Survivor’s story of hope continues to echo

Some voices are hard to forget.

I saw a preview recently for a show on the Biography Channel called “I Survived.” The show features people who have survived near-death experiences such as a grizzly bear attack, kidnapping and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The survivors tell their stories without the help of a narrator and against a black background, giving it an intimate one-on-one feel.

One of the women in the clip looked familiar. But I didn’t make the connection until I heard her voice: “I survived that night because I had to live for my daughter.”

I first met Penny in 2006 when I was a reporter for the Evansville Courier & Press, a midsize newspaper in southern Indiana. Normally, I would go out and find people to interview for stories, but Penny found me. When she contacted the newspaper, her call was forwarded to me because I was on the police beat.

Penny told me that she had been raped and left for dead. She was upset at the way the police had treated her during the early parts of the investigation, and she wanted to share her story with the public. It was rare for a victim of a sex crime to want to speak about their case, and our newspaper had a policy of not identifying rape victims to protect their privacy. Continue reading