The Roanoker - May/June 2015 - 10
SPEAKING ABOUT THE TOTALLY UNSPEAKABLE
has moved to
the forefront of
Maybe it's time
to listen to the
The identities of the women who agreed to talk about
their rape and near-rape experiences for this story are
hidden at their request.
FRANCIS IS A TALL, attractive, 59-year-old, nevermarried owner of a small Roanoke company. When she
was in 9th grade, she was gang-raped by a group of boys
on the track during gym class.
"The boys cornered me, beat me and then one of them
took his penis out. It got ugly," she recalls.
"I was crying and another boy forced me to [his penis
for oral sex]. They all took a turn, one after the other.
Fortunately, they were young, so they didn't last long.
When they'd finished, they zipped up and proceeded to
kick me. The bell finally rang and they all went back to
class, happy as clams. I lay in the high jump pit, crying,
disheveled, dirty." They had not been missed by the gym
Francis cleaned up the best she could and went back
to the gym.
"I was dirty, walking like a zombie and didn't know
what to do. There was no one I could tell, no one anywhere. So I went to class."
There she met a second indignity: "I was late for class
and the teacher took it as an affront that I would be late
and disheveled. She berated me, gave me an F for the
story and am quoted in the article. I would
like to offer a point of clarification: While I
have been the director of SARA [Sexual Assault Response and Awareness] since 1986, I
did not found the program while still in college at Radford University. I did help start a
program while I was in college but it was not
SARA. I do not want those individuals who did
start the program in 1977 (then called Rapeline) to read your article and think I am trying to take credit for something I did not do.
-Teresa Berry, Roanoke
I think that Dan Smith may have been wrong on
page 30 of his rape story. A rape [at UVa]was reported but subsequently debunked. No charges
were filed. Most of the girl's story, which came
out in Rolling Stone, was discredited. I feel this
piece was poorly edited.-Sarah Cox, Roanoke
Our apologies to Freedom First Federal Credit
Union CEO Paul Philips for the misspelling of
his name in the article "Credit Unions: Small
for a Reason," in March/April.
OF THE UNSPEAKABLE
WHILE I'M GLAD I was able to help Dan
Smith with the March/April story "Rape: Speaking about the Totally Unspeakable," I must say
that writing and reading the story is quite different than telling it as a story. For years I've told
"just stories," without any particular emotional
involvement. When I wrote [the account, orginally for the Dan Smith blog, it was] more real.
When I read [the story] in print on paper, I
was almost sick with guilt at how I have glossed
it over in my psyche, as if those things had happened to someone else. Seeing it in print validated it for me. I knew it was true, but Dan believed me, and thought it was worthy of sharing.
No one has ever done that for me before.
Thanks to Dan. There is no greater gift he could
have given me. (Name withheld, as it was on the
WORTH A CLICK
Explore more exclusive content at TheRoanoker.com!
1. WANT MORE FROM ROCKLEDGE? (SEE PAGE 64)
It's not every issue we get to take a look inside one of the most iconic homes in the valley, and writer Samantha
Hoback didn't leave out a single detail! Visit TheRoanoker.com/Rockledge to learn more about this historic
home, view additional photos and to get details about some of the artwork and artifacts Nancy and Kevin Dye
have collected throughout the house over the years.
2. WANT MORE LOCAL FLAVOR? (SEE PG 14)
Can't get enough from Local Roots? Tag along with writer Liz Long and take a video tour of the Local Roots kitchen
3. YOUR BEST PET STORIES!
Can't get enough of the pet stories we shared in our previous issue? Visit TheRoanoker.com/PetStories for more
I am writing in regards to the article "Rape:
Speaking About The Unspeakable." First, I
would like to thank you for running a story
about rape and sexual assault in your magazine. It is a difficult subject to cover and I applaud you for your efforts.
I was interviewed by Dan Smith for the
10 MAY/JUNE 2015
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