Do you ever think about all the missing and forgotten women that go unfound, unidentified, or worse, are found but never receive justice? 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year many of which are women and children? The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) tells us, of that staggering number, around 4,400 bodies are found and considered unidentified and 1,000 remain unidentified.
What is worse, we never hear about these missing women and if we do, it’s brief and negated by an evening commercial during the local news. They are forgotten as the world moves on and their bodies deteriorate in some creeps basement, or at the bottom of a murky lake, or in this case, a marshy field behind a storage unit.
During my research and writing, I became unhinged by the amount of women who were manipulated, beat, raped, shot, strangled, and some who were never found but, even more confounded because Braae was never convicted for any of them. Why was that I wondered? Why can the signs be so clear and lead straight to one person yet these women are recovered, or not, and buried with the story they will never tell because a murderer took their breath away.
I decided to start writing about women whose voices are unheard, undermined, or misinterpreted. In the following weeks, you will hear brief stories of women who were killed, raped, and one that was nearly human trafficked but her instinct saved her.
I want to change the narrative of women who’ve been assaulted. It’s important to illuminate victims regardless of their promiscuous professions or circumstances. Whether she was a college student home for Thanksgiving or a transient who messed around with the wrong guy, aren’t they both entitled to life? Shouldn’t a woman’s testimony be evidence regardless of her lifestyle? And lastly, what kind of proof does one need to put a serial killer and rapist behind bars?
Will you join me in acknowledging missing and forgotten women and sharing these women’s stories, not for exploitation but because you would not want to be forgotten either? Good! I will see you next week as I talk about Velina Larson, one of Braae’s many victims.