A writer and former high-school teacher shares her journal descriptions of her own rape and near-murder in a Seattle laundromat, and of the year of emotional chaos and the grueling courtroom trial that followed. A gripping and deeply moving account that should erase any lingering doubts about rape's damaging effects on the psyche. In her early 40s, Scherer lived contentedly on a boat in a Seattle marina, productively occupied with her architect husband, a circle of close friends, and a technical-writing career—until the morning of February 9, 1988, when she dropped by a local laundromat to wash some clothes, was accosted by a white man near her own age, and was raped at knife-point on the laundromat floor. In the process of trying to strangle Scherer, the assailant became frightened and ran away. Scherer was left nearly unconscious with sliced-up hands and a heart shape carved into her neck. Severely traumatized, she nevertheless struggled through the first steps in what would become an agonizing two-year journey back to ``normality''—calling her husband and the police, undergoing a postrape medical exam, submitting to interviews with detectives, and, nearly a year later, participating in the trial of her rapist, Seattle native Steven Slater—who was sentenced to 14 years in prison. While Scherer suffered severe anxiety during the months between her rape and the trial's end—unable, at first, to be alone for more than a few hours, tortured by nightmares and the fear that her rapist would return to kill her—she emphasizes her good fortune in encountering empathetic friends, caring professionals, and a legal system that worked. The intense pain Scherer evokes even in this supportive situation conveys much about the rape experience. A valuable contribution.
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