Terry L. Smith Jr. of Columbus, Ohio has confessed to raping more than six women after one of his victims came forward last week. Smith met the women online and expected them not to go to the police, knowing that the shame that they felt would prevent them from taking action against him.
Shirley Koval, who agreed to share her story with The Columbus Dispatch, told the paper that she and Smith met online and that she'd gone to his house to watch movies, against her better judgment. According to Koval, when she arrived, Smith raped her and took her virginity. Then he dropped her off near her home. The Dispatch reports that Smith was expecting Koval to keep quiet about her ordeal because "he'd done much worse to other women." In fact, when police arrested him (while in the company of another woman who came forward to say that he'd raped her), Smith gave the authorities at least six other names of women that he had assaulted in the area.
Koval didn't intend to go to the police after the sexual assault, due to what the dispatch refers to a mixture of "fear, shame and self-blame." After all, Koval had hung out with Smith before (after meeting him on Plenty Of Fish) and thought he was a nice guy. Could he have really raped her? It was only when her 11-year-old sister asked her to think about what would happen if someone like Smith came after her or one of their other sisters that Koval decided to report it.
What's most upsetting about this case, aside from the horrific assaults, is the fact that Smith was expecting the police to show up at some time or another. He was surprised, in fact, that more women hadn't come forward, because he said that he'd committed assaults "more serious than this."
Rape is one of the most underreported crimes in the US and one of the reasons the women in this case may not have reported is because, according to The Dispatch, several consented to sex with Smith before quickly being overpowered by him, forced to do things they didn't agree to.
One woman, who dated Smith but decided she was uncomfortable with continuing the relationship, forgot her glasses at his home and was assaulted by him when she went to retrieve them. And what's worse is that the woman, Brittany Duckery, blamed herself for the assault and didn't think she could call the police until Smith started texting her and demanding she spend time with him or he'd kill himself. "I felt like I put myself in that situation, where it shouldn't have happened in the first place," she told The Dispatch. She also said that Smith calls what he does "a fetish."
"He's not aware of what he's doing is wrong," she [Duckery] said. "He just thinks it's something he likes to do — like role playing or something. He needs to know the difference between what he does and what he supposedly likes that doesn't involve rape."
Smith has been charged with two counts of rape and two counts of kidnapping. He is being held on $1.5 million bail. Police are asking other women to come forward.
According to The Dispatch, Koval is suffering from nightmares and anxiety. She's shocked that she's the first woman who came forward.
Image via The Columbus Dispatch