Well, I don’t want to talk about it, and I don’t think you do either. But we need to talk about it.
Last night in the Missoulian I read an article called Hamilton man charged with drugging, raping, kidnapping teenage girl.
As far as I can make out, this is what happened:
A 32-year-old man named Byron Hall, Jr. met a 17-year-old single mother during an early-February college orientation, perhaps at Bitterroot College in Hamilton, which had an orientation on January 21. On February 6 the young woman invited Hall to her home, where she also had her 8-month-old baby.
The article says, he “just snapped and became extremely angry after the girl mentioned his ex-girlfriend.”
Hall strangled the woman until she passed out and then when she woke up he strangled her again until she passed out. When she woke up a second time he told her that he’d “injected her with ‘crystal meth’ and now she was ‘dirty like him,’” which referred to the Hepatitis C that he supposedly had.
At that point Hall began raping this woman and “held her prisoner in her apartment for several days.” During that time she was raped and injected with meth a “lot” of times, according to what she told police.
This is a serious violation of human rights and human decency. It’s a real sin what happened to that woman, and I can’t imagine what that 8-month-old baby must have thought. Remember, this lasted for “several days.”
I hate reading stories like this, but we’ll keep reading them unless we want to address our rape epidemic in this state. We also have a serious problem with meth and alcohol and substances in general. I’ve profiled rapes on this website before, and I’ve mentioned meth – both are things we need to talk about more.
The country will be talking about them starting in April, when author Jon Krakauer releases Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. The print run of 500,000 is a number that people like Hillary Clinton get – obviously they plan to sell a lot of copies. And to sell a lot of copies they have to do a lot of marketing. That means Krakauer and others will be on all the morning talk shows for a week or more around release date, and Montana will have a big headache to deal with.
Good. I hope it is a big headache, and I hope the people at the universities get it most of all. But we can’t blame them forever. The underlying issues that cause these rapes and this substance abuse are happening in our homes before these people even go to college. And remember, the man in this Hamilton story was 32-years-old. That brings up mental healthcare in general, an area we have numerous problems with.
Perhaps it’s that Old World stoicism, or the coldness that can creep into your bones with the weather. Maybe it’s being isolated, or dealing with the constant threat of failure that a boom and bust economy can bring. Those are all built into our foundations here in Montana. So too is our willingness to serve in the nation’s wars, and also come home and not talk about it afterward. That creates a situation where moms have to bring up children emotionally, and sometimes they just grow detached. It’s hard not to do when your husband is that way.
So we have a tradition of having a lot of detached people walking around, detached from their emotions and detached from each other. Sometimes people can’t be emotional until alcohol and other drugs are involved. Sometimes…I dunno – I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I sure hope we start asking them.
The country is going to be looking at us soon. More importantly, we have serious crimes happening, like with this woman in Hamilton. This has to stop, and I’m not sure how to do it. A governor’s advisory board, a university panel? I suppose those are attempts, but I don’t think they get at the underlying problem.
Hopefully we can try to figure these things out, and soon. I don’t want to read anymore stories in the paper like this.