The most drastic change to a person indeed can happen after escaping death. To be more precise, if one fully realizes that one could have died in a particular situation but did not due to some exceptional circumstances or individual luckiness. True crimes can instantly alternate a personality in various ways: one can acquire severe depression, and another might realize that there is not much time left to live life to the fullest. Sometimes, victims may dedicate their lives to doing anything in their powers to avert the possibility of the same situation happening to others or even imposing safety measures to prevent the crimes beforehand.
To begin with, Vanessa Veselka, the victim of truck stop killer, Robert Ben Rhoades, has managed to escape her literal death. When she was a young girl of the age of 15, she started the journey trip with a stranger from Portland, who tried to kill her on the way. After the escape, she did not tell anyone about what had happened to her that day in the car with Rhoades. As it turned out later, a man was a serial killer who raped the little girls and then shot them.
After the accident, she set an active position in society and started dealing with everyday problems for the female gender. For instance, she opted for battling indifference towards the females and the social invisibility that seems to follow them daily. It appears that she felt obliged to address the issue of women not being heard when it comes to crimes, stereotypes, and discrimination. Vanessa Veselka was fighting for females rights of being equal in every aspect of their lives with men. Therefore, she wanted to defend the little girls from the same fate and crimes that she once experienced in her life by proving the female genders rights.
In addition, her effort seems to be not only about others well-being but about hers too. The feeling of powerlessness traumatized her enough to become a political activist, “I’ve had a lot of self-condemnation over the years to do enough in terms of activism or a variety of group political actions, or as a union organizer. I found that I was very good at it and very traumatized by it. I was always faced to face with total futility and powerlessness.” (Veselka). Vanessa Veselka was afraid of what could happen to her every time she accomplished something in the activist part of her life, “I was never somebody who could celebrate the victories because I always felt that the large shoe of capitalism was coming down on you, whether now or a year from now or twenty years from now, it doesn’t matter. The machine is well-funded, and you are tired.” (Veselka). Generally speaking, she has always felt the powerlessness of her voice and never held a realization of how strong and valuable it was to society to fight gender stereotypes and inequality.
Later, her beliefs she started to put in the novel called Zazen, which was full of gender stereotypes criticism. For instance, most readers did not realize Veselkas inclinations toward the gender problems evident even in the literary works, “It was at first surprising to me that people were like, “Wow, Della’s really unlikeable.” We’re still in a very gendered process in terms of what likable and unlikeable is. We’re still dealing with not as much variety as I’d like to see in female characters.” (Veselka). The character of Della portrayed Vanessa Veselka in many ways, she “had this idea that she hasn’t given her consent to the world to be the way it is, and because of that, she’s negotiating whether she’s in or out” (Veselka). Veselka has struggled with the same question for a long time, but her opinion changed instantly once the book was released.
Her initial thoughts about Zazen were that people would not be interested enough to read it or share their emotions with the author, Vanessa Veselka. She was shocked by the number of people who shared the same interests and beliefs as she did, “It showed me how many people are struggling with that same question. And that changed my orientation and alienation. I felt really humbled because I had accidentally tripped over something that could actually mean something to somebody.” (Veselka). Vanessa Veselka aims to work out her problems by writing the characters and looking for the solution in the story. She presents her insecurities or issues related to female rights, which are obstacles to womens wellbeing, to the readers and criticizes them for proving that they should be dealt with immediately.
Veselkas social invisibility that followed her for a few years while writing the book has had a glorious impact on her literary career. However, the author claims that such a form of freedom is not for everyone, and every single female voice in this world should be heard if there are some minor problems or severe ones. Veselka actively defends womens rights and criticizes the difficulties of inequality with men in her numerous novels and even songs. She is opposed to gender stereotypes and seems to put the most effort into revealing her true feelings regarding crimes towards women and specifically young girls. Veselkas principal aim is to be heard by society to follow her flow of thoughts and identify the problem she is so furious about from an early age.
Furthermore, she shares a different perspective on the so-called dystopian narratives and battles social indifference and injustice images familiar in modern literature. The author claims that it is significant to review the whole meaning of utopias, “I think that there is this sense that needing to navigate those social utopias gone wrong, brings in the question of who survives? There is a different pressure in the narrative for women to survive. They are breeders. When a woman survives, it has a different meaning, just at the basic level than if a man survives.” (Veselka). Veselka is a part of a group of female feminist writers who share the same activist aims in their literary works.
To sum up, Vanessa Veselkas story proves that true crime can genuinely change a person. The mere realization of death escape is enough to review the previous beliefs, interests, and political views. Therefore, after experiencing the threats of a male with a knife, Veselka, at 15 years, has become a survivor. After the accident, she started to defend female rights actively and fight against injustice and gender inequality that follow women step by step. The thing that traumatized Veselka the most at a young age kept her going through the challenges on her path. To express her thoughts and beliefs, Veselka opted for writing novels, which contained female characters similar to the author. She always wanted to figure everything out, and writing helped her show society the actual problems that should be battled and immediately. Vanessa Veselka transformed her negative experience into the force to battle indifference and social invisibility that is, unfortunately, common for females in the modern world.
Veselka, Vanessa. Interviewed by Melissa Seley. GUERNICA, 2012. Web.