COVER UPS
Contributor
Written by
Rhonda Collins
February 2020
Writing
Contributor
Written by
Rhonda Collins
February 2020
Writing

I feel like my head and my heart might explode. Waiting four years for an interview seems like an extraordinary amount of time to remain silent. A killer walks free during 1,463 days that I am convinced he is the one. I pace my steps along the shoreline with positive thoughts, often speaking aloud, “please Universe, solve just this one case.”

Television and magazine articles cover only grandiose cases where hundreds of victims must come forward before the lid blows off, and even then participants whitewash their involvement. Discovery in the case of a Cal Poly freshman has been suppressed more than 8,600 days. Imagine waiting for your daughter to come home for more than 23 years. Not the way that my daughters go to and from university, or Las Vegas with her pals. No day to day worrying about her welfare while she’s out late at night clubs or shuttling away in random Uber and Lyft rides. These parents don’t have that luxury. Losing their child long before #METOO and private ride-sharing apps, these parents take no solace in that statement.

This one set of parents has been waiting 23 years for the body of their freshman in college to be brought home for a proper burial. Tears blur my eyes, pain pounds in my heart, my wrists sweat on the base of my laptop as I ponder the why?

WHO: I am a mother who has heard hundreds of stories of individuals being roofied, drugged, raped, or simply given unwanted rides; I know who knows. WHAT: Knowing what happened might be difficult, and would not bring her back, so I gloss over that. WHERE: San Luis Obispo, CA, one of the happiest cities in America, ask Oprah. WHEN: Memorial Day weekend, 1996 – 23 years and 9 months. It’s the WHY we may never know.

Why the cover-up? Why do repeat offenders walk? Our society allows hundreds of thousands of missing person cases to go unsolved or be suppressed. Individuals get away with predatory behavior repeatedly because drugged victims cannot describe what happens, make bad witnesses, or die.

When I wrote She Too, I identified an NCAA coach and dozens of student-athletes involved in cover-ups; hazing, drugs, alcohol, gang-rapes and assaults on unconscious victims. Calling an NCAA Compliance director with facts did nothing to stop the predator.

I communicated with an author who wrote Unsportsmanlike Conduct who warned me about this rabbit hole. Writing about these types of injustices being one of the most depressing topics ever, who would choose to spend free time reading a book about IRL incidents? (IN REAL LIFE folks – I had a few people say my story needed a glossary and a sensitivity editor – guess what, dead co-eds don’t get either one of those.)

Hundreds of thousands of cases go in the circular file while knowing adults cover up the truth about crimes; CEOs and Presidents of Universities, protecting the reputation of their entities, relocate workforce predators much the same way churches relocate pastors and priests to another parish versus terminating them. We can do better. #TIMESUP

I send FREE COPIES of She Too as my one small thing in raising awareness. mailto:[email protected]

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