Home Stories Community Print Kits Media Response  

Here is an example of what we believe to be appropriate media representation. As you can see in the excerpt below, Ms. Preston compassionately recounts the details of Ms. Hamís trial, with an emphasis not on sentimentality, but on the powerful emotional effects of rape. Her coverage of the case emphasizes Ms. Hamís courage in openly testifying and offers a venue for Ms. Hamís direct words to impact the public. We congratulate both Ms. Ham on her bravery and Ms. Preston on her integrity.

Excerpts from “32 Years Later, Rape Victim Confronts Attack Suspect in Court Again”
By Julia Preston,
New York Times, November 4, 2005

Her testimony began with silence, and for a long moment she appeared overwhelmed with pain.

In a Manhattan courtroom yesterday, Kathleen Ham, a 58-year-old lawyer living in California, got a second chance to testify against a man accused of raping her 32 years ago, a moment she had both anticipated and dreaded…

She recalled how on June 26, 1973, she had been staying for a few days at a friend's apartment at 317 West 21st Street. She was awakened in the last hours of the night by an unseasonable chill and a light on the fire escape. She saw a man in tan shoes in the frame of the window.

She immediately screamed, she testified. "There was a huge fight," Ms. Ham said, as the man pushed her down onto the narrow daybed where she had been sleeping and covered her face with the sheet.

"He had a knife and he used it on me," she said.

She admitted that she did not remember all the details of the rape because, she said, she blanked them out at the time.

"You just have to remove your mind from everything that's happening to you," she said. "You just can't be there."

Manhattan prosecutors who are trying Fletcher A. Worrell, 59, in State Supreme Court are armed with powerful evidence they did not have at his first trial in 1974: a DNA analysis of semen found in Ms. Ham's underwear that they say is a scientifically perfect match with Mr. Worrell's…

DNA has also pointed to Mr. Worrell as a suspect in at least 24 other rapes in Maryland and New Jersey…

Although the names of rape victims are not customarily published, Ms. Ham has insisted that her name be included in accounts of the trial, saying she is not ashamed to be a victim of rape. In comments before the trial, Ms. Ham said it was agonizing for her to testify again…

At the end of her testimony, Ms. Ham described the impact of the crime on her life. "I haven't had a good night's sleep in 32 years," she said. "I had to leave New York, which I loved, because I was frightened. I had my life stolen from me."