In September, Elizabeth Bruenig wrote about Amber Wyatt, a classmate she barely knew in 2006 when both attended a high school in Arlington, Texas. Wyatt was raped that year, and when she reported the crime, she found, in Bruenig’s words, that ‘few believed her. Her hometown turned against her. The authorities failed her.’
I first learned about Amber Wyatt when someone far from the city recommended Bruenig’s essay. (Since September, Bruenig – a columnist at the Washington Post – has written later stories about Wyatt and the response to the original essay; she has also written about sexual assault in religious institutions.)
There is nothing easy about Amber Wyatt’s story, as there could be nothing easy in any such story, no matter how artfully told (and Elizabeth Bruenig’s essay is a melancholy but artful account).
Here in our beautiful but troubled city, we have over these last several years seen repeated injustices like Wyatt’s. So many, in fact, that someone who has no specialized insight – and would never claim any – felt the need to create a category on the subject while writing about life in this small city.
I would recommend Bruenig’s account of Amber Wyatt’s assault (and experiences since), with the necessary caution that any account of the kind will prove painfully unsettling.
And yet, and yet — any account of these injuries, whether near or far, would be by its very nature painfully unsettling.