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Nameless Indignities: Unraveling the Mystery of One of Illinois's Most…
by Susan Elmore
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When young schoolteacher Emma Bond was brutally gang-raped and left for dead in her country schoolhouse near Taylorville, Illinois in June 1882, an enduring mystery was born. Although she survived, her recovery was hindered by hysteria, amnesia, and some unusual physical complications. The story was covered by newspapers across the land, but some of the wounds inflicted upon the victim were so appalling that the press refused to print the ugliest details, referring to them only as "nameless indignities." Eighteen months went by before three of the six suspects were brought to trial. After the verdict, however, the public's unwavering support for the victim began to fade amid persistent theories and rumors that she had lied and that no crime had been committed. At the time, educators, editors, politicians, lawyers, and doctors eagerly weighed in on the case and its ramifications. But with Victorian doctors unable to agree on anything of a physical or a psychological nature, Emma's life went into a tailspin from which she never recovered.