Psychotherapist and Anti-Sexual Violence Advocate Releases Memoir About Rape
After many years of working with survivors of sexual assault and other trauma, New York City psychotherapist and speaker Ashley Warner fills a gap in the recovery literature with her own story of healing following a rape 22 years ago. The Year After: A Memoir is a bold, inspirational, and often humorous story with a groundbreaking format that follows the day-by-day struggle to find peace in the aftermath of emotional annihilation.
"This might make a useful book," the author realized in the midst of turmoil after her attack at the age of 24. The year following the spring afternoon when she had been strangled by a lurking stranger as she opened the door to her New York City apartment, pushed inside, and raped at knifepoint was a kaleidoscope of emotion. While there exist some guidebooks to healing from sexual violence, and a few survivors' stories, none other report in diary-like format from the trenches. The Year After offers a raw yet poetic experience of the unfolding trials and ultimate triumph of reclaiming life after trauma.
"I wrote the book I wish I had been able to read when I was recovering," Ms. Warner reports. "Referencing a pamphlet listing normal and expectable reactions to rape is not the same as being given a front-row seat to rage storms, crushing loneliness, and irritation as these and other feelings cycle during the course of working through torment."
Ambivalent participation in the tasks of criminal prosecution after the rapist is identified in a lineup, challenges of economic survival as a young artist in the wake of devastation, and strained social interaction provide the backdrop for the psychological journey which is the heart of The Year After. Interwoven within the narrative are reflections from childhood in North Carolina and 20 years beyond the rape in the search for understanding so familiar to those who have wrestled with life-changing upheaval.