The writer on growing up with news reports of a serial rapist and killer who eluded capture for years before finally getting arrested, and how it impacted her own experience with sexual assault:

According to media reports, after Bernardo’s arrest a police officer assigned to prepare the official transcript of the footage of French’s and Mahaffy’s torture collapsed, weeping, and couldn’t continue. I had a similar reaction while reading it. The smallest details haunted me: during one prolonged assault, Bernardo took a break to rent a movie and grab a pizza, and another time Homolka cooked a chicken dinner for the couple and their victim.

The real terror was that it felt so ordinary and suburban, that the vilest acts occurred in the spaces we thought were safe. I was struck by the same sense of banality, looking at the home where Bernardo grew up.

Evil was not foreign to our idyllic community. It had been with us all along.