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The story that will forever haunt Marty Cobb's sister
“What did I think was wrong?
That made it sound as if nothing was really wrong. I only thought it was wrong.”
—From The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I woke up with a start, detecting the scurrying of a rodent in my room. I wanted to believe that the mouse was responsible for my restless sleep. Instead, the culprit lied in what I had read earlier that day. Mid-May was supposed to be a time of celebration. After all, my little sister had just graduated from college and our parents were in town. But my joy for my sister's accomplishment was short-lived because of yet another child rape. I walked downstairs to the kitchen to fetch myself a glass of water. My parents, who were camped out on the sleeper sofa, both murmured.
“It's just me,” I said.
“Why are you up?” my mother mumbled.
“I couldn't sleep,” I explained from my place inside the fridge. I grabbed a box of fried chicken and set it on the counter. “I read something horrible.”
“What time is it?”
I slammed a plate full of chicken into the old microwave and then muttered, “That'll be too loud.” I removed the plate and went to the dining room to gnaw on cold, soggy skin. When I finished my strange supper, I threw the bones away, washed my hands, and headed back to my room. But I couldn't make it past my parents. I could tell that my mother was awake, so I told her the story responsible for my nightmares:
Eight-year-old Marty Cobb and his 12-year-old sister were playing on the railroad tracks behind their Richmond, Virginia home when their new 16-year-old neighbor raped Marty's sister. Maurice Washington bludgeoned a 3-year-old with a hammer at age 12 in 2010. When Marty tried protecting his sister, Maurice threw a rock at the boy's head. The tiny boy—reportedly so small for his age that he was often confused for a 5-year-old—died almost instantly. Maurice then scooped up Marty's sister, ran over to her mother's home, and told the girl's mother that she had been raped by a white man. Maurice had bullied the girl into going along with the lie. The girl was taken to the hospital and was not allowed to see her family, even to attend her brother's funeral, because her mother had broken too many of social services' rules and orders.
No media outlet released the girl's name because she was a minor, but for anyone in the neighborhood—and just about anyone curious enough period—her name is fairly easy to find out. After all, her brother's name, her mother's name, and her (now former) address have all been made public information. For the rest of this girl's life, she will run into people who will recall the news story. And, with that, she will encounter people judge her. There will be people who blame her, reasoning that she must have provoked the boy. She must have been oversexed and “unladylike.” It will always be “her fault.”
We can only hope that more people treat her with empathy and compassion instead of misguided hatred. That is we must practice and demand for all rape victims, whether their stories made the news or not.
#OtherWorldlyMadness #HorribleImagination #RVA #DisturbingNews #ChildRape #ChildrenRapingChildren #FamilyTime
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