This project focuses on 29 Alaskan women and men of different races and socio-economic backgrounds seeking to inspire change in Alaska’s justice system, and to de-stigmatize being a survivor of sexual violence. The judges called “Unheard” “exceptional, original journalism” that “puts the voices of survivors at the forefront” and “reimagines how trauma-aware, culturally-sensitive, collaborative reporting can be done.” They applauded the project’s “emphasis on the heterogeneity of sexual violence and trauma” and called the reporting approach “sensitive by design.” Originally published by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica on June 1, 2020.
Alaska has the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation. These women and men did not choose to be violated, but they now choose to speak about what happened.
By Adriana Gallardo, Nadia Sussman and Agnes Chang, ProPublica, and Kyle Hopkins and Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News Photography by Anne Raup, Loren Holmes and Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News
ALASKA HAS the highest rate of sexual assault in the nation, nearly four times the national average. About one third of women in Alaska have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Yet it is a secret so steeped into everyday life that to discuss it is to disrupt the norm.
These 29 women and men did not choose to be violated, but they now are choosing to speak about what happened to them.
Last year, the Anchorage Daily News partnered with ProPublica to investigate sexual violence in Alaska, and explore why the situation isn’t getting better. We continue that work this year.
The profiles below reflect the urgent and everyday wounds borne by people all over the state. Many have parents and grandparents who are also survivors. Many have been repeatedly abused, often by different perpetrators. Some have chosen careers at the front lines of sexual assault response.
Most of the people included here responded to our joint callout. The more than 300 responses we received inspired a collaborative approach to storytelling.
Some told us that giving words to what happened is a form of justice. Some said they chose to speak so others might feel less alone. They recalled moments of brutality and callousness, but also transformation, rebellion and renewal.
Each person spoke to their individual experience, but taken together, their words reflect common themes found throughout our reporting.
It was important that each person sharing their story had input on how to tell it. This project is not only about what has happened to them, but also who they are today. Each chose how to be publicly identified and how their experiences — related and unrelated to abuse — would be represented.
They worked with Daily News photographers to make portraits that are true to them. They chose to be photographed in meaningful locations, alongside the people they love or dressed to represent a source of strength. Read more about the portrait-making process here.
We understand that not everyone is ready to share their story. We’ve made space for you, too, here and in the pages of the newspaper. For those ready to share their story, you can do so here.
Read more about our reporting process, fact-checking and collaborative process in our methodology. If you’re looking for resources, we’ve put together this guide.
(Some of the quotations below have been condensed for clarity.)
LINDA REXFORD, 23, Iñupiaq, accounts receivable clerk. Lives in Anchorage.
Rexford had just turned 21 in June 2018 when she went out to a bar with friends in Anchorage. That night, she was sexually assaulted by an older man she did not know. After she drove herself to the emergency room, police were called to help her file a report and to take her for a forensic examination. In the aftermath of the assault, Rexford quit her job in Anchorage and moved back to Fairbanks for a few months. There, she said, she unsuccessfully tried to get help from several agencies. She was devastated to learn there was a one-year wait to see a therapist through a local clinic, and ultimately did not add her name to the waitlist. When she told her friends and family what had happened, many of them shared stories of their own assaults. Rexford said that as a result of a backlog in processing rape kits, her forensic exam was not tested until the end of 2019. The Anchorage Police Department said its investigation remains open.
ON INTERGENERATIONAL TRAUMA
"It makes me really sad because all three generations of my family have been raped or sexually assaulted in some way. And I was like, ‘Why does this affect so many people? So many of my friends and family?’ At the same time, it helps, because I know that I can talk to them if I need to.”
KAYLA ARTHOFER, 29, Yup’ik, heavy equipment operator and psychology student. Lives in Fairbanks.
Arthofer was so young when she was abused by an older man, she didn’t understand what he was doing when he would hold her in his lap. She recognized it as molestation only years later, when she learned about sex for the first time. In her mid-20s, she began seeing a psychologist and started to share what happened with people close to her. By talking about it, she said, she learned the abuse was not her fault. She then decided to make a report to Alaska State Troopers. Arthofer said making that report was the single most important step she took to change her life. The investigation of her case stalled when investigators asked her to obtain a recorded confession from the perpetrator. Arthofer did not feel ready to confront him, and did not attempt to make the recording. Instead she began a dialogue about the abuse with her family. Still, Arthofer said, until she filed the report, she had been “a prisoner” of her mind. She continues to work on reframing her past trauma in order to be stronger in the present.
ON GROWING UP
"I was a little girl, around 5 years old. I would get brought to a family friend’s house with my elders and would be very bored waiting around for the visit to be over. While my relatives chatted, an old man asked me if I wanted to watch Disney movies in his room. Being so young, I loved Disney movies. … He would let me choose from his collection and I remember every movie I ever watched in there, because I can no longer watch them again. … As I watched the movie he would molest me.”
DAVID FISHER, 35, business consultant. Lives in Portland, Oregon.
Fisher moved to Alaska from Washington state in 1993, at 7 years old. In Bethel that first year, he said, he was befriended and then sexually abused by an older boy over the course of several months. Saddled with feelings of guilt and confusion, he never told anyone until he was a young adult. Now a business professional and a devout Christian, Fisher makes a point of sharing his story with others. “It’s tough to admit, as a man, that you were a victim,” he said. “I hope that my openness can be a sign to others that healing is possible, but I don’t want to give the wrong impression that my healing is complete.”
ON THE POWER OF SPEAKING UP
"I didn’t talk to anybody about this … until I was an adult. It was, in part, because I felt personal shame about it, I felt like I was partially responsible. And in part because I had a chaotic upbringing in terms of family environment. … But since then I’ve learned that it’s not only appropriate to talk about it, and that I was not responsible for what happened ... it’s actually important for me to include it as part of my story. ... There are so many people who do not feel at liberty to talk publicly about abuse that they've endured. … Abuse depends on silence to continue.”
MARIE R. SAKAR, 48, Yup’ik, elementary school teacher and mother. Lives in Chuathbaluk.
The first boy to sexually abuse Sakar during her childhood in the Western Alaska village of Chuathbaluk issued a frightening warning: If she told, her parents would hate her and blame her. She believed him. Sakar went on to be abused by other boys and men in her village, abuse that followed her into adulthood. She became a mother and earned a college degree, but drank heavily to cope with the abuse. A turning point came when she heard someone say silence only served to protect abusers. She began to confront men who she said had abused her, got sober and began telling her story openly. A few years ago, she moved back to Chuathbaluk — her home as well as a place freighted with memories of childhood abuse. Now, as a teacher at the village school, she wants to be a trusted adult for children to confide in.
"For many years, I thought this was my first memory as a child: Holding my perpetrator’s hands, walking back on the hill in the tundra, by the trees. Looking up at the blue sky, and being told, ‘If you tell your mom or dad, your mom and dad will hate you. If you tell your mom and dad, they’ll say it's your fault.’ Due to those two lies, I endured years and years of childhood sexual abuse."
EBONY MCCLAIN, clinical therapist. Lives in Anchorage.
Watching Christine Blasey Ford testify in Congress during the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, McClain reconsidered her past. She saw a fellow psychologist being questioned on national television for not remembering details of a long-ago trauma. McClain’s memory jumped to when she was 19 years old and attended a party at the trailer-home of a Taco Bell coworker. She had accepted a drink from him and quickly passed out; she believes she was drugged. McClain awoke to her coworker trying to perform oral sex on her. Despite years of providing therapy to clients who were survivors, she had never thought of herself as a victim of sexual assault. The Kavanaugh hearings prompted McClain to talk about the incident for the first time in decades.
To read McClain’s insights on doing therapy with trauma patients, see this guide.
ON FINDING NEW WORDS
"Quite honestly, I had not viewed myself as a victim … I’m such a fighter. ... When I woke up, I saw him on the floor. I was enraged. I hit him. I confronted him. I didn’t ever feel traumatized by that experience. … I think what really triggered my experience for me was really the Kavanaugh piece ... and probably the #MeToo movement ... women coming out and sharing their experience. And then realizing, ‘You know what? You really were a victim of sexual assault.’”
B.B., 28, mother. Lives in Southcentral Alaska.
In March 2013, B.B. reported to police that she had been raped by a man she met online. A grand jury handed up 11 felony charges against the alleged perpetrator: four counts of first-degree sexual assault, five counts of second-degree sexual assault, and one count each of third-degree assault and theft. Everything except the theft charge was dropped as part of a plea deal. The defendant was required by the court to write a letter of apology to B.B. In it, he said, “In closing I would like to note the remorse I feel in being a contributor to a situation where sexual boundaries may have been pushed. Any wishes you had that were not respected is not ok- I apologize for any part I may have played in that.” In December 2017, the same defendant pleaded guilty to an attempted sexual assault charge in the second degree, after another victim reported him. He is now serving eight years in prison.
ON ACCEPTING A PLEA DEAL
"The deal he got was pled down to a single theft charge. Everything else was dropped. I didn’t want to agree to the plea deal, but I was so broken from everything that happened that I agreed. I was told that if he ever did this again, that [my report] would come up. I knew that it would probably happen again — and it did. A year later, he raped a homeless person."
SUE ROYSTON, 73, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Retired. Lives in Fairbanks.
In 1973, a year after Royston moved to Alaska, she was attacked at knifepoint by a stranger who broke in through her bathroom window. Nearly half a century before #MeToo, in an era before rape kits were developed, Royston decided to fight for justice. She said her prosecutor warned her that her name would be all over the papers, that she’d lose her job, and that her daughter, entering second grade in the fall, would be bullied at school. Over the next two years, Royston said, she faced doubt and dismissal from the police, the prosecutor, and a neighbor whom she had looked to for support. Ultimately Royston’s assailant faced charges and pleaded guilty, but the hurtful exchanges still affect her to this day.
"[It] was important to me to be a strong mother, to be a strong person for myself. And I just said, ‘I don’t care what anybody else says, I’m doing what I think is right and I’m going to see it through.’”
JESSICA WILSON, 34, Koyukon Athabascan and Iñupiaq, enrollment specialist. Lives in Fairbanks.
When Wilson was 17 years old, she reported being raped by multiple young men at a house party while heavily intoxicated. At first, Wilson said, she felt reluctant to speak to law enforcement. But when her mother — who said she is also a survivor of sexual assault — found out what had happened several days later, she insisted on driving Wilson to the police station. Alaska State Troopers investigated. One of the men admitted that he had sex with Wilson, but said it was consensual. As an Alaska Native teenager faced with the prospect of being cross-examined before a jury, Wilson ultimately decided not to participate in a criminal case. Today, Wilson works at the Tanana Chiefs Conference, a Native nonprofit serving Alaska’s vast interior. She has been sober for more than eight years. Wilson first shared her story on Facebook, and since then, she’s spoken publicly about sexual assault and trauma to audiences in Alaska and New York.
ON NOT PRESSING CHARGES
"My mom brought me to the police station and I told them what happened, what I could remember, which wasn’t much. It was too late for a rape kit. And they told me that I was going to get torn down in court if it went to trial, and could I handle that? I am Alaska Native. I’m an alcoholic with a criminal record (no felonies). … Who in Alaska is going to listen to me? That's what I asked myself. And honestly, they wouldn’t have. … So I didn’t do it. I let those men walk free, because I was not strong enough to endure what had happened to me over again.”
BARBARA BEATUS, 64, Koyukon Athabascan and Iñupiaq, accountant. Lives in Fairbanks.
When Beatus heard that several men had sexually assaulted her daughter Jessica Wilson at a house party, she wanted them brought to justice. She drove her daughter to the police station to report the rape. That had not been an option for Beatus when she was a teenager in the 1970s. She had grown up in the village of Allakaket, an “idyllic” childhood, she said, until she moved to Fairbanks at 14 to attend high school. During the summer when she was 16 and back home in the village, Beatus and a female relative were out walking one night when a local man invited them into his home for a drink. Beatus said she had only a sip of the drink he gave her and quickly lost consciousness; she believes they were drugged. She woke up the next morning without her clothes. At the time, the only option seemed to be to run away and try to forget.
ON SOLIDARITY WITH HER DAUGHTER
"It took me years before I finally talked with a counselor. … Then, all of a sudden, I felt like there was like a big ball coming out of my chest, coming out of me, and it was, like, choking me and I couldn’t, I couldn’t breathe. And I was just gasping. Then it finally came out. And then ... then I cried, after years. That’s the reason why I’m doing this. I want to be open [talking about sexual assault] like Jessica, too, even though it’s not easy. I want the other young girls to know if something happened to them that they should let someone know, and that what happened was not their fault.”
RICKI DAHLIN, 28, inmate at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center.
In 2018 Anchorage police arrested Dahlin at gunpoint for trying to ram her way through a barricade in a stolen GMC Sierra. In the center console they found a gram of heroin; on the passenger seat a .380 handgun. For many in Anchorage it was another example of the rampant auto theft and drug-fueled property crime that has plagued the city in recent years. For Dahlin, her capture came almost as a relief. She’d been running from an abusive boyfriend and unable to kick the drug habit that had followed her across Alaska since childhood. Born premature and diagnosed with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, she said she was sexually abused repeatedly as a girl. The man who she says abused her has never faced charges. (He denies the allegations.)
"A lot of people look at us as just drug addicts or junkies — ‘You know, they deserve to be in jail.’ Well, it goes deeper than that. We’re broken. We’re trying to fix ourselves. … Anytime I’ve ever tried to say it, nobody believed me. Nobody. So I never said anything.”
DESI BOND, 35, Yup’ik and Blackfeet, legal advocate and SART coordinator. Lives in Dillingham.
Bond said she is the victim of multiple sexual assaults. In the aftermath, she struggled with substance abuse. In November 2016, Bond joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has collected an AA coin commemorating her sobriety each year since. The second anniversary gave her renewed motivation to remain clean. She said of her eldest daughter, “My baby told me how scary I was. … She told me how proud she is of me [now] and how she’s not scared of me anymore. That she feels safe, loved and protected.” In addition to AA, getting back to her Native culture helped her heal and “be present,” Bond said. Sobriety also led her to work with survivors of sexual assault at a Dillingham agency. She now coordinates a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), a group of first responders who help victims make reports and collect evidence.
ON TALKING TO VICTIMS ABOUT FORENSIC EXAMS
"After the exam I apologize. … I say I’m sorry they have to be here, I’m sorry they have to feel like this. … I explain the process. It’s not going to be overnight. It’s not going to be in a week. … It’s not like in the movies where if you go and report it, they’re going to get thrown into jail and they throw the key away. I’m able to tell them things that I wish someone had told me.”
PENELOPE PARAOAN, 28, Iñupiaq, Yup’ik, American Indian and Filipino, former winner of Miss Congeniality at Miss Alaska USA and bodybuilder. Lives in Anchorage.
Paraoan said she is a survivor of child sexual abuse. She spent years working through that trauma in therapy. Then, in her mid-20s, she experienced another assault by someone she knew through work. Paraoan didn’t hesitate to report it: She called a car and asked her best friend to meet her at the Alaska Native Medical Center emergency room. From there, she was taken for a forensic exam and an interview with police. She remained hopeful that her case would be investigated. Every few months, she called the detective assigned to her case to ask for updates. After nine months with no news, she stopped calling. The Anchorage Police Department said its investigation is suspended unless additional evidence or leads surface. No arrests have been made. It’s been nearly three years.
ON LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
"I just knew that I needed to get to the hospital and make a report, because I didn’t want what had just happened and I was upset about it. I would be glad that I did report if I had known how it ended, if he had gotten at least a slap on the wrist for raping someone. But I can’t say that I’m glad that I did ... that I went through the trouble of doing all of that if, at the end of the day, he’s not seeing any consequences."
E.K., 43, Yup’ik. Lives in Southwest Alaska.
In the summer of 2017, E.K. was hired on a tug-and-barge operation that worked in remote waters off Alaska’s southwest coast. She recalled reporting for duty, when a deckhand showed her to her bunk, under the stairs. It had no door, just a curtain, she said. Everyone else had a locking door. E.K. was the only woman on site. She said most of the men came from out of state or out of the country. She was used to working in male-dominated fields — she had worked construction since 2012. But she said what happened in the days at sea left her traumatized. Due to an open Alaska State Troopers investigation, E.K. would rather not provide details of the alleged sexual assault but says the PTSD from this incident has had a devastating effect on her ability to make a living.
ON LIVING WITH PTSD
"I was in bed for a good year. I couldn’t function. It was hard. Oh, my God that was hard. I wouldn’t want to go back there. After the boat, I took a construction job a little bit south of Anchorage where I realized I could not work with men at all anymore, I just can’t.”
JUDY JESSEN, 28, advocate and organizer. Lives in Anchorage.
Jessen decided she wanted to get a forensic exam after she was raped by an acquaintance in 2015, her second assault since high school. She wanted to preserve evidence of the assault and get proper medical care. Jessen chose to get the exam while remaining anonymous and not working with police or an advocate. She said the forensic exam and interview were “awful.” But by giving a statement to a forensic nurse and undergoing the exam, her evidence was preserved for the future. That meant she could wait until the immediate trauma had passed to make decisions about whether and how to pursue her case. For months after the assault, she shared her story and recommendations about how to make it easier to get a forensic exam with politicians and advocates. In 2019, a new multidisciplinary center was opened in Anchorage for survivors of sexual assault to get medical and law enforcement services in one place. Jessen said the opening of the new center addresses some of her concerns, but change has been slow to come as she has continued to help others navigate the reporting process.
ON REPORTING ANONYMOUSLY
"You always hear people say that getting a rape kit is harder than being raped, and I think that’s true. It takes a lot longer. It’s very invasive. And it feels bad to be processed like evidence. At the same time, getting the rape kit done … and being able to have time to think about how you want to move forward ... made a big difference for me in the way that I was able to heal after the assault.”
S.S., 51. Lives in Southcentral Alaska.
Nearly 40 years passed before S.S. found trauma care that felt welcoming and made sense for him. A survivor of child sexual abuse by a priest listed as credibly accused by the Catholic Church and by a neighbor (both have since died), he grew up in silent turmoil that affected every part of his life. Still, he pushed on toward the hallmarks of adulthood, becoming an accomplished professional and dedicated father. But there were points when he thought he wouldn’t make it another year. “I sat for decades in a vicious loop … never coming forward, never dealing with it,” he said. In his early 20s, S.S. considered seeking help, but he found few spaces that appeared to welcome survivors like him — a man, grappling with the cycle of anger, shame and guilt. After a particularly dark episode in early 2019, he picked up the phone, dialed Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) and asked for care. This time he was connected to a therapist who is helping him make sense of the trauma. He said it was the start of the healing process that he’s long been searching for.
ON RESOURCES FOR MALE SURVIVORS
"I did want to go to a support group, a women’s support group, [where] I fit everything they were offering except for [being a man]. I thought about just going because I really needed something. … I really needed to be heard. But I thought, you know, that they'll kick me out for being a man. … How many others were like me?”
NATASHA AĠNAŊULUURAQ GAMACHE, 39, Iñupiaq and Yup’ik, pre-law student. Lives in Anchorage.
On Jan. 13, Gamache sat in a courtroom and told a judge some of what her ex-husband had done to her. He was being sentenced that day for two felony charges of sexual assault of a minor, and Gamache was giving a victim impact statement. Gamache said that in 2011 she had reported her husband to police for raping her and had helped police tape a confession from him. But he was not charged. Alaska’s state law at the time allowed a “marriage defense” in some cases where one spouse sexually assaulted the other. The law was changed in July 2019. Gamache’s ex-husband pleaded guilty to the charges of sexually assaulting minors, and that day in January, he was sentenced to a total of 36 years in prison. He is currently incarcerated. When he was offered the chance to speak in court, he said, “Everything that she said is completely accurate. Everything is true. There’s so much more she could have put in there that I have done.”
ON REFRAMING CONSENT
"I didn’t find out until my 30s about consent ... until I went to my first semester of college at UAA. … I was like, holy crap, you mean that to consent to something, that has to look like an emphatic ‘yes!’? Not somebody threatening you? That changes all of my sexual history.”
SONYA SMITH, Tlingit and Haida, community mental health cultural developer and formline artist. Lives in Sitka.
Smith is known by many in her community as “Dr. Sonya.” A community advocate for Alaska Native survivors of sexual assault, especially missing and murdered indigenous women, Smith intimately knows the scars of child sexual abuse. She said a now-deceased uncle sexually abused her from the time she could walk into her teenage years. She believes she was first raped at age 4. The day after she graduated from high school, Smith left her family home, moving to Juneau, Anchorage and Seattle before settling in Sitka in 2008. There she became a certified nurse assistant. She now takes pride in looking out for younger generations. “I think it takes more guts as I age and come into our matriarchal experience,” she said. “I am responsible for them all. … it’s my turn.”
ON THE TURNING POINT
"On my 16th birthday the perpetrator showed up when no one was around. I grabbed a gun and aimed it at him, told him if he ever laid a hand on me again I would shoot him. He never came back. That day changed how I saw myself. I knew I was never going to be the victim again.”
EMILY KNOWLES, 36, family business executive. Lives in Anchorage.
In the early 2000s, Knowles fought her way out of two sexual assault attempts as a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Both of her assailants were friends; one she had known since childhood. She worked as a paramedic for 12 years after graduating from college. Knowles said witnessing other women’s traumas compelled her to deal with her own. She has been in therapy since 2014.
ON GETTING HELP
"It was really hard for me to start going to see a therapist. … I had to make huge adjustments in my life to do it. But it was worth it. … It’s something that I personally have found success with. And it’s something that I feel very, very strongly about. I wish other people wouldn’t negatively stigmatize it so much.”
TERESA LOWE, 41, Yup’ik, physician assistant. Splits her time between Fairbanks and Utqiagvik.
Lowe grew up in Mountain Village along the Yukon River in Western Alaska until the age of 12. She graduated from high school in the hub city of Bethel and went on to college in Fairbanks and Seattle. Until her 20s, Lowe says she experienced sexual assault in each of those places. She became a medical professional inspired by the belief that Alaska Native providers could improve outcomes for Native communities. In 2006, she asked her supervisors to be trained as a forensic examiner. She worked with a sexual assault response team in Bethel from 2006 until 2012. She was the only Native forensic examiner on the team.
ON THE NEED FOR NATIVE HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
"I think that it is really important, because we do know that people generally have better outcomes if they see a provider that they can identify [with], that looks similar to them. If you have someone who is, or at least seems to be, of the same culture as you or the same background as you, there is more likelihood that you’re going to share things with that provider than you would with someone who is different, because there are some things — say, beliefs or ideas or thoughts — that are commonly shared in that culture. … I don’t think people really understand how important that is.”
D.M., 42. Lives in Seward.
D.M. grew up in Southeast Alaska, where she said she was sexually abused by someone close to her. She left the village at 17 and had a child soon after. Drinking alcohol numbed her but could not heal her. She said she later experienced other sexual assaults. In her 30s, she changed her lifestyle in order to find healthier ways to cope. She is now nine years sober. Running and leading addiction treatment classes have helped her stay on course. She said getting older has also given her the opportunity to redefine herself.
ON BUILDING SELF-CONFIDENCE
"I’m 100 percent sure that [sexual abuse as a child] led to me placing absolutely no value on my body and probably becoming way more promiscuous than I would have otherwise. I became a very young parent and was very reckless with my body until nine or 10 years ago. I didn’t see any self-worth or anything. It took me that long, until I was 30 or 32.”
ASH, 25, administrative worker in public safety. Lives in Anchorage.
Ash, who asked that her last name not be used, said she always wanted to become a police officer, and she believes her personal experience of sexual assault will make her more effective in that role. She has been in therapy since age 9 to treat the trauma of childhood sexual molestation, she said. Seven years ago, during her first year of college, she said, she was raped at a party. Afraid she wouldn’t have a strong legal case, she never reported it to police. In college, Ash majored in criminal justice with a particular interest in public service work around sexual assault prosecution. Soon, she hopes to prepare for the police entrance exam. She said every day continues to get better.
ON WANTING TO IMPROVE LAW ENFORCEMENT
"I actually want to be either a Crimes Against Children or a Special Victims detective, specifically. … The attitude of ‘Well, [the system] is not going to change’ — that’s the problem. ... Maybe I won’t make changes tomorrow, but ... if I honestly just had one survivor come to me and be like, ‘Because of you, I decided to report,’ or something like that, that would complete [my goal].”
MYRA SCHOLZE, 26, fisheries biologist. Lives in Nome.
After Scholze moved in with a boyfriend, she said, he began physically and verbally abusing her. Eventually a group of her friends convinced her to move out of state for a few months to escape the relationship. After she came back to Alaska, life prospered, but years later she struggled with severe anxiety and depression.
"I hadn’t really processed any of it until I went to see a therapist and she asked in the first session if I had experienced any trauma in my life. And it was like this lightbulb moment eight years later. … There was trauma that I had never considered to be trauma. So I think that was a waterfall of emotions. I was like, wow, there’s something I can point to, there’s a reason that I’m suffering from all these things. It’s not just me being completely crazy.”
TIA WAKOLEE, 46, mother and artist. Lives in Anchorage.
From her childhood in Kotzebue into her adulthood in Anchorage, Wakolee said, she was molested, raped or stalked nearly 30 times. She never reported the incidents to law enforcement. The act of reporting assumes you know you were wronged. But from a very early age, Wakolee said she blamed herself. She traces the pattern of self-blame to a single instance when she was about 7. Her grandmother walked in on her husband, Wakolee’s grandfather, molesting her behind the garage doors. (Both have since died.) “My pants were down, and she ripped me off of his lap and took me into the house, about halfway into the house. She threw me up against the stairs and disowned me. … I didn’t understand what ‘disowned’ meant, but I took complete blame of what had happened, like I did something wrong, and it just built on that.” That child’s sense of guilt silenced her as an adult.
You don’t know any better, nobody tells you any better. Everybody goes with it. It’s the environment, it’s just acceptable. This is what we go through. This is what happens to us. To this day, it’s that way.
K.J., 36, mother.
When K.J. was a teenager, she was sexually assaulted by an older man. She said it robbed her of her confidence and her body before she was comfortable with it. Although this happened “half of her life ago,” she said she is still trying to undo the damage. Recently, she celebrated a year and a half free of prescription pills and alcohol. As part of her healing process, she sold her property and moved her family to a new city. She knows she is not the only person in her former community who has dealt with sexual trauma, and she worries that others have nowhere else to go.
ON MOVING AWAY
"We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges. Leaving that place has given me my life back. I dreaded going to my children’s events. Most of the time I would probably have to see the guy who hurt me. You cannot heal in the same place where you got sick.”
AURORA FORD, 37, writer and editor. Lives in Anchorage.
On Sept. 27, 2018, Ford went to see a doctor for symptoms of vertigo. In the exam room, she said, the elderly physician touched her breast and exposed her nipple while using his stethoscope. He also pressed his crotch against her leg and made a series of disturbing comments, she said. Ford left in shock. She initially did not want to report. But her appointment took place the same day Christine Blasey Ford testified in Congress during the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh to be a Supreme Court justice. It reminded her of the “shitty things women go through when they don’t say something right away, or sometimes even when they do.” That evening, she wrote down every detail she could remember. She then reported the incident to Anchorage police and the Alaska State Medical Board. In January 2019, the municipal prosecutor filed charges against the doctor for first degree sexual harassment, a misdemeanor, but dropped them six months later. Ford said no one notified her; she only found out by searching online. Then in mid-October, the medical board concluded “there was not sufficient evidence of any violations to the Alaska State Medical Board statutes and regulations.” They closed their case as well, and the doctor faced no sanctions. A prosecutor cited “evidentiary issues,” and the doctor denied the claims.
ON SPEAKING UP, AND FEELING LET DOWN
I work for a local social services organization where a scary percentage of the youth we serve have been sexually abused or assaulted. So I know about, and sought, all the resources in Anchorage to help protect me and make sure there were ramifications for his actions. My past is not marked by the kinds of repeated trauma that make a person less likely to report. I have … the kind of support system that gave me the courage to advocate for myself. … I did everything I was supposed to do and nothing happened to him. What does that mean for all the kids who’ve been through so much worse?”
MARY SAVAGE, 43, Athabascan, business manager and mother. Lives in Anchorage.
Savage was walking to her Anchorage apartment one summer night when a young stranger blocked her path. When she tried to walk away, he attacked, punching her in the head, groping her and dragging her by her waist-long hair toward nearby bushes. Police arrested the assailant on the spot. The criminal case rested on Savage’s willingness to testify in court. She was reluctant but agreed, motivated by knowing she could stop her attacker from hurting other women. Testifying wasn’t easy: Cross-examination made it feel as if she were the one on trial. Jurors heard about her sex life and her past drug use. During one particularly brutal moment, Savage vomited on the witness stand. Savage’s attacker was convicted, and is not scheduled to be released from prison until 2034.
"It was by far, without doubt, one of the worst experiences I’ve had in my life. And that includes the assault. I felt attacked. I had to defend every single thing that I did. And I had to defend every single thing that I said. It was so brutal. … The only thing that mattered to me and gave me the strength to walk through all of that was I just didn’t want him to do it again.”
CRAIG LOOMIS, 69, charter boat captain, former truck driver, sawmill worker, big game hunting guide and commercial fisherman. Lives in Haines.
When Loomis was growing up in Haines during the 1960s, it was an open secret that school superintendent Karl Ward sexually abused boys. Ward volunteered with the high school basketball team, and players would be invited to his house for liquor-soaked parties that often wound up in the basement, where Ward would make sexual advances. Loomis says that he escaped the worst of the abuse, but that at one party Ward touched him inappropriately and tried to kiss him. Ward maintained his status as a revered community leader until his death in 1997. The high school gymnasium was even named after him. Then, in 2018, a former Haines High School student named Rick Martin named Ward as his rapist in a cellphone video recorded shortly before he killed himself. It was then that Loomis and several other Haines men decided it was time to go public, talking about the years of abuse with the local newspaper. Loomis has offered to organize support groups for others in Haines abused by Ward, but few have taken him up on the offer. The “Karl Ward Gymnasium” sign has come down, and the gym has been renamed.
"The people in that town that knew about it: They’re just as guilty as the guy that did it. It went on for decades.”
CATHLEEN, 31, student. Lives in Anchorage.
Cathleen, who asked to be identified by her middle name for fear of retribution, got to know the captain of a small fishing boat while working as a barista one summer in Southcentral Alaska. He seemed nice enough, and she knew other women who had worked with the man, so when he offered her a well-paying deckhand job she agreed. A few hours into the multiday fishing trip the captain forced open her sleeping bag, wrested a knife from her hand and raped her, she said. She reported the attack to state troopers, who said the only way the man would be charged with a crime was if Cathleen got him to admit to the assault while wearing a wire. She tried to do what they asked, but the evidence wasn’t strong enough, she was told, and the man continues to work in Alaska today. He denies assaulting her.
The detective told me all the stuff that was wrong with the tape and like, why it wasn’t going to work. And so I started crying because he told me that the warrant had expired. … They told me the only good news is that in the state of Alaska there’s no statute of limitations, so anytime he wants to come forward and confess then we can convict him. I just remember screaming and shouting, I was so mad. Because give me a break. Like he’s just gonna roll into a police office one day and decide that he’s seeking redemption? … I’m angry all the time. So fucking angry.”
Giving Voice to Alaska’s Unheard Sexual Assault Survivors
We’re publishing our most ambitious effort yet to give voice to those who have been sexually assaulted in Alaska. We have talked to hundreds of survivors over the past year who have shared their stories.
In the fall of 2018, the Anchorage Daily News published an article with the headline, “A second woman comes forward to say she was raped in Nome without consequence.” The story included a request: The ADN said it would be reporting further on the subject of sexual abuse in Alaska, and invited readers to confidentially share their accounts of sexual violence.
More than 200 of them did.
We’ve long known Alaska has among the highest rates of sexual crimes in America. It’s a topic we’d wanted to explore more deeply for years. But a challenge had always been the willingness of victims, many of them traumatized and fearful of being shunned by their family or their community if they spoke out. By 2018, for many reasons, that had changed in Alaska. Survivors began comparing notes, sharing emotional Facebook posts and, importantly, confiding in us.
Months of national headlines described powerful men, one after another, accused of serious sexual misconduct. Alaska had its own string of horrible stories involving sexual violence. But the #MeToo movement in Alaska was different. Survivors had to reckon with systemic issues that simply didn’t exist in other parts of the country.
Those stories — personal, detailed, often violent and in many cases unresolved — were a key factor in the Daily News deciding to pursue an extensive, sustained examination of sexual violence in Alaska. The project, “Lawless,” launched in 2019 with ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network.
Those first brave Alaskans’ accounts have helped drive our reporting on gaps in law enforcement and why the problems in Alaska, in urban and rural areas of the state, aren’t getting better. We were honored to be recognized with the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for our work last year. We’re not stopping.
Today we’re publishing our most ambitious effort yet to give voice to those who have been sexually assaulted in the state. We have talked to hundreds of survivors over the past year. Though most are not named, their stories have informed our reporting. Some were ready to share their experience publicly, and we’ve designed this project to give them a way to do that. They come from all walks of life. Alaskans from ages 23 to 73, men and women, urban and rural, Native and non-Native. People who turned to the criminal justice system, and more often those who didn’t.
What you’re seeing today is the result of that extraordinary effort, an effort that involved more than a dozen people on our staffs working together across thousands of miles. It involved photographers traveling all over Alaska and even to other states. We talked to a mother and a daughter who were both sexually abused as young women and who chose to share their experiences. We talked to a group of women at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, serving time for crimes they had committed, while men who sexually abused them as girls lived free.
We heard stories of deep despair, of PTSD, of depression, of turning to substances to numb the pain. But we heard nearly as many stories of recovery and resilience. We heard how people are not allowing themselves to be defined by the violence against them. They are participating because they want others to know they are not alone.
We heard a number of common themes: People who were victimized time and again, those who didn’t report it because they thought no one would believe them, those who felt they didn’t get justice through the criminal justice system though they followed the right steps, those who didn’t feel they could get help, and those who felt they were traumatized further when they spoke up. Over the next month, you will read stories that exemplify each theme.
This was a collaborative reporting process, not just between our newsrooms, but also with those we were writing about. We asked the profile subjects to pick the place in which they’d be photographed and the emotions they wanted to convey. Our team spent hours talking with each person and made sure they were comfortable with every aspect of how their story would be presented. No facts were changed as part of this process. In some cases, as part of the reporting process, we contacted the alleged abusers. For some it was the first time they had been confronted.
It was deeply empowering both for our sources and for our journalists. During a fact check, a source wrote to one of our colleagues, “I am so proud to be a part of this. I cannot help but beam with pride that I may help break the silence & many more will step forward. This is amazing to be a part of.”
We are publishing this collection online and will be featuring individual profiles through the course of the month in the print edition of the ADN. Most of the stories are concise summaries of what happened and what the people involved want to say about it; some are in-depth explorations of the themes above.
We are asking for your help as we move forward with our collaboration. This year we’re planning to explore how cases that are reported to law enforcement move through the criminal justice system. Have you reported a sexual assault to police or do you know someone who has? We’d like to hear about your experience.
Finally, we know our project will provoke a range of emotions in those who view it. We recognize many people are still suffering in silence. We have collected advice and guidance from experts as a resource for anyone who sees themselves in these profiles. We hope this project lets you know that there are others like you out there. We hope this will continue a vital conversation in Alaska and beyond.
Resources for Survivors
Here’s What Experts Say to Do After Experiencing Sexual Assault
We consulted six professionals in Alaska who work with survivors of sexual assault, including a therapist, a law enforcement officer, advocates for survivors, a nurse and a prosecutor. We compiled their guidance on the choices survivors can make.
In the course of reporting Unheard and interviewing dozens of survivors, questions surfaced again and again about what to do after a sexual assault, and how to navigate social services and the legal system.
The following resources are intended to inform survivors, their family members and friends, and others in the community about ways they can seek help.
We consulted six professionals in Alaska, including a therapist, a law enforcement officer, advocates for survivors, a nurse and a prosecutor. The following is a compilation of their guidance on choices survivors can make. Each case is unique; here they offer general advice for adult survivors. Each expert comes from a different background, and the advice they offer sometimes differs based on their professional orientation.
(Some of the quotations below have been condensed for clarity.)
Do not wait to seek urgent medical care if you need it.
A crisis hotline can help you assess your options.
The choice of whom to tell is personal. Good options may include law enforcement, a sexual assault advocate, a medical professional, a therapist, and friends and family.
Telling law enforcement as soon as possible can help preserve evidence. But it is not required. You can still get medical care, counseling, and a sexual assault exam (sometimes known as a “rape kit” exam) even if you choose not to report to law enforcement.
“We like to say there’s no wrong way to access our services. … Certainly if someone has been assaulted or feels like they may have been assaulted, then to call right away, we would very much encourage that. No one ever has to give their name or identify themselves in receiving support through our crisis line [800-478-8999].
“If somebody needs ... immediate medical care, then they should go to the emergency room. Especially if they’re in pain or they’ve been strangled or have other physical injuries that need treatment. … We don’t have that kind of medical equipment at the clinic that they would have at a hospital. Strangulation can be deadly.”
— Keeley Olson, executive director, Standing Together Against Rape (STAR), Anchorage
“Contact ... our  emergency dispatch right away so we can get the resources going there. What they’re going to get with that, based on what they report, is patrol officers. ... It’s a priority call. If they state any significant injuries, we’re going to have paramedics head that way to get an initial evaluation.”
— Lt. Shaun Henry, former commander, Crimes Against Children Unit and Special Victims Unit, Anchorage Police Department
How do I find a crisis line?
STAR Alaska serves the Anchorage area and Southcentral Alaska. It also runs a 24-hour hotline available to anyone in need. The person on the other end of the line will ask you a series of questions to help you decide on next steps. Their number is: 907-276-7273 or 800-478-899 (toll free).
Crisis lines serving other parts of Alaska can be found here, in a listing by the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is an option for people in Alaska and other states. Their number is: 800-656-HOPE.
“If somebody feels like they’ve been assaulted, the top priority is to make sure that regardless of whether it’s something that can be prosecuted, are they getting the medical care that they need? Are they being assured that they’re OK? Are they getting prophylaxis medications to avoid long-term physical consequences such as pregnancy or STIs [sexually transmitted infections] that go with that? And are they receiving follow-up care, and are they getting advocacy and services to help them through that process? ... We can’t control what happens with the criminal legal proceedings. ... We focus on what we’re doing to help the survivor.”
— Keeley Olson, Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) in Anchorage
How do I report anonymously?
Call a crisis line. Advocates can talk you through your options, and potentially call law enforcement on your behalf without revealing your identity.
As part of your anonymous report, you may choose to have a forensic exam to collect evidence from your body. The forensic exam kit will not be tested for DNA unless the survivor opts to deanonymize and make a report to law enforcement. But the evidence is preserved, giving you time to make that decision.
“Work with the shelter or just show up at the hospital. … There’s no name attached to [an anonymous exam kit]. It’s just a number. So they could, down the road, call [police] and say ... ‘I’d like to give a report of what happened with this kit.’”
— Carly Wells, sexual assault victim advocate, Fairbanks
What if I didn’t tell anyone right away?
You can report an assault at any point. The earlier you choose to do so, however, the easier it will be for police to investigate.
Some people may decide to report years after the event. You can always start with a counselor or therapist.
“It doesn’t matter if it was today, a couple weeks ago or last year. Report it as soon as they’re comfortable reporting. ... [A forensic exam] is not required. We will still do an investigation. We’ll still have a detective take the case and work it.”
— Lt. Shaun Henry, Anchorage Police Department
“We have a full week from the time of the event to be able to get them in for a SART [sexual assault response team] response. ... It is advanced forensic work with our crime lab that they have found that they’ve been able to get viable evidence up to seven days.”
— Keeley Olson, Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) in Anchorage
“I treat a lot of people who are long-term survivors of sexual assault and abuse and who may have had it happen to them at very young ages, who are dealing with it in my office now, 40s and 50s, even 60s, because that’s a post-traumatic stress response. ... Sometimes the revelation is late in life that I actually am a survivor of this.”
— Ebony McClain, clinical therapist, Anchorage
Section 2: Forensic Exams and Investigations
I’ve just been assaulted. What should I do to preserve the evidence?
Try not to bathe, eat or clean up before seeking care.
Keep your clothes and store them in paper bags.
If you choose to get a “rape kit” exam, more formally called a sexual assault forensic exam, it is best to do so as soon as possible.
“We don’t really need them to gather things. What we’d rather they do is just not change, modify or get rid of things. Don’t change clothes. Don’t throw clothes away. Don’t try to clean up evidence or things like that. That’s all stuff that we need to collect. That’s very crucial to the investigation. The more we can preserve while helping the victim out, protecting their dignity and everything, that’s the priority. The more we preserve is going to help us get a better case.”
— Lt. Shaun Henry, Anchorage Police Department
“It’s best not to bathe or shower if possible, not to be real vigorous in cleaning. If any part of the assault was oral, not to brush one’s teeth or eat or drink anything before going in for an examination. That’s not always feasible and it doesn’t mean that they’re going to destroy every bit of evidence if they’ve done that. ... [Put clothing] in a paper bag, not plastic, that plastic can degrade evidence.”
— Keeley Olson, Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) in Anchorage
Where do I get a sexual assault forensic exam?
Availability varies from city to city.
In Anchorage, call STAR Alaska or police for instructions. The forensic exam site is a special center not in a hospital.
In Fairbanks, forensic exams take place at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
In hub cities, call the local crisis line or hospital emergency department for information.
In villages, call a crisis hotline or law enforcement for information on where to go, usually the nearest hub city.
Who is the person doing the exam?
Exams are conducted by medical professionals with special training, not law enforcement.
"I’m a nurse. … I happen to have extra training on how to collect evidence, but everything I’m doing is health care. …We are not part of law enforcement in any way, shape or form.”
“People know about the process or they think about ‘the kit.’ … But a lot of people don’t know what they want to do by the time I see them. ... The expectation, for me, is helping them navigate that decision or doing the best I can to get the evidence collected.”
— Christine Fontaine, forensic nurse examiner, South Peninsula Hospital, Homer
Who will be there to support me if I have an exam?
You can bring a trusted friend or family member.
Many shelters or crisis centers also offer an advocate to support you.
“Grief takes you to a different place. You don’t know how to put one foot in front of the other. So to have somebody who’s there with you, who can help you walk through it, is more powerful than I think most people understand.
“Cry with them, laugh with them, or be silent. [An advocate] will help you navigate the forensic exam process and help answer your questions regarding making a report to law enforcement. If you have a trusted friend or family member they can be there for you as an advocate too.”
— Carly Wells, victim advocate, Fairbanks
What should I do afterward?
Physical and emotional self-care are important.
Connect to others you trust.
“After your exam, take a warm bath to help your body heal. Eating and sleeping also help. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help.”
— Carly Wells, victim advocate, Fairbanks
How do I find out about the results of my exam? What do they mean?
If you make a report to law enforcement, they or an advocate should contact you about your results. It may take a long time.
DNA evidence can show that sex occurred, but it cannot prove consent or nonconsent.
“DNA testing often takes quite a while for the lab to do. But when we get those results back, we will reach out almost immediately.”
— Lt. Shaun Henry, Anchorage Police Department
“Don’t do this just because you think it’s going to solve the whole case. … I think a lot of [survivors] think, ‘I’m going to have results soon and then they’re going to catch this guy and it’s going to prove this, this and this.’ And that’s not normally the case. So it’s just a piece of the puzzle.”
— Carly Wells, victim advocate, Fairbanks
Section 3: Emotional and Psychological Care
What kinds of feelings do people experience after an assault?
Sexual assault can lead to a broad range of emotional responses. Each person is different.
A variety of professionals can help treat the trauma associated with sexual assault in different ways.
“In the immediate aftermath, I’ve seen everything from emotional numbness to extreme anger. ... One moment they’re numb, the next moment they are expressing outrage or intense crying, full-on dissociation. … And I’ve also had women who’ve questioned themselves and the reality of whether they contributed to the assault. I see a lot of shame and guilt associated with that. And I have seen women who have actually continued relationships with people who have sexually assaulted them. ... It’s a real abuse of power on the person who is on the end of that assault. There are so many reactions that you have when … you have been controlled, abused, assaulted, violated.”
— Ebony McClain, clinical therapist, Anchorage
“We kind of expect, if you’re raped, it’s going to be obvious. And most of the time, it’s not. … There’s not massive proof of force. And sometimes that seems to make the victim feel worse, almost. … That doesn’t mean we don’t believe you, or that there wasn’t something horrendous that happened.”
— Carly Wells, victim advocate, Fairbanks
What are some common coping mechanisms? What should I know about drugs, alcohol and sexual partners?
Many survivors use substances in the aftermath of a sexual assault, although it can be detrimental for their health.
For a variety of reasons, survivors sometimes seek out multiple sexual partners after an assault.
“[This is] where I see a lot of the most unhealthy coping: either with not talking at all, not disclosing at all, not feeling safe enough or emotionally safe enough to disclose with anyone, or abusing alcohol or drugs.
“A lot of times [seeking out multiple partners], that’s about the shame and the guilt of abuse. So if I already feel like I’m unworthy and I’m not good enough and there’s no value in my body, then it doesn’t matter who I sleep with. ... And then there’s the other side of the coin where some women have felt like their worth is in sex only. ... So they’re going to take the power back by ... having sex with someone.”
— Ebony McClain, clinical therapist, Anchorage
What are some positive coping strategies?
“I encourage my women to first journal and to have one trusted individual that you can actually talk to about your experience. I also encourage that women join groups, that they join survivor groups, so that they’re able to speak to other women about the experiences that they’ve had.”
— Ebony McClain, clinical therapist, Anchorage
Someone told me they experienced a sexual assault. How can I be helpful?
Respond with compassion.
“I say empathy and compassion and validation of the experience, that it’s real. … People have to come from that place of being nonjudgmental and open and be listening as opposed to telling the person what they should do. It’s just more important that you actually listen to a person’s experience fully.”
— Ebony McClain, clinical therapist, Anchorage
“Be gentle. Be tender. Be kind. Ask how you can support them. Offer to go with them to the hospital or to the police. Don’t judge. Don’t ask too many questions. Be a safe and supportive place for them — they are traumatized, they need kindness and someone to empower them to make their own choices since their choice was just taken away with the assault. Ask them if you can hug them — if they say no, don’t be offended. Be OK with their pain — don’t try and take it away or brush it off — let them grieve and be sad. Sit in that place with them. “
— Carly Wells, victim advocate, Fairbanks
Section 4: Dealing With the Legal System
I reported my assault to the police. When will I hear from them?
Investigations can take a long time.
Survivors can reach out to the detective on their case for status updates.
“The detectives will stay in touch with them and advise them along the way on how the case is progressing. …Regarding the actual police investigation, they’ll have their case number and the contact information of the lead detective. ...They’re welcome to call anytime they want. We will usually contact them when something new develops or we want to move further with the case one way or the other. But there’s no set timeline.”
— Lt. Shaun Henry, Anchorage Police Department
Who does the prosecutor represent?
“We represent the state of Alaska. We often work very closely with victims. We always listen to what the victims say, but they’re not our client, as it were. That is really the state of Alaska and within that, this idea of [pursuing] justice.”
— Jenna Gruenstein, assistant attorney general, Office of Special Prosecutions, state of Alaska
Will there be criminal charges against the perpetrator?
Not all reported cases will lead to charges or a trial.
But some prosecutions for sexual assault are successful.
“It depends. …The prosecutor reviews a case to see whether he or she believes it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. That is a high standard, and it means that some cases will not be prosecuted even when the prosecutor believes that a crime occurred. We’re going to be looking at all of the evidence available in each case and make a determination based on our review of that evidence.”
— Jenna Gruenstein, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecutions
Why do prosecutors offer plea bargains?
“There’s several reasons, and I think that probably the best reason for it is that it offers certainty. You never know what’s going to happen at a trial. Even in a really strong case, something could happen and you could end up not getting a conviction.
“… By avoiding a trial, you avoid making a victim get up on the stand and testify. … There are times that testifying in a case can actually be somewhat cathartic, at least in the long run … but for most people, it’s exceptionally stressful to get up and to testify about what may be one of the worst incidents in their life.”
— Jenna Gruenstein, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecutions
What can happen if I go to court? How can I prepare?
The prosecutor will help you prepare. You will likely be questioned in depth on uncomfortable topics.
“The reality of it is that the defendant’s right to confrontation makes it so that they’re able to ask about a lot of things that are tough for victims, such as alcohol use. It may be drug use. There are things we can do to try to limit that.
“I always try to work with victims before they testify to explain the court process and discuss what questions they may be asked while testifying, as well as to make sure that the victim has a support system in place before, during and after their testimony — whether that is family, friends, or an advocate.”
— Jenna Gruenstein, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecutions
I’m interested in talking to an ADN or ProPublica journalist. What should I keep in mind?
Some survivors have told us that telling their stories publicly has been cathartic. If you’d like to share your experience with us, you can start with this questionnaire. We won’t tell every story, but we do read what you submit. We take your privacy very seriously.
How We Reported This
How We Worked With Survivors of Sexual Assault in Alaska to Tell Their Stories
Journalists from ProPublica and the Anchorage Daily News spent months hearing from, and listening to, dozens of survivors about how they processed their trauma. Here’s how we told these stories fairly and accurately.
Today we are publishing the stories of 29 women and men who say they were sexually assaulted. The stories in this project adhere to the journalistic standards of accuracy, fairness and rigor that we demand of every story published by our news organizations. But they were written in collaboration with the community of sexual assault survivors who are the subjects of the profiles.
Here’s what that means:
We heard from hundreds of women and men who filled out our questionnaires about sexual violence in Alaska. We interviewed as many as we could, taking note of themes common to the stories. A few other stories came in via email or through sources.
Those themes included people who were victimized more than once, those who didn’t report their assault because they thought no one would believe them or help, those who reported their assault but did not get justice, those who felt they didn’t fit in so they couldn’t get help and those who felt the system intended to help had traumatized them further.
After hosting a community event in Kotzebue, AK and months of interviews, we identified a group of people who had suggested that they would be willing to speak publicly. We wrote them an email explaining what we were doing and why:
“Many of you want to talk. You say speaking about your experience is a form of justice. You want other people to feel less alone. You want to support one another. We know you didn’t choose to have the experience of sexual assault. Now, if you choose to speak, we want you to feel empowered by the process.”
We listened back through our interviews with them and selected quotes from each person. Each selection captures a particular, often not discussed, aspect of overcoming sexual assault in Alaska. We shared the quotes we selected with the people to ensure they represented their perspective but we didn’t give them the ability to edit the quotes.
Each person profiled had choices in how they were represented. We asked each participant to think of a place or an activity they enjoy that is meaningful to their story and who they are. Each person interpreted that prompt differently. Some chose to be portrayed with their families, others decided to wear treasured clothing given to them by people important in their lives. Each participant decided who else they wanted to include in the picture and to what extent they would be identifiable in the portrait. When the sessions were done, the photographer invited them to look at the shots and weigh in. Read more about the portrait-making process here.
Participants could choose whether or not to use their full names, just a first name, initials, or no name at all. We asked people to choose a title that captured their occupation or interest. For Alaska Natives, we asked if they would like to list their tribal affiliation(s).
After we drafted each profile we had detailed readback(s) with each participant to make sure our choice and tone was accurate to their story.
Every detail that appears here has been fact-checked. Wherever possible, we have reviewed all relevant documents, including police and court documents and medical records. We attempted to verify memories and past events with contemporaneous accounts, including interviews with other community members, diaries, correspondence and social media. We explained our fact-checking process to each participant as we discussed the quotes chosen. We occasionally omitted details based on their comfort level but we did not change facts in any story.
In most situations, we decided not to name or otherwise identify a perpetrator. Even so, we actively sought out the person who was accused and gave them an opportunity to comment. We’ve included their response when possible.
We enabled participants to decide whether they wanted their individual stories to be shared outside of the larger collection. Usually, we would create an individual URL for each profile, making each anecdote sharable. But many of those who spoke to us said they were doing so only because they were part of a larger community, and wanted their stories to be read in that context. We also have seen victims of sexual violence targeted online. With all of that in mind, we decided to keep unique URLs private unless the participant chose to share.
Finally, we consulted with six professionals who work with survivors in the aftermath of a sexual assault. We selected them for their expertise in law enforcement, the forensic exam process, prosecutions and healing trauma.
Jenna Gruenstein, assistant attorney general, Office of Special Prosecutions, state of Alaska
Lt. Shaun Henry, former commander, Crimes Against Children Unit and Special Victims Unit, Anchorage Police Department
Ebony McClain, clinical therapist, Anchorage
Keeley Olson, executive director, Standing Together Against Rape (STAR), Anchorage
Carly Wells, sexual assault victim advocate, Fairbanks
Christine Fontaine, forensic nurse, South Peninsula Hospital, Homer
They helped us create a guide to help those who have been victimized by sexual assault in Alaska and elsewhere.
About The Photography
How Photographers Sought to Redefine the Image of Alaska’s Sexual Assault Survivors
In capturing these photographs, the aim was to portray the underlying courage and strength of each person and to focus on who they had become.
Every portrait in Unheard was different. There was no formula, no uniform backdrop to rely on. The people were unique and the circumstances of each shoot presented different challenges — the environment, the color of the light, the atmosphere. And the cold.
It was a real Alaska winter this year. Many of the portraits were made in subzero temperatures and many more below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. One session was after a beautiful snowfall, deep in the woods of west Anchorage, in thigh-deep snow. Another was in the flat area of the delta of the Knik and Matanuska rivers in a bitter wind. Another was on a blue-sky day in Valdez with towering peaks in the distance. Other sessions were indoors, in the comfort and safe space of a home.
What never varied was the underlying courage that every one of the participants brought to the project.
From the very first interviews, we were struck by the resilience of our participants. Prior projects about sexual assault sometimes focused on the haunting trauma, but we wanted instead to portray the strength of our subjects and focus on who they’ve become. We set out for this process to be a dialogue, a collaboration with each of our participants on how they wanted their bodies and their identities to be portrayed. After all, assaults are crimes where their choices are taken away. We wanted to redefine the image of sexual assault survivors.
As much as possible, our subjects were given creative control of their portraits and the images were made collaboratively. Before a photography session, we would discuss locations, activities or people (and often pets) that have been a source of strength and healing for our participants. The three project photographers, Loren Holmes, Marc Lester and Anne Raup of the Anchorage Daily News, traveled during the months of October through March to meet with them. From Anchorage to Fairbanks, from Sitka to Nome, from the Kenai Peninsula to Portland, Oregon, in the Lower 48, the team flew and drove more than 10,000 miles.
We veered from traditional mores for this project. Most of the time, staff visual journalists for the ADN follow the central tenet of photojournalism, which is to be a fly on the wall, an observer who is invisible and does not interfere but merely documents what they see. That shifts a bit when it comes to portraiture, but there is a built-in barrier between photographer and subject — the photographer creates the photograph. And the subject of an image usually doesn’t see an image before it’s published. For this project, the participants had full agency in deciding what would be contained in that one frame that would represent them. And in many cases, the subject signed off on the specific image.
This relationship led to a much deeper collaboration and, we hope, gave rise to stronger voices. Sue Royston was very clear that she wanted to be photographed at her log cabin home. It was her lifelong dream to have one and a big part of how Alaska is her home. Craig Loomis wished to be pictured with his wife, as she’s been such a source of strength for him. When we asked Jessica Wilson where she would like to be photographed, she immediately responded with the location where she and her cousin played as kids. This aspect of her story was one we would not have known without her participation in brainstorming photo situations.
For most people, having a portrait taken is fundamentally uncomfortable. The camera lens is a big unblinking eye staring at you. If with this portrait you are opening yourself up to the world, to show something that you’ve likely hidden or been tortured by for years, the process might be excruciating. The challenge here is to find an emotional place of comfort where a telling, compelling image can be made. That was often difficult for both parties. It often took several conversations for the relationship to be mature enough to move forward on making photographs. A few times, multiple sessions were needed to really capture the appropriate image. Sometimes that meant photographing in many locations on the same day, while building mutual understanding and trust between subject and photographer (Meta Mendenhall, David Fisher). Other times the final portrait was the result of days or months passing between sessions (Judy Jessen, S.S.).
Some of our participants needed anonymity for their safety. Anonymity in journalism is not taken lightly. For this project we wanted both to ensure our subjects’ protection from retaliation or shaming, but also to restore agency to them in choosing how much to reveal. This presented photographic challenges. As often as possible, we tried to make the photos feature light, as opposed to using shadow to obscure. Before the shoot, we discussed with our participants the various techniques, such as shooting in silhouette, from a distance, or close up on parts of the body. In most cases the final image was determined in conversation with the subject about how much of their identity could be safely revealed.
In the end, we grew to have the greatest respect for the strength of the people who allowed us to work with them to make this collection of portraits. So many of the participants experienced things that would make most people crumble under the weight — these people are facing the darkness and turning it to light.
Loren Holmes is a visual journalist for the Anchorage Daily News, where he has worked since 2012. Born and raised in Anchorage, Holmes studied philosophy and environment and technology studies at Carleton College (Minn.) and photojournalism at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication in Athens. In 2016 his work was recognized with an honorable mention in the Photojournalist of the Year (Small Markets) category of the National Press Photographers Association's Best of Photojournalism competition, and he was a member of the team that was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He lives in Anchorage with his wife Bonnie and son Charlie.
Reporter and editor - Anchorage Daily News
Kyle Hopkins is a reporter and editor for the Anchorage Daily News and a member of the ProPublica Distinguished Fellows Program. He is a graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks journalism program and worked as lead reporter on the Daily News & ProPublica collaboration “Lawless,” which received the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2020.
Staff photojournalist - Anchorage Daily News
Marc Lester has been a staff photojournalist with the Anchorage Daily News since 1999. In addition to still photography, Marc also produces videos and writes feature stories. He lives in Anchorage with his wife and two sons.
Staff photographer and photo editor - Anchorage Daily News
Anne Raup is a veteren photojournalist in Anchorage, Alaska. She has worked at the Anchorage Daily News as a staff photographer and photo editor since 1994. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Gustavus Adolphus College and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Michelle Theriault Boots
Reporter - Anchorage Daily News
Michelle Theriault Boots is a reporter with the Anchorage Daily News, where she often reports on the justice and correctional systems in Alaska. She was a 2020 John Jay College Harry Frank Guggenheim criminal justice reporting fellow and a 2017 Kiplinger Program fellow. She holds a master's degree in literary nonfiction writing from the University of Oregon.
Creative story technologist - ProPublica
Agnes Chang is a creative story technologist at ProPublica working on combining visual storytelling and data. Previously, she worked on the New York Times Research & Development, Cooking, and Video teams. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design and Columbia University.
Engagement reporter - ProPublica
Adriana Gallardo is an engagement reporter at ProPublica working on community-sourced investigations. Prior to ProPublica, she worked in public media and education. Gallardo is an adjunct professor at The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Video journalist - ProPublica
Nadia Sussman is a video journalist at ProPublica, creating short- and longform investigative documentaries and visual stories. Prior to joining ProPublica, she was based in Brazil for five years where she shot and edited videos for outlets including The New York Times, BBC and The Wall Street Journal.
Tragedies & Journalists
A 40-page guide to help journalists, photojournalists and editors report on violence while protecting both victims and themselves.
In conjunction with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Dart Centre Asia Pacific created a teaching video on the treatment of news sources. The project was developed to supplement teaching materials for journalism educators.
Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
Integrating clinical and social perspective without sacrificing either the complexity of individual experience or the breadth of political context, "Trauma and Recovery" brings a new level of understanding to the psychological consequences of the full range of traumatic life events.
Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character
Jonathan Shay is a Boston based psychiatrist caring for Vietnam combat veterans diagnosed with severe, chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. In this unique and revolutionary book, Dr. Shay examines the psychological devastation of war by comparing the soldiers of Homer’s Iliad with many of his patients, Vietnam veterans struggling with PTSD . Although the Iliad was written twenty-seven centuries ago, so much can be learned about combat trauma, especially when it is threaded through the compelling voices and experiences of Vietnam vets.
Journalists under Fire: The Psychological Hazards of Covering War
War journalists, like all who have prolonged exposure to violence, come home emotionally maimed and often broken. And yet, a news culture in denial has pretended that war journalists are immune from trauma. This fit into the macho culture of war journalism. It also assuaged the consciences of those running news organizations, who often crumple up and discard, years later, those they send to war. Dr. Feinstein has provided us with research that is a chilling reminder that war journalists are human, as well as a searing indictment of major news conglomerates who have refused to acknowledge or address the suffering of their own.
PTSD and Veterans: A Conversation with Dr. Frank Ochberg
How do we help veterans who are returning from war with PTSD? Dr. Frank Ochberg, a leading authority on PTSD, shares his experiences, seasoned insights and suggestions in this intimate conversation with reporter Mike Walters. He shares his insights regarding common symptoms to look out for and the importance of building trust and other aspects of the patient-therapist relationship. He then explains techniques he has developed that help his clients work through the trauma and adapt to civilian life.
Mapping Trauma and Its Wake: Autobiographic Essays by Pioneer Trauma Scholars
Mapping Trauma and Its Wake is a compilation of autobiographic essays by seventeen of the field's pioneers, each of whom has been recognized for his or her contributions by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Each author discusses how he or she first got interested in the field, what each feels are his or her greatest achievements, and where the discipline might - and should - go from here. This impressive collection of essays by internationally-renowned specialists is destined to become a classic of traumatology literature. It is a text that will provide future mental health professionals with a window into the early years of this rapidly expanding field.
Post-Traumatic Therapy And Victims Of Violence (Psychosocial Stress Series)
Frank M. Ochberg, MD is adjunct professor of psychiatry, criminal justice and journalism at Michigan State University. He served in the cabinet of Governor William Milliken as Mental Health Director. His book, Post Traumatic Therapy and Victims of Violence, is widely acclaimed as one of the leading resources in the field.
In this long-awaited memoir, Lifton charts the adventurous and surprising course of his fascinating life journey, one that took him from what he refers to as, "a Jewish Huck Finn childhood in Brooklyn, to deep and meaningful friendships with many of the most influential intellectuals, writers, and artists of our time—from Erik Erikson, David Riesman, and Margaret Mead, to Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut, Stanley Kunitz, Kenzaburo Oe, and Norman Mailer.
This work is more than a memoir, it is also a remarkable study of Hiroshima survivors. Lifton explored the human consequences of nuclear weapons, and then went on to uncover dangerous forms of attraction to their power in the spiritual disease he calls nuclearism. Lifton writing illuminates the reversal of healing and killing in ordinary physicians who had been socialized to Nazi evil. Written with the warmth of spirit—along with the humor and sense of absurdity—that have made Lifton a beloved friend and teacher to so many, Witness to an Extreme Century is a moving and deeply thought-provoking story of one man’s extraordinary commitment to looking into the abyss of evil in order to help others move past it.
Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming
In this original psychological literary work, Dr. Jonathan Shay continues what he started in his book, Achilles in Vietnam. Uses the Odyssey, the story of a soldier's homecoming, Shay sheds light on the pitfalls that trap many veterans on the road to recovery, the return to civilian life. The combination of psychological insight and literary brilliance feels seamless. Shay makes an impassioned plea to renovate American military institutions and in doing so deepens the readers understanding of the veteran's experience.
Trauma Journalism personalizes this movement with in-depth profiles of reporters, researchers and trauma experts engaged in an international effort to transform how the media work under the most difficult of conditions.Through biographical sketches concerning several significant traumatic events (Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine school tragedy, 9/11, Iraq War, the South Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina), students and working reporters will gain insights into the critical components of contemporary journalism practices.
After the War Zone: A Practical Guide for Returning Troops and Their Families
Two experts from the VA National Center for PTSD come together in this work to provide an essential resource for service members, their spouses, families, and communities. They shed light on what troops really experience during deployment and once they return home. Pinpointing the most common after-effects of war and offering strategies for troop reintegration to daily life, Friedman and Slone cover the myths and realities of homecoming; reconnecting with spouse and family; anger and adrenaline; guilt and moral dilemmas; and PTSD and other mental-health concerns. With a wealth of community and government resources, tips, and suggestions, After the War Zone is a practical guide to helping troops and their families prevent war zone stresses from having a lasting negative impact.
Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges
Experiencing trauma at some point in life is almost inevitable, overcoming it is not. This inspiring book identifies ten key ways to weather and bounce back from stress and trauma. Steven M. Southwick incorporates the latest scientific research and interviews with trauma survivors. This book provides a practical guide to building emotional, mental and physical resilience after trauma.
Trauma Therapy in Context: The Science and Craft of Evidence-based Practice
This book examines several current clinical approaches to trauma-focused treatment. Rather than describe theoretical approaches in isolation, the editors have integrated these interventions into a broader clinical context. Chapter authors emphasize basic therapeutic skills such as empathic listening, instilling resilience, and creating meaning, in the service of empirically-supported, highly efficacious trauma interventions. Throughout, they focus on the real-life challenges that arise in typical therapy sessions to deepen our understanding and application of evidence based interventions.
While this book is intended for all clinical mental health professionals who work with trauma survivors it is also a phenomenal resource for those who seek to broaden their understanding of the way various approaches to understanding treatment of trauma.
The award-winning author and noted psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton offers a powerful critique of American militarism during the Vietnam War. Home from the War is recognized as the ultimate text for those working with Vietnam veterans, the book's insights have had enormous influence among psychologists and psychiatrists all over the world.
The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide
The Boston Globe called this book, "A powerful reminder not only of what happened, but of the monumental evil done by the particular human beings who were trained to heal and cure."
Based on arresting historical scholarship and personal interviews with Nazi and prisoner doctors, the book traces the inexorable logic leading from early Nazi sterilization and euthanasia of its own citizens to mass extermination of "racial undesirables."This extraordinary work combines research and analyzation to describe a seemingly contradictory phenomenon of doctors becoming agents of mass murder. With chilling literary power, Lifton describes the Nazi transmutation of values that allowed medical killing to be seen as a therapeutic healing of the body politic.
When Trauma and Recovery was first published in 1992, it was hailed as a groundbreaking work. In the intervening years, Herman’s volume has changed the way we think about and treat traumatic events and trauma victims. In a new afterword, Herman chronicles the incredible response the book has elicited and explains how the issues surrounding the topic have shifted within the clinical community and the culture at large.
Covering Violence: A Guide to Ethical Reporting About Victims & Trauma
More essential now than ever, Covering Violence connects journalistic practices to the rapidly expanding body of literature on trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and secondary traumatic stress, and pays close attention to current medical and political debates concerning victims' rights.
Sharing the Front Line and the Back Hills is a story that points to a crisis facing international institutions and the media who seek to alleviate and report human suffering throughout the world. The goals of the editor are to tell the story of thousands of individuals dedicated to helping others; and to integrate issues of protection and care into all levels of planning, implementing and evaluating international intervention and action. The book identifies approaches that have proven useful and explores and suggests future directions.
The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence
Ervin Staub explores the psychological, cultural, and societal roots of group aggression. He sketches a conceptual framework for the many influences on one group's desire to harm another: cultural and social patterns predisposing to violence, historical circumstances resulting in persistent life problems, and needs and modes of adaptation arising from the interaction of these influences.
Drawing on more than 30 years of criminal justice experience, author Susan Herman explains why justice for all requires more than holding offenders accountable it means addressing victims three basic needs: to be safe, to recover from the trauma of the crime, and regain control of their lives.
Arnold Isaacs, who spent the final years of the war in Vietnam as a correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, describes his firsthand observations of the collapse of Cambodia and South Vietnam―from the 1973 Paris peace agreement to the American evacuation of Saigon and its aftermath―with heartbreaking detail, from the devastated battlefields and villages to the boats filled with terrified refugees.
Lost Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles
This is the story of the Northern Ireland troubles told as never before. It is not concerned with the political bickering, but with the lives of those who have suffered and the deaths which have resulted from more than three decades of conflict
A Country Called Amreeka: U.S. History Retold through Arab-American Lives
The history of Arab settlement in the United States stretches back nearly as far as the history of America itself. For the first time, Alia Malek brings this history to life. In each of eleven spellbinding chapters, she inhabits the voice and life of one Arab American, at one time-stopping historical moment.
This book seeks to tell the life stories of the innocent men and women who have been needlessly swept up in the “war on terror.” As we approach the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, this collection of narratives gives voice to the people who have had their human rights violated here in the U.S. by post-9/11 policies and actions.
Unsettled/Desasosiego: Children in a World of Gangs/Los niños en un mundo de las pandillas
With profound empathy for a reality that is too easily defined and dismissed as repugnant, Unsettled/Desasosiego takes us on a visual journey into the lives of children deeply affected by civil war and gang violence.
Legal Lynching: The Death Penalty and America's Future
Legal Lynching offers a succinct, accessible introduction to the debate over the death penalty's history and future, exposing a chilling frequency of legal error, systemic racial and economic discrimination, and pervasive government misconduct.
War Photographer is a documentary by Christian Frei about the photographer James Nachtwey. As well as telling the story of an iconic man in the field of war photography, the film addresses the broader scope of ideas common to all those involved in war journalism, as well as the issues that they cover.
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
For the first time in the United States comes the tragic and profoundly important story of the legendary Canadian general who "watched as the devil took control of paradise on earth and fed on the blood of the people we were supposed to protect.
Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination from Sparta to Darfur
In Blood and Soil, Kiernan examines outbreaks of mass violence from the classical era to the present, focusing on worldwide colonial exterminations and twentieth-century case studies including the Armenian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin’s mass murders, and the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides.
Ophuls examines attitudes toward war in the Western media, and in the societies they inform. The 243-minute documentary interlaces stark realities of combat with mordantly hilarious references to Hollywood fantasy-versions of war, and includes over 50 interviews with some of the world’s leading journalists, commentators, historians, newscasters and many others.
An enthralling, deeply moving memoir from one of our foremost American war correspondents. Janine Di Giovanni has spent most of her career—more than twenty years—in war zones recording events on behalf of the voiceless. From Sarajevo to East Timor, from Sierra Leone to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia, she has been under siege and under fire.
Echoes of Violence: Letters from a War Reporter (Human Rights and Crimes against Humanity)
Echoes of Violence is an award-winning collection of personal letters to friends from a foreign correspondent who is trying to understand what she witnessed during the iconic human disasters of our time--in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and New York City on September 11th, among many other places.
With inspiring fearlessness, McClelland tackles perhaps her most harrowing assignment to date: investigating the damage in her own mind and repairing her broken psyche. She begins to probe the depths of her illness, exploring our culture's history with PTSD, delving into the latest research by the country's top scientists and therapists, and spending time with veterans and their families.
Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide
This ground breaking book, the first collection of original essays on genocide to be published in anthropology, explores a wide range of cases, including Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Bosnia.
Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values
In 2002 Donald Rumsfeld signed a memo that authorized the controversial interrogation practices that later migrated to Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere. From a behind-the-scenes vantage point, Phillipe Sands investigates how this memo set the stage for divergence.
Shoah is Claude Lanzmann's landmark documentary meditation on the Holocaust. Assembled from footage shot by the filmmaker during the 1970s and 1980s, it investigates the genocide at the level of experience: the geographical layout of the camps and the ghettos; the daily routines of imprisonment; the inexorable trauma of humiliation, punishment, extermination; and the fascinating insights of those who experienced these events first hand.
Humankind has struggled to make sense of human-upon-human violence. Edited by two of anthropology's most passionate voices on this subject, "Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology" is the only book of its kind available: a single volume exploration of social, literary, and philosophical theories of violence.
Guzmán focuses on the similarities between astronomers researching humanity’s past, in an astronomical sense, and the struggle of many Chilean women who still search, after decades, for the remnants of their relatives executed during the dictatorship. Patricio Guzmán narrates the documentary himself and the documentary includes interviews and commentary from those affected and from astronomers and archeologists.
In his extraordinarily gripping and thought-provoking new book, Jeremy Bowen charts his progress from keen young novice whose first reaction to the sound of gunfire was to run towards it to the more circumspect veteran he is today
The Secret Life of War: Journeys Through Modern Conflict
The Observer's chief foreign correspondent Peter Beaumont, takes us into the guts of modern conflict. He visits the bombed and abandoned home of Mullah Omar; discovers a deserted Al Qaeda camp where he finds documents describing a plan to attack London; talks to young bomb-throwers in a Rafah refugee camp. Unflinching and utterly gripping
France's leading sociologist shows how, far from reflecting the tastes of the majority, television, particularly television journalism, imposes ever-lower levels of political and social discourse on us all.
Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom.
Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World
MINDFULNESS reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that you can incorporate into daily life to help break the cycle of anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and exhaustion. It promotes the kind of happiness and peace that gets into your bones. It seeps into everything you do and helps you meet the worst that life throws at you with new courage.
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
Full Catastrophe Living is a book for the young and the old, the well, the ill, and anyone trying to live a healthier and saner life in today’s world. By using the practices described within, you can learn to manage chronic pain resulting from illness and/or stress related disorders.
Slee: A Very Short Introduction, addresses the biological and psychological aspects of sleep, providing a basic understanding of what sleep is and how it is measured, a look at sleep through the human lifespan, and the causes and consequences of major sleep disorders.
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust.
This is a new edition of the world's leading textbook on journalism. Translated into more than a dozen languages, David Randall's handbook is an invaluable guide to the 'universals' of good journalistic practice for professional and trainee journalists worldwide.
Legends of People Myths of State: Violence, Intolerance, and Political Culture in Sri Lanka
This provocative study of the political culture of nationalism in Sri Lanka and Australia - is one of the few genuinely comparative studies in anthropology and in taking up such an important question as nationalism it reminds us that truly relevant anthropology questions deep-seated cultural beliefs, including our own
Family Secrets: Shame and Privacy in Modern Britain
Family Secrets offers a sweeping account of how shame--and the relationship between secrecy and openness--has changed over the last two centuries in Britain. Deborah Cohen uses detailed sketches of individual families as the basis for comparing different sorts of social stigma.
During World War Two, 131 German cities and towns were targeted by Allied bombs, a good number almost entirely flattened. Six hundred thousand German civilians died—a figure twice that of all American war casualties. Seven and a half million Germans were left homeless. Given the astonishing scope of the devastation, W. G. Sebald asks: Why?
The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan
Christina Lamb's evocative reporting brings to life the stories that no one else had written about: the abandoned victims of almost a quarter century of war. Her unique perspective on Afghanistan and deep passion for the people she writes about make this the definitive account of the tragic plight of a proud nation.
House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-Torn Zimbabwe
Christina Lamb's powerful narrative traces the history of the brutal civil war, independence, and the Mugabe years, all through the lives of two people on opposing sides. Although born within a few miles of each other, their experience growing up could not have been more different.
Butcher & Bolt: Two Hundred Years of Foreign Failure in Afghanistan
Butcher & Bolt brilliantly brings to life the personalities involved in Afghanistan’s relationship with the world, chronicling the misunderstandings and missed opportunities that have so often led to war.
Jerusalem 1913: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Jerusalem 1913 shows us a cosmopolitan city whose religious tolerance crumbled before the onset of Z ionism and its corresponding nationalism on both sides-a conflict that could have been resolved were it not for the onset of World War I. With extraordinary skill, Amy Dockser Marcus rewrites the story of one of the world's most indelible divides.
They Fought for Each Other: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Hardest Hit Unit in Iraq
Based on "Blood Brothers," the award-nominated series that ran in Army Times, this is the remarkable story of a courageous military unit that sacrificed their lives to change Adhamiya, Iraq from a lawless town where insurgents roamed freely, to a safe and secure neighborhood. This is a timeless story of men at war and a heartbreaking account of American sacrifice in Iraq.
The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle against America's Veterans
Aaron Glantz reported extensively from Iraq during the first three years of this war and has been reporting on the plight of veterans ever since. The War Comes Home is the first book to systematically document the U.S. government's neglect of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Madame Dread: A Tale of Love, Vodou, and Civil Strife in Haiti
Kathie Klarreich's compelling memoir interweaves shattering political events with an intensely personal narrative about the Haitian musician Klarreich, who turns out to be as enthralling and complicated as the political events she covered.
In the tradition of Helter Skelter and In Cold Blood, Columbine is destined to be a classic. A close-up portrait of hatred, a community rendered helpless, and the police blunders and cover-ups, it is a compelling and utterly human portrait of two killers-an unforgettable cautionary tale for our times
Juvenile, photographer Joseph Rodríguez spent several years following several youths, from arrest, counseling, trial adjudication, and incarceration, to release, probation, house arrest, group homes, and the search for employment and meaning in their lives.
By age twelve, Luis Rodriguez was a veteran of East Los Angeles gang warfare. This story is at times heartbreakingly sad and brutal, Always Running is ultimately an uplifting true story, filled with hope, insight, and a hard-earned lesson for the next generation.
Still Here, documents the ongoing expressions of hope, perseverance, and suffering in the still-devastated communities of New Orleans and Texas post hurricane Katrina. Rodríguez spent two years photographing and interviewing families and individuals who shared their daily struggles to rebuild their lives.
Breaking News, Breaking Down, Two journalists' emotional journey after 9/11 & Katrina - This program tells the hidden story of how traumatic news impacts the men and women who cover it. Mike Walter loved chasing the big story, but on one September morning, the biggest story of his career chased him down: a jet rained from the sky, piercing the Pentagon and shattering his emotional well being.
One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers
The debate about women and torture has, until recently, focused on women as victims of violence. The essays in One of the Guys challenge and examine the expectations placed on women while attempting to understand female perpetrators of abuse and torture in a broader context.
Monstering: Inside America's Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War
Tara McKelvey — the first U.S.journalist to speak with female prisoners from Abu Ghraib — traveled to the Middle East and across the United States to seek out victims and perpetrators. McKelvey tells how soldiers, acting in an atmosphere that encouraged abuse and sadism, were unleashed on a prison population of which the vast majority, according to army documents, were innocent civilians.
Gogo Mama : A Journey Into the Lives of Twelve African Women
This book is a journey across Africa, in all its complexity; from the townships of Johannesburg, to the back alleys of Zanzibar; from the frontline of the war in the Sudan, to the nightclubs of Cairo. It is a vivid, illuminating and often haunting composite picture of an extraordinary continent, in the words of the women who know it best.
Shaking the Foundations: 200 Years of Investigative Journalism in America
This is the first anthology of its kind, bringing together outstanding practitioners of the muckraking tradition, from the Revolutionary era to the present day. Ranging from mainstream figures like Woodward and Bernstein to legendary iconoclasts such as I. F. Stone and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the dispatches in this collection combine the thrill of the chase after facts with a burning sense of outrage
Trauma Therapy in Context: The Science and Craft of Evidence-based Practice
This book examines several current clinical approaches to trauma-focused treatment. Rather than describe theoretical approaches in isolation, the editors have integrated these interventions into a broader clinical context. Chapter authors emphasize basic therapeutic skills such as empathic listening, instilling resilience, and creating meaning, in the service of empirically-supported, highly efficacious trauma interventions.
Ari Goldman’s exploration of the emotional and spiritual aspects of spending a year in mourning for his father will resonate with anyone who has lost a loved one, as he describes how this year affected him as a son, husband, father, and member of his community.
What began as a project to deepen his knowledge of the world’s sacred beliefs turned out to be an extraordinary journey of spiritual illumination, one in which Goldman reexamined his own faith as an Orthodox Jew and opened his mind to the great religions of the world. Written with warmth, humor, and penetrating clarity, The Search for God at Harvard is a book for anyone who has wrestled with the question of what it means to take religion seriously today.
Being Jewish: The Spiritual and Cultural Practice of Judaism Today
In Being Jewish, Ari L. Goldman offers eloquent thoughts about an absorbing exploration of modern Judaism. A bestselling author and widely respected chronicler of Jewish life, Goldman vividly contrasts the historical meaning of Judaism's heritage with the astonishing and multiform character of the religion today.
This book is a collection of reflective crime pieces, often approaching the events from different angles, yet written by on-the spot observers and reporters. There is an emphasis on the victims, and as a result these stories are written with sensitivity and compassion rather than sensationalism.
This fully revised and updated new edition of Smart Health Choices will provide you with the tools for assessing health advice, whether it comes from a specialist, general practitioner, naturopath, the media, the Internet, or a friend. It shows you how to take an active role in your health care, and to make the best decisions for you and your loved ones based on personal preferences and the best available evidence.
9/11: Mental Health in the Wake of Terrorist Attacks
This book comprehensively describes the psychological response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and, to a lesser degree, Washington DC. The impact of what happened on the local and US national population is considered through various epidemiological studies, as well as personal accounts from some of those more directly involved.
Filled with astonishing personal stories, conflict, and drama, Feet to the Fire gives readers the rare opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of this nation’s most powerful journalists and news executives and experience their highly stressful environments. With each new and revealing interview, Borjesson gathers devastating details from national security and intelligence reporters, White House journalists, Middle East experts, war correspondents, and others. Like pieces of a terrible puzzle, these conversations combine to provide a hair-raising view of the mechanisms by which the truth has been manufactured post 9/11.
Chronicling Trauma: Journalists and Writers on Violence and Loss
Grounded in the latest research in the fields of trauma studies, literary biography, and the history of journalism, this study draws upon the lively and sometimes breathtaking accounts of popular writers such as Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Graham Greene, and Truman Capote, exploring the role that trauma has played in shaping their literary works. Underwood notes that the influence of traumatic experience upon journalistic literature is being reshaped by a number of factors, including news media trends, the advance of the Internet, the changing nature of the journalism profession, the proliferation of psychoactive drugs, and journalists' greater self-awareness of the impact of trauma in their work.
Daring to Feel: Violence, the News Media, and Their Emotions
Daring to Feel is a bold, brave book. Jody Santos challenges the entrenched doctrine that journalists are neutral, dispassionate observers of 'fact.' Santos demonstrates how journalists themselves and society as a whole benefit from emotionally nuanced and emotionally engaged reporting. This is a beautifully written tribute to the passion of journalists and the heart-wrenching stories they cover.
The Things They Cannot Say: Stories Soldiers Won't Tell You About What They've Seen, Done or Failed to Do in War
In The Things They Cannot Say, award-winning journalist and author Kevin Sites asks these difficult questions of eleven soldiers and marines, who—by sharing the truth about their wars—display a rare courage that transcends battlefield heroics. For each of these men, many of whom Sites first met while in Afghanistan and Iraq, the truth means something different. One struggles to recover from a head injury he believes has stolen his ability to love; another attempts to make amends for the killing of an innocent man; yet another finds respect for the enemy fighter who tried to kill him. Sites also shares the unsettling narrative of his own failures during war—including his complicity in a murder—and the redemptive powers of storytelling that saved him from a self-destructive downward spiral.
Kevin Sites, the award-winning journalist, covered virtually every major global hot spot as the first Internet correspondent for Yahoo! News. Beginning his journey with the anarchic chaos of Somalia in September 2005 and ending with the Israeli-Hezbollah war in the summer of 2006, Sites talks with rebels and government troops, child soldiers and child brides, and features the people on every side, including those caught in the cross fire. His honest reporting helps destroy the myths of war by putting a human face on war's inhumanity.
Swimming with Warlords: A Dozen-Year Journey Across the Afghan War
Using his trademark immersive style, Kevin Sites uncovered surprising stories with unexpected truths. He swam in the Kunduz River with an infamous warlord named Nabi Gechi, who demonstrated both his fearsome killing skills as well as a genius for peaceful invention. Sites talked with ex-Taliban fighters, politicians, female cops, farmers, drug addicts, and diplomats, and patrolled with American and Afghan soldiers. In Swimming with Warlords he helps us to understand this kingdom of primitive beauty, dark mysteries, and savage violence, as well as the conflict that has cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives--and what we might expect tomorrow and in the years to come.
The Price They Paid is the stunning and dramatic true story of a legendary helicopter commander in Vietnam and the flight crews that followed him into the most intensive helicopter warfare ever—and how that brutal experience has changed their lives in the forty years since the war ended.
What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars
Most Americans are now familiar with PTSD and its prevalence among troops. In this groundbreaking book, David Wood examines the far more pervasive yet less understood experience of those we send to war: moral injury, the violation of our fundamental values of right and wrong that so often occurs in the impossible moral dilemmas of modern conflict.
Collective Conviction: The Story of Disaster Action
Collective Conviction tells the story of Disaster Action, a small charity founded in 1991 by survivors and bereaved people from the disasters of the late 1980s, including Zeebrugge, King's Cross, Clapham, Lockerbie, Hillsborough and the Marchioness. The aims were to create a health and safety culture in which disasters were less likely to occur and to support others affected by similar events.
When Lynne O’Donnell met Pauline and Margaret in Iraq she could never have guessed the wealth of stories she’d discover. Over tea the two women tell Lynne of their lives in the country: each having married Iraqi men had then relocated from England more than thirty years before.