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Blainey rape victim breaks her silence 23 years later, advocates for sex crime victims

By JOLEEN FERRIS

Nancy Green's life changed forever on a sunny September afternoon in 1988, just a mile from her Manlius home.

"So the first thing I felt was an arm around my neck, walking on this road...when that arm went around my neck I happened to be walking near a wooded area so I got dragged back into that one chunk of woods on that road otherwise there are houses everywhere and no one happened to drive by in that second so we had the perfect storm of events in a way," says Green.

The arm that overpowered her, dragging her into the woods, belonged to serial rapist Robert Blainey, then just 22 years old. Green estimates she was in the woods for about half an hour with Blainey. She was about four weeks pregnant at the time, pleading for her unborn child's life.

"That's all I was really staying alive for and not doing anything that would not get me out of there alive," says Green.

Green keeps a tattered, 23-year-old newspaper article in her wallet about her rape. It made her feel like an invisible victim and is part of what is prompting her to break her own silence.

"A friend of mine said the other day, it sort of reads like an obituary. It's very distant, very much at an arm's length. I'm invisible, I'm nowhere, he's everywhere, his name, his age, everything about him," says Green.

It wasn't until she was cooking dinner in her kitchen in Cazenovia last month that she heard a familiar name that opened old wounds.

"I'm in my kitchen mid-week, half listening to the news, cooking dinner and I hear this story about the Utica area and this woman, this motel owner, and I'm listening and all of a sudden I hear Robert Blainey, Robert Blainey mentioned and I'm like, 'Robert Blainey???"

She ran to her wallet to check the old, tattered article and make sure it was the same man. It was, and Green knew it was time for her to begin a dialogue about eliminating the shroud of silence and secrecy that surrounds rape victims, inadvertently transferring the shame of the act to them.

"I just want to put the question on the table, how or would it be different if we showed names and faces with rape as we do with every other crime?"

Green is also willing to be as loud of a voice as state lawmakers want, putting a human face to five pieces of legislation they're trying to pass, which deal with the confinement of the most dangerous sex offenders and supervision of them once they are released.

"Now a woman's dead, raped by the same rapist so when that story came out, that's when I went into a different mode of how do you roll over? How do you say 'oh, that's too bad'? I couldn't ignore this. I didn't know how to let it go when Linda Turner was murdered. Who's going to have her voice? I know I hated not having a voice in all of this," says Green.

It took work, but the 28-year-old rape victim is now a 52-year-old rape survivor; a married professional with two grown sons. And she is willing to speak freely about the most painful, pivotal experience of her life if it will help protect other innocent victims by putting the man who raped her behind bars for good.

The more I've learned about him the more dehumanized he becomes to me and that breaks my heart to be honest with you. He's a broken man, that breaks my heart. But he also should be in prison forever. And we have to hold those two realities together."

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