(Warning: not a post for the young or faint of heart.)
Yesterday, as I drove home from getting my hair cut, I listened to an interview with three of the victims of this horrific crime. I pulled into a parking lot and sat and cried as they re-told stories that were uncomfortably close to my own story. As painful as it was, I couldn’t turn it off because I knew I had to honour our shared history and their bravery to tell their stories.
Seventeen years later, and they still live with the scars – physical and emotional – of what that man did to them. One of them slept for years under her dining room table because she thought that if someone broke in again, he would look in the bed and wouldn’t think to look in the kitchen. Anything to preserve her safety. I didn’t sleep under a table, but I remember long nights of staring at dark windows, wondering if the shadows I saw there were human.
Two of them have come forward, releasing their names to the press, defying the public to blame the victim, standing up for women like them. Like me. In the coming forward though, they had to first tell the story to their young children, born since the crime.
I wonder, nineteen years after I faced what they faced, if the perpetrator were caught, would I come forward and let my name and my story be public? Would I face the barrage of media, wanting to know every horrid detail? I think I would, for the sake of the other women still dealing with the scars.
But my tears refused to stop as I imagined the day I have to tell my daughters. Some day, they will know that the world can be a horrible place and that people can do evil things. Some day, they will know that deviant sexual desires can cause people to do bad things to people like their mommy.