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February 9th, 2011 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

Inbox: Elizabeth Lynn Dunham

wweek.com Readers Comment on… “Elizabeth Lynn Dunham: May 12, 1961-Jan. 16, 2011”

     
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I have mixed feelings about the choice of whether to name or not name a victim of prolonged sexual abuse.

I read both the Oregonian article and the WW article. When I read the piece in the Oregonian, I felt like something was missing. This piece in the WW felt more complete. Elizabeth’s name and her photos made what happened to her all the more painful to read. She is a real person—not a nameless, faceless victim.

One of the issues that happens with abuse is that a victim loses control over their life. By naming them without their consent, it is another way of someone taking control over them. 

However, I conversely think that by not naming victims of sexual abuse, we continue to stigmatize it. It must be shameful if we have to hide that someone has been a victim of a sex crime. 

I think that, as a society, we would likely benefit from being more open about naming victims. But, as an individual, I would want to be the one to make the choice of whether I was to be named publicly.” —Elaine


“There seem to be two veins of comments that arise related to this story, not counting the rants of those who just like to scream on blogs.

The first vein comes from those who, regardless of how they define the crime, want to assume the victim had a role to play in this; that she could have changed her life had she been smarter, stronger, or more like the writer of those comments. If life were that simple.

The second vein comes from those who, for whatever reason, have insight to the very common personality changes that occur after abuse. Sure, some deal with it different than others, but if you have spent any time around or ever loved the victim of abuse, or are a victim of abuse, then you get it. 

This situation is to me the epitome of all that can go wrong. The rapist is a man of great charm, talent, good looks, public position, and adored by the family. The victim is victimized at the ideal time to have her life just destroyed. 

I would not wish such victimization on my worst enemy, but I would wish it for just five minutes on all those who think they are just above it, or impervious to it.  

As long as those of you who can’t comprehend how this happened are still in the dark, it will be repeated. I hope your daughters or sons are not the victims. I wonder if they are at higher risk than mine.

Goldschmidt, who originally called this “an affair” now says he wants to be good to those he loves. By still not accepting how he alone sent her down such a tragic path, he still fails those he loves.

If I sound angry, damn right I am.” —Don


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