As I continue to discover different stories I thoroughly enjoy writing, I still come across others which are hard to listen to and even harder to write. Recently, I had to deal with a whole new troubling issue.
I’ve been doing many court stories and watching people who have made mistakes pay for those dearly. However, I sat in on the case of a young girl who was reportedly raped by a man she should’ve been able to trust. Disgust, anger and sadness came over me. I don’t think this man could ever pay enough for what he reportedly did.
I don’t understand how someone could be such a monster and I don’t want to. I feel as though individuals who abuse anyone in a sexual way are inhuman. Taking advantage of and hurting someone in such a soul-crushing way is sickening. I don’t care what kind of mindset this abuser has or all of the problems they’ve had to deal with. I truly could care less.
Something so earth-shattering leaves the victim with emotional scars which take a long time and much help to overcome. When this is done to a child, a whole different sickness is at play. At such a young age, the misunderstanding of what’s happened and the confusion it’s caused has to be unbearable. With a heart full of trust and hope in all good things, the gift of childlike innocence is taken away without choice.
While sitting in court, I could barely look at the man and hid behind the lens of my camera. During the trial, the child will have to get up and testify on the abuse she endured. She has repeatedly had to tell her story and undergo an intrusive rape kit.
Many individuals don’t come forward due to the fear of not being believed and continuously questioned. They then have to face their abusers in a courtroom and in front of complete strangers to discuss the most personal, terrifying and gut-wrenching moment in their lives to plead their case in front of a jury just hoping they will be believed while also wishing the abuse never brought such a darkness to their soul and hindered their belief in people.
I can’t imagine the effect this has on a child’s dreams for the future, on the distrust in love and relationships, their mindset and outlook on the world and the questioning of what life would’ve been like if this hadn’t been done to them.
I hope this man gets exactly what he deserves, but the judicial system repeatedly lets me down. I hope this child will grow and overcome such a terrible experience to one day help others.
I hope she never doubts her inner strength. I hope she knows it’s not her fault. I hope she knows she is loved and important. I hope she doesn’t become just another statistic. All the while, I sit in the courtroom, and my heart aches for hers.
When will enough be enough?
Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.