According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), a sexual assault occurs every 73 seconds in the United States. For victims of sexual assault, the effects can be long-term, with the likelihood of suicide, depressive thoughts, and/or PTSD symptoms increasing after an assault. Yet, the majority of victims do not report their rapes, and the majority of assailants will not be brought to justice—for every 1000 assaults, 995 perpetrators will not serve jail or prison sentences.
Today's special guest, Karen Stefano knows these statistics too well, as both the victim of an assault and as a lawyer. As she was working on her book What a Body Remembers, she was shocked by how many other women shared with her that they, too, had been victims of assault. “And they would share their own story, and that simple act of sharing would unburden them, I believe,” Stefano explains.
Karen chronicles the journey to reclaim her life after her sexual assault in her memoir. As a nineteen-year-old sophomore at UC Berkeley in 1984, she leaves her job as a uniformed campus police aide, walks home alone in darkness, and is assaulted by a man at knife-point.
Karen Stefano is a JD/MBA with more than twenty years of complex litigation experience and has written extensively on the topics of sexual assault and the criminal justice system. She has the unique experience of having lived inside the criminal justice system from virtually every angle—working in law enforcement, a District Attorney’s office, and for a federal judge; as a victim of sexual assault (and testifying at trial against her attacker); of having once been nearly charged with a felony herself; and years later, seemingly paradoxically, becoming a criminal defense attorney.