Oprah Talks to the Central Park Jogger
Oprah: What do you remember about the hours leading up to the attack?
Central Park Jogger: I remember a conversation I'd had at about five that evening. I'd planned dinner with a friend, but I just had too much work and I said, "You know what? I just can't do it."
Oprah: So you don't remember suiting up to go to the park or putting on your shoes?
Central Park Jogger: Nothing. I was probably in the office for another three hours and I don't remember any of it. I guess later that evening a friend from work who was sitting at the next cubicle told me he was interested in buying a new stereo. I'd just bought one, so I said, "Why don't you come by my apartment and look at mine?" I don't remember this—I was just told about it. When he didn't find me at home, he called. Months later, after I was in recovery, I got his message on my answering machine. He said something like "You know, people just keep standing me up! I hope you're okay." The next morning at work when he noticed I wasn't there, he knew something was wrong.
Oprah: When I first heard about you, I thought, "Why were you running alone in Central Park at night?"
Central Park Jogger: You're not the first person to say that. For me, running was a release at the end of the day, and I had this feeling that, "Hey, I have every right to run where I want, when I want." I'd been running in the park for two years. It was not a smart thing to do. And yet that is absolutely no justification for what happened to me.
Oprah: And believe me, I'm not sitting here trying to justify it. But the idea of running alone in Central Park is a foreign concept to me. You had to be the kind of person who either thought you were invincible or who was just nuts.
Central Park Jogger: I wouldn't say I was nuts, but maybe I thought I was invincible.
Oprah: So you aren't the kind of woman who always looks over your shoulder in a dark parking lot?
Central Park Jogger: I wasn't that kind of woman. I'm more that way now. After what happened, I would see people running in Central Park at night with their headphones on, and I'd want to shake them and say, "What are you doing?"
Oprah: God is gracious in that you don't have any memory of the boys who attacked you or the brutal assault.
Central Park Jogger: Right. I'm also thankful I don't have any memory of the six weeks after the attack.
Oprah: Weren't you conscious after 12 days?
Central Park Jogger: Yes, but with a coma you come out gradually. It's not like you suddenly wake up and start having articulate conversations.