A Monster is Dead: An Epidemic Continues

A Monster is Dead: An Epidemic Continues

By Sheryl McAlister

When the news of Jeffrey Epstein’s death appeared in this morning’s New York Times news feed, I was at first elated. The kind of instant gratification you might experience if your team just hit the winning shot with no time remaining on the clock.

Unlike that feeling, however, the elation quickly passed and found its way to extreme sadness for the trail of destruction and violence he left behind. And to anger at him for taking the coward’s way out, never having to pay for – in this life anyway – the unspeakable horrors he is accused of inflicting on so many young girls for so long.

Epstein was charged with sex trafficking young girls, and apparently people knew it for decades. I’m sick of these people. I’m also relieved he can no longer try to run away from the damage he’s done.

Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide, according to the International Labor Organization. Capitalism doesn’t always collide with integrity or doing the right thing.

I try to learn from the stories of those individuals who have survived against all odds.  I read the news reports and watch the documentaries even though I’d rather look away. We have to pay attention to what we see and question if we see something that seems, well, not as it should be. I want to learn what to look for, how kids were recruited, where and how they were taken. So maybe, just maybe, I can help someone.

There was a girl…. And to this day, I wonder.

We were on Highway 21 on the way to St. Helena Island, SC, and stopped by a roadside vegetable business to pick up some good local produce for the weekend. We had stopped there many times before. The produce and flowers were in the front part of a much larger building. The man who ran the place was creepy. His creepiness was in stark contrast to the healthy, colorful summer offerings. But I didn’t give it much thought as I shopped for tomatoes, watermelon and other goodies.

This particular time, I wandered into the side room of the building – mostly because I was curious. I had seen the room before, but had never walked over there because it wasn’t clear if the folks running the place also lived there. Doors lined the left side of the large vacant room and had always been closed. Always. Except this day. One door was open. Inside the dark room was a girl sitting on a small bed. She was staring. At me? At the empty room? I gave a self-conscious wave, smiled and said hi. I was a little embarrassed that I had interrupted her.

She didn’t move. She didn’t speak. She didn’t smile. She didn’t turn the light on. She didn’t close the door. She didn’t come out into the bright, sunny Saturday. She just sat there. She looked to be about 12 or 13 years old. Definitely a young teenager. She wore shorts and a t-shirt on her small frame. Her light brown hair was about shoulder length. She sat on the side of the bed with her shoulders slumped.

That was 17 years ago. The memory of her haunts me still.

What did I see? Who was she? Why was she sitting alone in that dark room? Was it my business? I think it should have been. At a minimum, what hurt could it have caused to call police to check it out? But in 2002, we didn’t know what we know now about this horrific business of buying and selling human beings.

We went back the next day because the watermelon we purchased was rotten. The creepy man said he didn’t care. So we left. The next summer, there was no sign of the business or the man who ran it. They never came back.

What did I see? Was the rotten produce an omen? What I do know is that I didn’t do anything to help the girl I saw. And every single time another one of these monsters is arrested or another girl is taken or found, I think of her. So I pay attention now. I listen to those survivors who have something to teach us.

For all his money and influence, at least Epstein won’t hurt anyone else, even though his victims were denied their day in court. I, for one, am glad he’s dead.

 Copyright 2019. Sheryl McAlister

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14 Comments

  1. Georgialee Hallman August 10, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Your blog is a powerful statement that demands us all to be vigilant. Powerful rich men can and do get away with this crime against humanity, for as someone famously said, women’s rights are human rights.

    I do wonder, given how many high profile men may have attended Epsteins Orgy Island, if Epstein’s death is truly a suicide. Afterall, he was under a suicide watch at the time.

    Reply

    1. Georgia, your words always ring true.

      Reply

  2. Sheryl, I had a similar encounter. One day while leaving the lake for an appointment, I saw a young girl, 10-12 yrs old, sitting on the hood of a car next door. I waved & smiled, no response, she did not move.

    The guy who bought that little house a few years ago was strange & creepy. I had stopped to introduce myself. I had waved. But he kept to himself. He had a niece & nephew 6 & 8, I guessed. He kept them often. His wife lived in town & was there some week-ends. My gut told me that something bad was happening there. My gut told me to call the Sheriff. Thankfully, someone did but it was too late for many children.

    He was arrested .shortly after I had seen the young girl. He is in jail & for 3 years awaiting trial for over 15 counts of child molestation, child pornography & worse.

    Listen to your Gut!

    Gayzee

    Reply

  3. It is 97 degrees and I am chilled! He was a monster and Bill Clinton was a cohort Check him out. and others too. I hope they seize his bank account for victims. AG Barr is appalled but I feel he can’t hurt any more children, so good riddance.

    excellent blog today! thanx

    Reply

  4. Great articleSherry,
    I am 100% with you and glad this despicable man is no longer able to touch another girl. Hopefully every man who frequented his place will be publicized and tried for their horrible sins. It is better to report something to the authorities and let them find out what is going on, even it is not what it appears. Thank you for your article.
    Sarah

    Reply

    1. Thanks for writing in, Sarah.

      Reply

  5. As descendants of persons who bought and sold other persons (and in some cases were related to the bought and the sold), we would do well to remember that we, too, are guilty of horrible violence in that we continue to profit from generations who trafficked in human beings.

    Evil is not something of which only monsters are guilty. Let’s hate evil rather than dehumanizing others.By acknowledging our on evil we can begin to help the victims (theirs and ours).The first step to justice is mercy.
    Love to all!

    Reply

    1. Well said, Anne, as always.

      Reply

  6. Carole A. Crolley August 11, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Tales about very rich men, a beautiful island with all the amenities of the rich, powerful politicians who knew, participated, it is too horrifying to believe. “He liked young girls.” It makes me want to vomit.

    I once spent a lot of time trying to figure out how men, women, priests, Presidents, doctors, fathers, brothers — how could they treat little girls that way, young boys, women. Why? What made a seemingly normal looking and acting man or woman a rapist, a pedophile? I was wasting my time.

    Now, I focus on the victims, the survivors. And I believe them always. Rarely, do these stories turn out to be lies. Because this kind of abuse is right out there in the open these days, in the news every day, because survivors are telling their stories, because they are unafraid and brave, they no longer have to feel ashamed. They are the heroes and this is a new era.

    So, Sherry, you are so right. We must believe them; we must listen to their stories even if we cannot stand to hear it one more time.

    And our laws must not set them free.

    Reply

  7. Another impactful article, my friend. I had a similar reaction to yours when I heard the report of his death on NPR. I was driving and halfway listening to the radio and suddenly what I thought I heard sank in. And I felt a horrible sadness – not that he was dead, but that by that act of cowardice he would not have to face his many victims. My eyes filled with tears and I, alone in my car, called him every ugly name I could possibly conjure up. My faith tells me that although he may not face a trial on earth, he will certainly be judged by a mightier Judge; and he shall spend eternity paying for the lives he ruined. And yet, somehow, it doesn’t seem enough. The thought that he was able to inflict one more evil act on so many little girls and women whose day in court was stolen just like he stole their innocence and their dignity continues to haunt me. And somehow, I wish I could bring him back to pay for his crimes here before he is taken to his final burning place.

    Reply

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