PD writer goes public with rape story

In newspaper coverage, rape victims usually remain anonymous. But one woman, a Plain Dealer reporter, has gone public with her story.

Kudos to the Cleveland Plain Dealer and its editor, Susan Goldberg, for the paper’s outstanding 16-page special section on reporter Joanna Connors’ story, “Beyond Rape: A Survivor’s Journey ,” published Sunday, May 4.

The section includes the story of Connors’ 1984 rape and its after effects. It also includes facts about rape and details about where to find help.

Here’s how Connors’ story begins:

“I am Joanna Connors, and I am telling the story I kept private for 23 years. I’m doing it for all of the others who have survived sexual assault in silence, ashamed and afraid to tell their stories.”

Read more.



4 Responses

  1. This is an unbelievable story full of gut-wrenching truth and painful reality. I am struck by her words in a way that leaves me breathless, heartbroken, and almost speechless.

    There are many things running through my mind after reading her story, the first: everyone should read it, digest it, carry it with them as a way of caution, self-protection, and awareness.

    Next, I want to say that we need more stories like hers out there. Sexual Assault survivors need to know they can talk. They can speak out. They can share. There are so many women who have experienced the same trauma. 1 in 4 college- aged women. 1 in 4. We don’t talk about it because it’s stigmatized, but why should something so common be such a stigma? We would know more about rape perhaps if more survivors shared. Rape survivors would have more comfort if they knew more survivors, if they heard more stories, if they realized more truths.

    In her story alone I learned that many survivors, during their rapes, are paralyzed with fear having out-of-body experiences, losing track of time, unable to do anything but survive the rape- meaning not always able to forcefully stop it. In her story I learned that most survivors don’t talk abotu or cope with their experiences until years later. Years. The reality: the weight is carried forever. The story lives on past time.

    Lastly I want to say how much I hate that an incidence like this can dictate a person. That even after the rape is committed, the perpetrator still has the capability of being in control. The survivor ends up living in an invisible prison while others see them as though they are living in the same visible freedom as their peers and loved ones.

    Connors is an inspiration. She has found within her the strength to share her story. I hope to walk in her footsteps, finding strength and inspiring hope, voice, and awarness among other survivors.

    I’ll begin this path here.
    “I am Alyssa Berthiaume. I am a survivor of sexual assault.”

    May someday I find the strength to tell my whole story as she has.

  2. Alyssa, in writing what you did, you showed us that you do have the strength. Your words will inspire hope and strength in other survivors.

  3. I just read Ally’s posting and am blown away by her honesty and courage. There is a saying in twelve step programs “we have nothing to fear but our secrets” and hopefully women acknowledging that they are victims will serve to give them the strength to begin the recovery process. You are not what happens to you. You are you. I just want to remind everyone that we have an excellent counseling center on our campus. If you are a victim of sexual abuse, physical abuse, sexual harassment, etc. please take advantage of the wonderful resources on our campus.
    As I write this, several Akron U students are in the middle of testifying in a local rape case. We all need to support them for their courage as they go forward with their testimonies.

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