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BC author’s first book tackles tough subject of rape’s aftermath

 

Last updated 6/18/2019 at Noon

Photo: Bernice Snell will have her first book signing for “Finding the Face of Evil,” 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., June 29 at the Bridge City Senior Citizens Center. RECORD PHOTO: Penny LeLeux

Penny LeLeux

For The Record

“Finding the Face of Evil” is more about freedom than justice. There is no true justice in this tale of a woman’s struggle dealing with a rape of which she has no memory, because she was drugged. She didn’t even know for sure if she had been raped, since she had no memories, except it resulted in a pregnancy.

This is a true story of Megan Baker written by Bernice Snell. I tell you that now, because there is some confusion reading the book, whose story it is. Written in first person, but never really stating her name, it is unclear until the end if it was Baker’s story or Snell’s story. Nevertheless, the story tells of the internal struggle women feel when this happens to them. It is a story that could be told over and over again through the ages.

This couldn’t even be considered date rape, because Baker had no idea who did it. She was waiting for a friend at a bar, shooting pool. The next thing she knew, she woke up in front of her workplace with no recollection of even finishing her drink or pool game.

Since she didn’t really know what happened, she didn’t do a rape kit; go to the police or take any other measures. Many women don’t. They fear the ridicule, humiliation and blame that would be put upon them. She couldn’t even give any kind of description of who could have done this. She had no idea who it was. If it had not resulted in a pregnancy, she wouldn’t have known for sure she was raped.

She kept silent for almost 19 years, tortured with the secret. It wasn’t until her son wanted to find out if he had any brothers that his step-father and great-aunt (Snell) started searching using DNA results and ancestry.com that the answer was found. The entire search was done with them never knowing of the rape, because Baker kept silent…until they found him.

The dam finally burst. Baker couldn’t keep her secret any longer and blurt it out. It was too late as far as the law was concerned. She now knows who he is, but he will never be brought to justice through the court system without a confession, so this is justice in her eyes…getting the story out there.

“The hardest part was getting her (Baker) to open up with her emotions,” said Snell. “The more she opened up, the angrier she was.”

Very understandable from years of pent up emotions. Baker had kept them shoved down for too long and the volcano finally erupted.

“It was very hard to stay true to the true story” said Snell. “Megan did a lot more cussing than I put in.”

Not surprising with the anger that builds up over time.

“She opened herself up to ridicule by doing this,” said Snell. “She’s very courageous.”

They know there are probably more victims of this man out there. “If he drugged her, he could have drugged others,” said Snell. “Other girls may have rape kits.” They offered to place Baker’s son’s DNA in the police system to help with future investigations, but the South Carolina authorities have declined the offer.

Snell and Baker hope the book helps other victims know they are not alone. To Baker it feels like it is her way of getting justice. In reality it is more about healing. This was like a cancer of the soul that needed to be extracted. Snell said Baker is like a new person since they finished the book. It is not about the rape or rapist, but about the aftermath.

It is a short read of only 61 pages. Though Snell’s inexperience as an author is evident in her first book, it doesn’t lessen the message of the emotional issues this type of situation causes women for years. In this case, 19.

Depending on which statistic you look up, one out of every five or six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Over 60 percent of rape cases are never reported. If you are a victim of sexual assault, contact the Rape and Suicide Crisis Center at (409) 835-3355.

Snell will be having her first book signing 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., June 29 at the Bridge City Senior Citizens Center, 105 Parkside Dr., behind the Community Center. Books can be purchased online at FindingtheFaceofEvil.com

 

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