Tuesday, November 9, 2010

For the Quiet Girls

For the Quiet Girls 

     Elizabeth Smart was a quiet 14-year-old girl when she was abducted from
her bedroom in June of 2002. Now 23, she is testifying this week at the trial
of the man who abducted, raped, brainwashed, and terrified her for nearly 10
     As I read through the transcript of the trial, I was horrified at the depravity
and cruelty she endured. But I was deeply moved by the grace and conviction
she displayed as she responded to questioning. A crime of insanity took her
from her family but, thankfully, the watchful eye of a passing motorist allowed
Smart to be reunited with her family.
      Antinette Keller, of Plainfield, will never be reunited with her family.
Keller is the 18-year-old art student at NIU in DeKalb, Illinois who made the
mistake of taking her art supplies to a park to work on a project. While there,
Keller ran into a 34-year-old man who sexually abused her, killed her, and
then set her body on fire. The newspapers are calling it a crime of opportunity.
     Keller, like Smart, was also a quiet girl.
     Andrea Faye Will, of Batavia, died in February of 1998. She was a
freshman at Eastern Illinois University when she was strangled to death with a
phone chord by Justin "Jay" Boulay, of St. Charles, Ill. Because of a crack in
Illinois' legal system, Boulay, Will's former boyfriend, is being released from
prison on November 16 after serving only 12 years of his 24 year sentence.
While incarcerated, Boulay married another girl from Batavia, Rachel Rivers.
The two are planning on living in Hawaii, where Rachel Boulay is a professor
at the University of Hawaii.
     It is Andrea's story that hits far too close to home for me.
     I will never forget that February evening. It was just after midnight when
my son, Graham, arrived home with his girlfriend, Stephanie. I remember her
as a sweet,  quiet girl. I know now that she is much like her best friend and
cousin: Andrea.
     I will never forget the look on Graham and Stephanie's faces that night as
they stood in the darkened hallway. He did not have to tell that something was
wrong. I had heard about Andrea's death on the news. But I didn't expect my
son, then in high school, to look at me and say, "Stephanie is staying here
tonight, Mom. Her cousin Andrea was just murdered."
     Tears welling in my eyes, I simply nodded.
     And so the rules were broken that night as their adolescent forms
disappeared up the stairs. I could not hear them, but I imagined them crying
and holding each other in my son's childhood bedroom down the hall. Trying
to get some sleep before Andrea's wake the following day.
     The majority of faces inside the funeral home at Andrea Will's wake were
young. A crowd of adolescent boys hung in the back of the room, white-faced
and somber. The adolescent girls openly wept and held each other.
     Sorority sisters. Classmates. Childhood friends.
     I came with two friends. Mothers. To offer my inadequate condolences to
another mother I'd never met. To stand in line. Look into the open coffin at
the front of the room. See the lovely, lifeless body of 19-year-old Andrea
Faye Will.
     A quiet girl, with visible red marks around her neck.  

Please visit the Voices for Andrea Faye Will Facebook page for more 
updates on the worldwide candlelight vigils held in Andrea's honor on 
Tuesday, November 16. . . the day Justin Boulay was released from 
prison and left with his new wife for Hawaii. As of this posting, 3400 
people from around the country and world have joined this site to 
remember Andrea and take a stand against domestic violence. Sign
up as a member today to take a stand against the victimization and 
suffering of quiet girls like Andrea Faye Will. 


Laura Vasilion said...

From Andrea Will's sister, Jessica, via Facebook.

Jessica Will McCabe Graham and I were very close in high school and have kept in touch on and off since then. I am lucky to call him my friend. I love what you wrote. Thank you.

Laura Vasilion said...

From Jenny Hutchinson via the Voices for Andrea Faye Will Facebook page

Jenny Hutchinson this is lovely. I have tears in my eyes.

Dwiggs said...

Laura, thank you for writing this simple yet powerful piece. We raise our voices in rage against the killers, perhaps to fill the silence left by their victims. In your own quiet way, you have reminded us of the terrible silence left by those who can no longer raise their voices.

Rita Dwiggins Hoover

Laura Vasilion said...

Thank you so much, Rita. Your comments are so beautiful and eloquent. I am very touched by them.

Laura Vasilion said...

From Rita Hoover via Facebook

Rita wrote:
"I meant every word of it -- you are shining a light!"

Connie said...

I'm Andrea and Stephanie's aunt..Thank you so much for your kind words about both Andrea and Stephanie. People sometimes forget that the collateral damage caused by Andrea's death is wide and enduring. You captured the heartache perfectly...

Laura Vasilion said...

Dear Connie,

Thank you so much for responding. I did not have the honor of knowing Andrea but I heard from others how sweet, gentle, and caring she was. Much like her cousin Stephanie, people tell me. I often think of Andrea and that day in the funeral home watching my son and his friends, seeing the pain and anguish on such young faces. If I have contributed anything to Andrea's memory and helped in any way the people who loved her I am touched beyond words. Again, thank you so much for your comments, Connie.

Laura Vasilion said...

From Jan H. via e-mail.
I finally sat down with a cup of coffee, alone with your story. How sad and troubling those unrelated, yet related incidents were. How craftfully and tenderly you dealt with those horrors. How furious I am (and how shocked and angry Andrea Will's family must be!) that a murderers debt to society is so small. I'll be there in spirit on Tuesday.