By: Malanka Sveta
Content Warnings: Discussions of rape, kidnapping, abuse, and murder
Don't get me wrong, I'm certain that Charles Ramsay is a good man. I am grateful that he was present when someone needed help. I'm grateful that he, at some slight risk to himself, helped a woman and a child get through a door. I am grateful that he called 911. I will always be grateful that Charles Ramsay is a functioning person who will meet the minimum requirement for being a good person. I am grateful for every functioning person I know, and those that I only hear about. But he is not the hero in this story. He risked very little, and he was in a position of having freedom.
Amanda Berry, on the other hand, had been locked away for a decade. Now, I don't know all the details, but I feel confident in the belief that her days did not consist of ice cream at every meal and unicorn rides on demand. I think she was relentlessly tortured and abused for a decade. I am very sure that she was witness to the relentless torture and abuse of other children and women for a decade. I believe that she was witness to death. I believe she was raped, beaten, brainwashed, tortured, abused, and traumatised daily for a decade, and was also witness to these same acts being perpetrated against other children and women. I cannot imagine the strength it takes to survive. I certainly can't imagine how much strength it took for her to try to escape. She had partially beaten down the door, she had her child (born while she was captive, with no medical assistance, I can't imagine her courage in facing that) with her. And when she got free, albeit with assistance, her first thought was not "Help me", it was "You have to get the others out".
Sandy Hook. Anyone else remember that? The (female) teachers showed "uncommon courage". There should have been a man there. Why were there no men to protect the children (even though women were doing just that) oh won't somebody please think of the children?
The thing is, women show courage every day. Just like men do. We are simply not recognised when we do or, if there is no alternative, it is dismissed as "uncommon". Amanda Berry is the hero in this story. She risked everything, she got herself out, she got others out. Yes, she had help, but her actions are being ignored to laud a man as the hero, because female heros don't exist. Fuck that.
Charles Ramsay, you are a good man, and a functioning person, but you are not my hero.
Amanda Berry, you are my hero.