Her rapists were jailed for life. Now they’re free, and she’s in hiding.
She doesn’t want a marriage. She wants freedom. Not freedom to live with men she doesn’t love but freedom to live alone. Not freedom to marry the men she does love but freedom, as she sees it, to love them until her final breath.
“I like to think that my name is an acronym for something: ALIVE (for all the good they’ve done and will continue to do), NO (it’s always NO), CAST (a few good ideas), and END (goodbye),” she says. “I’m a woman of many layers, and when they saw my name and realized it had ‘ALIVE’ in the middle I believe they were expecting a zombie.”
She’s a 24-year-old woman without legs. She’s also a single mother living between two states, two cultures, and three continents.
“For a long time, I didn’t know how to explain to my family or even myself,” she says. “Now I know that as an adult, I am not a real woman, and I cannot take the blame for the things and the people I have done. It is not my fault for being born this way.”
She also knows that her story is not normal: that she’s the only one living this experience, that every time she speaks about her case, she’s met with incredulity — and, she says, with pity and compassion.
But she doesn’t want pity. She just wants something, anything, that will allow her to be able to go on. And to do that, she wants to stop blaming herself and others for the things she’s done and will continue to do. It’s exhausting trying to convince anyone of the absolute wrongness of what she’s done. It’s exhausting for her, in her case, to try to explain what