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Thursday, 1 April 2010

Strange thing, actually, that I saw two young women with severe scarring on their bodies yesterday. In both cases, there was no attempt to cover the disfigurement. Both young women were attractive and wore revealing clothes. Both bore the scars of some severe physical trauma.

One sighting in a single day would not warrant a mention. But I saw one young woman in the same line while waiting to pass through security before boarding my flight yesterday. Then, five hours later, a young woman wearing a short dress moved into my line of sight as I waited for a friend at Darling Harbour, in Sydney.

The first young woman had an apricot-sized scar on the back of her left bicep. I later observed another scar, about eight inches long. It was horizontal along her ribs, and was visible as she wore a singlet and no bra. Both scars were dark pink and served as evidence of some unexpected - no doubt - physical violence. Nobody would want such an attack on their person.

The young woman at Darling Harbour seemed quite unconcerned about the deep scar on the back of her left thigh. The short dress she wore left it completely uncovered. It bit into her leg savagely, and seemed to have been made by a sharp implement. Maybe she'd been in a car crash.

Scars are reminders of mishap or negligence. I hope that I will not be forced to decide whether to show, or hide, a scar.

Of course, many scars are psychological, not physical. And people who bear these types of scars are reluctant to display them. If the figures for mental illness in Australia are true - one in five of us will have a mental illness in our lifetimes - then there are no doubt millions walking around with scars they can never reveal, unlike the two young women I saw yesterday. There is too much fear in society about mental illness to risk disclosure.

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