She came in to the office, clearly hesitant to enter. She wanted to know who wrote the article about Rafael Nava, a 17-year old boy who was charged with rape a few weeks ago in our small town.
I told her that I wrote it from information provided by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office. She seemed shocked that I could just get access to that information and how could I just print that in the paper.
As the conversation devolved, she became more and more upset while I tried to explain to her that people have a right to know. I never got to the points I wanted to make about how crimes like this are horrible for everyone involved but that parents need to know what is happening so they can protect their own children. Or how perhaps there could be other victims out there, afraid to come forward and say anything either for fear that nothing would be done or they wouldn’t be heard. We didn’t get to discuss the other side of that coin, that by reporting such a horrible story it exposes the victim to stares and potential embarrassment, even though the victims of sexual crimes are usually never printed.
Before I could engage in a conversation with her about it, she blurted out that she was the victim. She was angry. She said next time I need to think about the consequences before I write articles about crimes in this small town, where everyone knows exactly who the victims are, even if unnamed.
I watched as she walked out the door, a virtual scarlet letter on her chest. She bore the weight of a horrible crime that no one should ever have to deal with.
I wanted to talk to her about her story. I wanted to ask her to show others how you can overcome and stand up to such bad behavior. I hope she comes back so we can have that conversation.