The Washington Post tells the story of how a Maryland rape victim, now in her 40s, was persuaded by prosecutors to tell a parole board why the man who raped her 37 years ago should not be released. Maryland holds 10,000 parole hearings annually. Fewer than three rape victims a year typically come to speak, because doing so means reliving the assault in front of the attacker. “It takes more courage than anything I can think of,” said David Blumberg, commission chairman, “and that is why it doesn’t happen very often.”
It almost didn’t happen in the case of Bill Wallshleger case, either. First the woman, who was not identified by the Post, declined to testify. Then the prosecutor called. She started to feel selfish: What if Wallshleger got out and hurt someone else? She grew uncomfortable with how scared she was to confront him. “Being that affected,” she said, “meant that that day, that event and that person still had power over me.” She finally testified, and the board denied Wallshleger parole for another three years.