On July 19, 2009, a woman slept beside her girlfriend Teresa Butz at their home in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle. It would be their last night together.
That night, Isaiah Kalebu would come in through their window and rape and stab them. Butz would not survive. The other woman would live and she would go on to testify at the trial of Kalebu, who was found guilty of murder in July, two years after the incident.
Reporter Eli Sanders, writing for the Seattle Stranger, would call her “the bravest woman in Seattle” as she testified before a jury about her rape and her lover’s slaying. She asked Sanders not to use her name in the article. Sanders and other media outlets agreed, calling her only Butz’s partner.
Now, days before Kalebu will be sentenced for her partner’s murder, that woman has decided to come forward on her own and identify herself — she is Jennifer Hopper — and write a moving essay in the Stranger about her experience:
“Yes. This happened. This happened and Teresa is gone. This happened and I somehow made it to the other side. It's a very strange place to be, but there's this nice bridging that occurs by sharing the then and the now, and sharing it right now, here in public. It's almost as if the Jen of today gets to say to the Jen of July 19, 2009, ‘I'm so sorry this happened.’ ”
It’s an incredible personal statement, strong and proud and very, very brave. Go read the whole thing here.