While trying to decide on which book to choose for today’s post, this one practically jumped off the bookshelf and into my hands. CRASH INTO ME, by Liz Seccuro, was published in 2011, and that’s when I read it. How I was even able to at that point, I’ll never know. The only thing I can think is I was still in shock and my brain simply shielded me from the horror of what I was reading. (It continues to amaze me how my body and brain protect me when I don’t even realize that’s what’s happening until much later.)
From the inside dust jacket: “Dear Elizabeth: In October 1984 I harmed you. I can scarcely begin to understand the degree to which, in your eyes, my behavior has affected you in its wake.
In September 2005, Liz Seccuro received an apology letter from William Beebe, the man who had raped her twenty-one years earlier. Liz was only seventeen when she was assaulted at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia. Although she reacted as best she knew how–going straight to the hospital and taking her story to the college administration–the school’s deans discouraged her from going to the city police, and effectively denied her the kind of justice she sought.
For years, Liz struggled to put the trauma behind her and lead a normal, happy life. The letter brought it all raging back. Terrified that her rapist had tracked her down, Liz began an email correspondence with Beebe, and became determined to pursue the criminal investigation that should have happened years earlier. She wanted justice, and the case seemed clear-cut: she had a confession from the man whose face had long haunted her. But as the highly publicized investigation progressed, a narrative unspooled that was darker than she had believed: a gang rape with at least two other assailants and numerous onlookers, and a wall of silence among the fraternity brothers that persisted two decades later.
Liz Seccuro’s experience of campus assault and justice deferred is an all-too-common one, but it is a story we too rarely hear. In CRASH INTO ME, Liz tells her story with candor, courage and hard-won hope.”
Truly, I do not know how I read this book, as I was right at the beginning of my ordeal. It is easy now, though, for me to see and understand that as difficult as it was and as hard as I had to fight the justice system to make sure my attacker was convicted and sentenced to prison, I actually had it better than a lot of women who suffer similarly. I had the support of family and friends. I also had the maturity to not let anyone keep me from what I knew was right and necessary to do. The ignorant comments from the police (Are you sure it wasn’t a robbery? I HAD NOTHING TO STEAL! and Are you sure you didn’t just trip? YEAH, I TRIPPED AND MY CLOTHES FELL OFF!) not withstanding, there was no way, NO FLIPPING WAY, I was letting this drop. It was too late for me to be safe from him, but getting him off the streets and keeping other girls and/or women safe was my responsibility.
Although Liz Seccuro’s book is a difficult read, I do recommend it, especially if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted in any way. It is also another example of how it is possible to go on and live a normal, happy life after surviving a horrendous event. In the end, getting the justice you deserve is its own reward. It may not be easy, but is it ever worth it!