Never too late for justice
In 1984 while a student at the University of Virginia she reported to campus authorities that she had been raped at a fraternity party and identified her attacker by name. She was led to believe that there was nothing the university or she could do when that student left the university for other reasons.
She struggled to move forward.
And she was as successful as she could be. Married. A child. Work she enjoyed.
Then, in 2005, he wrote her a letter.
That's where she begins "Crash into Me."
The letter sends her back to 1984 and brings all those questions she has worked so hard to bury right to the surface.
She embarks on a quest to learn the truth.
I was pulled in by her candor and somewhat surprising lack of bitterness.
As she writes of the alma mater that was, shall we say, less than helpful to her:
"Even now, every autumn, no matter where I am, I remember the beauty and the thrill of Virginia in the fall - the gorgeous Grounds and the impossibly crisp air. To stand in the shadow of the Rotunda under the golden trees of the Lawn was a near-perfect feeling. The Lawn in autumn is perhaps the most hopeful place int he world, and it is what I choose to think about when I remember the university."
I couldn't help but be impressed at her ability to forgive. And I'll admit her story gave me pause when I think about my daughter and her friends soon to be headed off to college.
How do we warn our children about all these potential dangers without making them fearful of the very new acquaintances and opportunities that are part of the college experience we want them to have?
I'd like to think that the college environment of 2011 is different than that of 1984, but I fear it is not.
Much attention has been given just this year to an incident involving a Notre Dame football player and a student from neighboring St. Mary's College. You can read about it here.
Crimes are still crimes even when committed on the grounds of a university.
I hope Seccuro's courage in sharing her story helps raises awareness among all of us -- university officials, law enforcement, parents and partygoers alike.
- Tricia Ambrose