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Friday, August 5, 2011

From "She's Not There" by Marla Madison

She's Not ThereAfter her class in abuse prevention, Lisa Rayburn, a clinical psychologist, is approached by a young woman she doesn’t know...

 In a voice barely above a whisper, she said, ”My name is Jennifer Hansen. I’m gathering statistics for my thesis on abused women. I need to talk to you.”

Lisa motioned her to the student desks. The girl appeared upset, frightened even, her pale hands tightly clenching the folder. When they were seated, Jennifer handed Lisa a sheet of paper. “I wanted you to see this.”

Lisa scanned the page, her eyes stopping on a line highlighted in fluorescent yellow. It revealed a dramatic rise in the percentage of abused women who’d gone missing in Milwaukee and its neighboring counties.

The line seemed to levitate from the paper—the number far too high to be a statistical aberration. If accurate, what was happening? A predator—targeting abused women? There had to be another explanation.

Her eyes could not leave the number. Lisa whispered, “Abused women were the topic of my dissertation too.”

“I know. I read it. I thought you’d know what I should do.” Jennifer’s honey-brown eyes looked to Lisa for guidance. “What’s happening to them?”

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