At any moment, your life can change. In any instant you could find yourself walking down a different path than you started down. You would never know it, but the simplest form of literacy could make the world of difference in your life. Writing, believe it or not, is a constant in your everyday life. Whether making a grocery list, composing an email, or simply doing your homework, there is no escape from writing. In my case, however, writing came to be my only salvation for justice.
On a seemingly normal, stress-free, fall day, I found myself walking through The Village of Rochester Hills. It goes without saying that writing was one of the last things on my mind as I was shopping. However, as things seem to do, my priorities were about to drastically change. As I was attacked by three teenage boys, my world began to spin. I was knocked out by one single blow to the side of my face. As I opened my eyes I saw the boys leaving me on the pavement of the parking lot. After a moment, I realized that my purse and all of my belongings had been taken.
There and then was when I realized how important writing can really be. I instantly ran into the closest store and began writing down all I could recall about the incident. Filling the paper with descriptions of the boys’ clothes, hair, faces, the van they left in, and even their voices, I wracked my brain for all the information I had. Eventually, the Oakland County Sherriff came to the scene of the crime. Within the time it had taken them to reach me, I had already begun to go into a form of shock, causing me to forget details and important factors of the incident.
My small gesture of literacy had been the key to finding justice in this situation. After the police had calmed down and taken me to the station, my next writing adventure began. It might not be obvious, but filling out police reports and giving detailed descriptions to a sketch artist involves many literary techniques. I can honestly say my encounter with writing was the most meticulous, painstaking, in depth paper I have ever written. Needless to say, my literary work provoked many reactions. After reading the entire report, most were angry: Angry that this sort of situation could happen to anyone.
Some were sympathetic, offering hopes of catching the three boys with the help of my descriptions. I, on the other hand, read through my report over and over again, feeling worse and worse about the situation. Days later, the police were able to link my case with three others. The three other girls who had been put in similar situations, however, were unable to give as much detail as I was. In a sense, my ability to understand the grave importance of writing was able to help three complete strangers come closer to catching the three boys who stole their feeling of safety and self confidence.
For as little as the average person considers literacy to be a part of their lives, I have personally found it to be one of life’s most valuable privileges. A single act of writing led me closer to a sense of justice and closure in a moment between shock and sanity. This encounter with writing has changed my outlook on many things. The most important, however, is that I feel grateful for all the teachers that have taught me how to write because without them, I may not have been able to rise above the situation.
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