I know that I was raped. But here is the odd thing. If my Sister had not been not raped, too, if she didn’t remember - If I didn’t have this police report right in front of me on
my desk - I might doubt that the rape occurred. The memory feels a bit like a dream. It has hazy edges. Are there aspects of what I think I recall that I might have made up?
In the fall of 2006, I got a call from the police. Lt. Paul Macone, deputy chief of the police department in Concord, Massachusetts, called to tell me he wanted to reopen our rape case. “I need to know if you have any objection. And I will need your help,” he
said. The rape occurred in 1973.
Lt. Macone and I grew up in the same town, Concord, Massachusetts, considered by many to be the birthplace of our nation. It is the site of the “shot heard round the world,” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s phrase for the first shot in the first battle of the American Revolution, which took place on the Old North Bridge on April 19, 1775. The town is frequently flooded with tourists, who come to see the pretty, historic village and the homes of Bronson and Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau,
and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who lived and worked there. It is still a small town, with small-town crimes. The Concord Journal still reports accidents involving sheep and cows.
Although we didn’t know each other, Lt. Macone and I overlapped in high school. We never met back then; he was a “motor head,” as he puts it, obsessed with cars, and I ran with an artier crowd. But I knew the name - everyone in town did - because of Macone’s Sporting Goods. Everyone bought sports equipment there. It was a fixture in our town. It’s where I bought my bike, the bike I was riding home from ballet class on the day I was
I had recently requested the complete file. I wanted to understand what happened to me on the day that my sister and I were raped. I had an idea that by reading the file, by seeing the crime reports in black and white on a page, I could restore a kind of order in my mind. If I could just connect fact with feeling, the fuzziness in my head would be reduced, or so I hoped.
The file had to be redacted. Lt. Macone had to read the entire file in order to black out the names of suspects and other victims.
He told me, “I read that file from cover to cover. And I realized that the rapist might still be out there. There were other rapes. The same gun, the same MO - what if the rapist were still on the street? Other children could be at risk. I was worried about what might happen if the rapist were still at large.”
Lt. Macone brought the case to his boss, the chief of police. “I’ve been a cop so long, we can’t help trying to solve crimes. Twenty-nine years on the force. And I thought this crime was highly solvable. You’d have to be brain-dead not to see that.
DENIAL. Copyright © 2010 by Jessica Stern. Used by permission of of HarperCollins Publishers.
A world-class expert on terrorism, Jessica Stern doesn’t feel fear the way most people do. When confronted by truly frightening situations, she enters a peculiar sense of calm. It’s a trait that’s served her well, allowing her to travel to terrorist training camps and talk to killers without fear.
It wasn’t until later that she understood that this trait stems from the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) brought on when she was raped as a teen.
Denial is an unflinching account of that assault that also traces the investigation the police undertook when they reopened her case, and ponders her family’s unusual reaction to the crime. It’s a powerful and insightful examination of trauma and its lasting effects on survivors of violence.
Softcover Book : 320 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers ( June 22, 2010 )
Item #: 13-323291
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 11.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)