"SAVAGE SHADOWS: Eileen Ross's True Story of Blindness, Rape and Courage" by Eileen Ross

"SAVAGE SHADOWS: Eileen Ross's True Story of Blindness, Rape and Courage"

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Part true-life drama, part police procedural, this memoir of a blind woman fighting to bring her rapist to justice succeeds as neither one nor the other. Ross, a legally blind (but partially sighted) young woman who worked as a medical transcriber and lived on Manhattan's Upper East Side, was assaulted one hot summer night by a man who broke into her first-floor apartment, bludgeoned her two dogs, struck her on the head, ordered her to cook breakfast for him, and finally raped her twice. Coolheaded and enraged even in the midst of her terror, Ross was determined to trap the man and managed to get his fingerprints on a glass. After his departure, her ordeal was compounded, she says, by the inept and callous treatment of the NYPD Sex Crimes Squad and the coldness of the hospital personnel who collected evidence of the rape. Outraged and determined not to act like a victim, Ross had a friend call the news media. She then gave an interview to New York's ABC local-news affiliate on the sidewalk outside the hospital: wrapped in a sheet from the examining table, she told of the brutal rape and urged that the criminal be brought to justice. The Brooklyn Sex Crimes Squad saw the telecast, recognized the M.O. of a suspect they'd been tracking in their borough, and contacted Ross. With the help of the fingerprints she had secured, they were able to identify the man as a repeat offender and to arrest him. Ross comes across as a brave woman, but her characterizations have little depth or complexity, and the pursuit, arrest, trial, and conviction of the rapist proceed with so few hitches that there's little suspense. Still, victims of sexual assault may find inspiration in Ross's example.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1992
Page count: 300pp
Publisher: New Horizon