Last Night in Ballard, an Angel Band and a Stunning Voice
It's been almost a year and five months since two women, asleep in their small South Park home on a hot night in the middle of the summer, were awakened by a man who had climbed in through an open window. The women: Teresa Butz and her partner, whom she was planning to marry. The man, according to prosecutors: Isaiah Kalebu
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He was armed with a knife. He raped both women, stabbed them repeatedly, and then fled as Butz broke through her bedroom window and ran, naked and screaming and bleeding, into the street.
Butz's partner ran, too, out the front door of the house, also naked, also screaming, also bleeding. She shouted into the darkness, crying out what had happened to them. Butz collapsed on the concrete, bleeding. People on the block say Diana Ramirez, 14, the daughter of a neighbor across the street, was the first to get to the couple. Ramirez tried to stop Butz's bleeding with towels and her own clothes. She couldn't.
Butz died there, in front of her house, in front of her partner and her neighbors, pleading for people to tell her mother she loved her and saying: "He told us if we did what he asked us to do, he wouldn't hurt us. He lied."
Last night in Ballard, at the Tractor Tavern, Teresa's partner took the stage.
If that seems impossible given what she's been through, then you have underestimated Teresa's partner. She was the most poised person in the room. Others cried. She sang.
She has a tremendous voice, stunning in its clearness of purpose, and she is committed to using that gift to celebrate the gift of Teresa's life. She's also using it to raise money for The Voices and Faces Project
, whose mission is "to give voice and face to rape survivors, offering a sense of solidarity and possibility to those who have lived through abuse, while raising awareness of how this human rights and public health issue impacts victims, families and communities."
The performance last night was a result of another project, the Angel Band Project
, in which friends and family of Teresa's partner—a number of them musicians and performers—came together after her death to create an album called Take You With Me