Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.
Letter to the Editor
Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
I wish I could hold the Cleveland kidnap survivors and erase their pain. And protect them from anyone who asks stupid and cruel questions like, “Why didn't you escape when you had the chance?”
I've seen kidnap victims Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart struggle with similar questions.
We might not be intentionally cruel, but we don't want to admit to ourselves that terrible things could happen to us or our children. So, we blame the victims. If it's partly the women's fault, that separates “them” from “us” and we're fooled into thinking it could never happen to us.
But shame and blame are implied when we ask those questions. Why didn't they do things differently? It's so unfair and truly shows the ignorance of the interviewer.
These women lived through hell. We might never understand, but that's OK.
What the media focus on is what the victims did “wrong.” What's downplayed is how much the victims did “right” in order to survive. If they did things differently, like if they tried to escape, they'd probably be dead. Whatever horror they were forced to endure, if they “befriended” the offender or whatever, they needed to comply.
We would almost certainly do the same. Who is anyone to question their judgment or motives or actions? Victims deserve better.
Often, victims struggle with self-blame. We shouldn't add to their pain. We should surround these women with love. Don't question; just listen. We all could learn a tremendous amount from these wonderful and beautiful survivors.
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