Ok, I can see that this forum has changed a lot since I last posted here. So, I will try to just start a thread, rather than go through each of the existing ones trying to do this little bit. Most of you don't know me & probably weren't around when I posted last. I can see I have stepped on some toes since coming back, but I hope you will allow me to let you see where I am coming from, and why I am so adamant that the FACTS be used, sparse as they are, rather than just bad feelings and vague ideas of how a mother *should* act in the public eye after an abduction. My interest in crime came early and unfortunately. My mother was raped by a nineteen year old who came to our door, asking to borrow the phone. He was young & looked harmless, it was early in the morning, when most people were leaving for work. In fact, we would find out later he had helped build out house, and had been watching our family from the roof of another house on which he was working construction. That's how he knew when my father left for work, that my father never came home before six and that's how he knew my mother had a small - four year old daughter, me - and that she was therefore going to be easier to manipulate. He was right about that I won't go into the details, but it was as gruesome as you'd expect, and both our lives were threatened throughout the ordeal. When the police finally showed up, hours later, that's when the rumors started. No one believed my mother's version of events, because "things like that don't happen in broad daylight in nice neighborhoods." So, the rumor started that my mother had been having an affair and had been caught with her young lover, so she'd made up the rape story. We endured that rumor for months before the guy was caught after having raped four more women with small children, same MO, only he'd moved from using a knife to a gun to the child's head. The facts the rapist knew about our family from watching us for weeks were used against my mother as evidence that she knew the guy. For example, it was said that she had obviously been the one to tell him what time her husband left for work every morning, since he showed up only five minutes after my father had left. Even people who allowed that, ok, maybe my mom had been raped still said it was ALL her fault for having opened her door to the guy in the first place. Just because he was small & looked innocent, she should have somehow known it was carrying a concealed weapon. She was just as much as fault as the rapist for her own stupidity. My mom put on a brave front, but what these lovely people didn't realize was my mom DID spend hours crying, sobbing, over & over, saying "Why did I open the door, why did I open the door?" Anyway Mr Innocent Looking Rapist's defense was that he had a girlfriend, so he didn't need to rape. That almost got him freed, since that nonsense excuse actually held water back in 1969. In fact, one of the cops at the trial told my mother the only way to convict a rapist was if he'd raped, bruised, and impregnated a nun. Even then, he said they needed a witness. So, really long story kind of shortened, he was finally convicted because one of the other children was old enough and graphic enough in his descriptions that the jury decided maybe this guy was a rapist. But it took four women AND their children to convince a jury that all these women weren't lying and/or weren't somehow at fault for their own rapes. I am sorry, but so much of what I read on the internet about the McCanns right now seems similar, based on almost no evidence. Until there is more evidence, so much of this looks like more blame-the-victim because she's did something stupid. Yes - she DID do something horribly stupid, just as my mother did by letting a strange man put his foot in her doorway long enough to push it open. But this still doesn't mean they weren't also victims and it still doesn't mean they don't deserve empathy. I'm shocked that this even has to be said so many years later. And no, this also doesn't mean that maybe the McCanns didn't kill their child. But until there's some real evidence, please ask yourselves why so much hatred is REALLY being directed at these people. Shrinky P.S. Please don't write to me saying that my personal experiences have determined my stance as if that is reason to discount tham. Of course they have affected me. All people's experiences do. Living through something like that is not something I would wish on my worst enemy, so yes, it made a lasting impression.