This feature first appeared in The Indiana Daily Student.
BLOOMINGTON, IN--When the phone rang, Dana Jones was at his desk at the mission. The caller was from Indiana parole.
“Do you take murderers?” the man asked, off-hand.
“Yes,” Jones said. “We have before.”
Jones often worked with parole officials. He’s a director at Backstreet Missions, a Bloomington shelter for the poor and homeless. It also helps parolees. Sometimes, parolees struggle with bitterness and have forgotten how to relate to other people. Backstreet uses scripture to teach them forgiveness and patience. In the stairwell outside Jones’ office, a painting of Jesus hangs on the wall.
The caller from parole didn’t talk with Jones about any specific parolees who needed placement, murderers or otherwise. The two talked about Backstreet’s programs, then hung up.
Two weeks later, a chaplain told Jones some of the men at the mission were worried. They’d read a front-page article in the Herald-Times about a man who had been convicted of murdering a local woman in 1986. The man was being released from prison and returned to Bloomington at the end of the week.
Jones read the man’s name, Robert Evan Lee. He read details of the crime for which Lee been locked away. And he read that parole officials were likely to bring Lee to Backstreet.
This feature first appeared in The New York Times SportsSunday section.
DAVENPORT, Fla. — Chie Arimura, a 25-year-old professional golfer from Japan, sat alone at a table for six in her rented home, her back so straight that her shoulders jutted out. Her fingernails, painted dark pink with sparkly gold on the ring fingers, clicked against the ceramic dishes as she set out a bowl of romaine and ham and a plate of fried salmon.
Arimura’s 2,400-square-foot, three-bedroom condominium, her base between stops on the L.P.G.A. Tour, is in a gated golfing community with street names like Legends and Masters. More than once, she has reminded her coach that the other two bedrooms are open to any students who need them.
“I’m very lonely in here,” she said.
“If I hear a sound,” she added, looking toward the garage, “it’s very scary.”
Like many Asian golfers on the L.P.G.A. Tour, Arimura came to the United States with little grasp of English and few friends. Many players, especially those from South Korea, come with relatives who have invested their lives in the players’ success. Arimura came alone.
But Arimura is hardly alone in the challenges she is facing in the United States. A surge of Asian golfers to the American tour in the last 15 years has transformed the sport, causing athletes and officials to grapple with questions about immigration and race as much as competition.
Arimura was not half finished with her food when she cleared the dishes and headed to her bedroom to change. Her English class was in half an hour, and she was probably going to be late. She is late to everything.
“I just want to make a friend more,” she said. Seeming nervous, she laughed. She is self-conscious about her English grammar. “It’s really difficult for us, because we don’t get out often.”
Photo credit: Brett Carlsen for The New York Times
Photo credit: Brett Carlsen for The New York Times.
I covered a sexual assault trial, and a survivor's story, while studying abroad in India.
NEW DELHI, India — Across town from the district courthouse, employees of Ambedkar University’s Center for Community Knowledge argued about India’s most infamous trial.
“The defense lawyers are saying, ‘well, you know, she was out late,’” said Ranjani Prasad, 24, gesturing with her hands and clearly irritated.
Her co-worker, 26-year-old Anoushka Mathews, nodded thoughtfully and crossed her arms. “It might actually work,” she said. “The judge might listen to that.”
On trial are four of the six men accused of gang raping a young woman on a New Delhi bus in December, a crime that made headlines around the world and forced a typically uninterested Indian judicial system to take action.
HYDERABAD, India--The teenager had run away from home. Her father was a heavy drinker who beat her, her mother and her siblings. She was tired of it. Carrying a bag filled with clothes and silver anklets to sell, she boarded a train destined for Hyderabad, one of India’s largest cities.
Her excitement withered as she stepped onto the cement platform. The crowds pressed closer. She was scared, and she told herself she belonged at home with her family. She resolved to catch the first train going back and scurried to the information desk near the station’s main entrance. She asked a man behind a thick glass window how to go home, and he told her the next train to her village would leave around 3:30 p.m.
That was five hours away. She turned away from the window, and a handsome, well-dressed young man approached. He spoke Telugu, her first language. Hindi and English are India’s official languages, but most Indians learn languages native to their home state first, then tack on more if they are able to go to school.
The man told her there was no need to wait in the hot, crowded station. He lived nearby, and she could stay with him for a few hours. He promised to bring her back in time for her train. Charmed, she agreed, and they left together in a rickshaw bound for his two-room house. At the time, she was 18 or 19, she isn’t sure.
Once indoors, the man locked Akshaya in a back room. He and his friends raped her.
Any IU freshman who has experienced both fear and elation arriving for the first time in Bloomington has felt echoes of Akshaya’s account. But the lives of IU freshmen unfold in a familiar pattern of classes, tests and career planning. Akshaya entered her new life with nothing but her clothes and a handful of dreams, which were shattered by the smooth-talking stranger.
For the next several months, two or three men raped her each day. Afraid she would run away, they would not let her leave the house. They finally let her outside after those first few months, but only so she could start earning money for them. They told her she would become a prostitute. She said no and begged them to let her go home, so they beat her.
When she wasn’t meeting customers, Akshaya was kept locked in the room with no phone. She had to ask for a drink of water or to use the toilet. She tried to run away two or three times, she can’t really remember. Each time, the man or his friends would wait at the bus and train stations nearby. They dragged her back and beat her with belts, leaving lumpy bruises and slicing into her skin. She gave up.
To American readers, Akshaya's story is horrific. In India, social workers say it is wretchedly common.
I was the managing editor of Modern Counsel, a trade magazine for attorneys, when we featured NFL attorney Anastasia Danias. I assigned and managed her feature and worked with our designer and photo editor to create this cover.