WFAE’s “She Says” podcast is one of the most-listened-to podcasts in the country this week. It tells the story of a Charlotte woman’s three-year search for justice after she was sexually assaulted.
On this edition of the CharlotteFive Podcast, “She Says” producer Joni Deutsch, investigative reporter Sarah Delia and reporter Alex Olgin join Sean and Sallie to talk about the case, how the podcast came together, CMPD’s response to sexual assault victims and the attention the podcast has received.
Can you guys give us a brief description of what the “She Says” podcast is about?
“‘She Says’ is about a woman, who we named ‘Linda’ for the podcast, kind of what life is like for her after her sexual assault in 2015. And what does she have to do as a sexual assault survivor to navigate the criminal justice system? So that has to do with undergoing a sexual assault exam to navigating a relationship with a CMPD detective that has been assigned to her case, to how does DNA work and how does that affect her case? She has a stranger case where the person that assaulted her was unknown to her. How is DNA more important in those types of cases or is it not, compared to people that are assaulted by someone that you know? We wanted to follow Linda’s journey as she’s had these really big questions about how her case was investigated. But we also wanted to look at, how do all these different agencies like the police, like the hospital, like the crime labs, how do they work together, and do they work well, and where do they work not as well?” -Sarah Delia
Do you feel like the city of Charlotte, the police, the government, etc. handle sexual assault cases well?
“I can speak to Linda’s case and some other people that have been in touch with us. I think there’s room for improvement. I think that’s probably the best way to say that.” -Sarah Delia
In an ideal world, what do you hope people take away from this podcast?
“I hope that people think twice before they judge someone for being sexually assaulted, or maybe quote unquote, ‘putting themselves in a position’, or maybe how they talk to someone post decision, whether that’s the police, whether that’s the district attorney, the defense attorney, a friend. One thing that Sarah says on the podcast is a lot of times you don’t realize that you know someone that’s a victim. So maybe people can just be a little more careful about how they bring things up because the average person can’t solve her case but more sensitivity to it can be helpful. That’s one thing I’ve learned working on this. I’ve definitely sort of refrained how I would say certain things in the future.” -Alex Olgin
Episode 1: THE WINDING ROAD
This first episode explores what happened to Linda the night she was attacked and the questions she has. Who was the perpetrator? When will the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) find him? What, if anything, can Linda do to help move her case forward?
Episode 2: RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME
In the case of a sexual assault, the crime scene is the body. SANE nurses describe how they interact with patients and evidence in sexual assault cases. Linda recounts her experience with SANE nurses.
Episode 3: IT’S (NOT) HIM
Two years following the assault with virtually no headway on the case, Linda meets with CMPD and is told the person she has identified is not her assailant, leaving her distressed and confused. However, it turns out that it’s more complicated than that.
Episode 4: Will be live June 21.
Follow the conversation with the hashtag #WFAESheSays (across all platforms), on Twitter at @WFAE, on Facebook at @WFAERadio, on Instagram at @WFAEPublic Radio, on Sarah’s Twitter at @SarahWFAE, on Joni’s social channels at @achangeoftune and on Alex’s Twitter at @AlexOlgin.
The CharlotteFive Podcast — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast that aims to get you Charlotte Smart, Fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s co-hosted by Sean Clark-Weis and Sallie Funderburk and is a production of the Charlotte Observer and Brian Baltosiewich.