Taylor Hirth “Perfect Victim” Chases Justice

Taylor Hirth and I are curled up on a leather couch at the home of her friend in Kansas City, Missouri. It is late afternoon, and the only light in the room is from the television playing a tape of Taylor, now 31, sitting in a police interview room. I watch her as she scrutinizes […]

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Shaming and Failing

How a Bungled Police Investigation Led to a Possible Rape Victim’s Shaming One sexual-assault kit. Clothing — underwear, dress pants, sport jacket, white shirt and shoes. Four vials of blood. One container of urine. Photos of bruises and abrasions on the woman’s body. Dried secretions, soil and debris, suspected semen and saliva. Matted hair cuttings. […]

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  My first night in Louisville, Jim showed me his guns. The born-and-bred Kentucky boy stores them in a hulking safe with a keypad lock, hidden inside a walk-in closet. Over 5 feet tall and almost 4 feet wide, it easily holds Jim’s collection of pistols, rifles and handguns, with room to spare. Lining the […]

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Sex Ed Without Condoms? Welcome to Mississippi Last fall I sat at friend’s dining table in Jackson, Mississippi, talking with people about sex, politics and religion. These subjects are rarely mentioned individually in polite Southern company — the idea of discussing them all at the same time took on an air of scandal. As it […]

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The daily tally of prisoners in Yaoundé Central Prison, on the outskirts of Yaoundé, Cameroon, is on a chalkboard the size of a Ping-Pong table affixed to the wall. Today there are 4,113. The prison administrator—we started calling him “the Governor”—tracks the inmates. This one is in the hospital, that one is being transferred, another […]

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