BIG CREEK, W.Va. - Inside a shed on a remote hillside of this coalfield community, authorities say a young black woman was tortured for days, sexually assaulted, beaten and forced to eat rat droppings.
Her captors, all of them white, choked her with a cable cord, poured hot water over her and stabbed her in the leg while calling her a racial slur, according to criminal complaints. It wasn't until an anonymous tip led Logan County Sheriff's deputies to the property on Saturday that her ordeal ended and she was able to limp to safety, arms outstretched as she cried "help me!
Others in the article, including the mother of the 20-year-old victim, kept saying things to the likes of, "I can't believe people like this exist."
"I don't understand a human being doing another human being the way they did my daughter," Carmen Williams said Tuesday from her daughter's hospital room. "I didn't know there were people like that out here."
Which makes me wonder, are we naive to think that our fellow citizens aren't capable of such horrific acts? Has history taught us nothing? Is it awful and defeatist for us to presume that people will continue to perpetuate hate crimes and human rights violations? It happens routinely in many, many parts of the world, so why are we surprised? Certainly this is an inexcusable, terrible occurrence, but if similar things are happening everywhere else in the world, why are we shocked when it happens here? Is that ethnocentric of us, in the same vein as "It could never happen here" or "Not in my backyard" ?