A young woman was raped this weekend very close to where we live. It happened at the Hudson River Park in Tribeca, at Harrison Street, where we run and bike every day, where our children play, where we walk to and from the fields and the movie theatre in upper Battery Park City. This is where my children were born and raised. This is where they hang out with their friends.
The woman who was raped was twenty-one years old, an actress. She begged him for mercy before he strangled and raped her.
I have an eighteen year old daughter. My husband’s girls are twenty-one and twenty-three. This feels very personal. This is our home. These are our children.
Rape is a heinous crime under any circumstances, and at any age, but thinking of this twenty-one year old girl, and how her life will be forever changed, brings tears to my eyes today. She went down to the river to watch the sunrise. Was this smart? Probably not. Did she deserve to be raped? Of course not. Will she ever get over it? I doubt it.
The man who raped her was twenty-five years old. He was homeless, a convicted high risk sex offender who had been released from prison months ago. Why, we need to ask, was he out on the street, free, able to rape this young woman?
Rape (including attempted rape) in New York City is up 4% this year, with 1,058 incidents to date. We think our city is safe, and it has gotten better, but please realize that we are not really safe anywhere. A seventy-three year old woman was also raped in the city earlier this year.
Our children are all-knowing, telling us not to worry about them when they leave the safety of our homes. But we, as parents, worry all the time. It is part of our job. We all worry about those we love and care for, whether we have our own children or not. We worry about friends and parents and relatives.
When I was younger I worried about being raped. Back then, in my youth and naivete, I felt that I would want to die if I were raped. Now, of course, that I am older and wiser, I know that I would still want to live if such a horrible thing happened to me, but I know that I would never sleep, run, walk or turn corners the same way. And think of the rape victims who find themselves pregnant with the babies of the awful men who raped them. Many of these women do not believe in abortion. This could be the fate of the twenty-one year old girl who innocently walked our neighborhood just days ago, wanting to enjoy some early morning beauty.