelve people before one can choose his or her partner to spend the rest of their life with. Scientists have shown this with computer simulations based on an old mathematical problem: Sultan's Dowry Problem.
Premarital sex therefore is statistically very wise!

This is one of the mathematical formulas Australian mathematician dr. Clio Cresswell has collected in her book Mathematics and Sex. It may sound weird, she says, to use mathematics to find a lover. But it would be very helpful to know what's available on the market when deciding on how much to compromise...

But then again: "mathematicians do it in theory".

Are you at twelve bonks yet? Keep in mind that men tend to estimate the number of women they slept with higher (by a factor of two to four) than the other way around, while statistically the average numbers should be the same.