Inspiring Story of Survival
Imagine the world, as you know it changing drastically in a matter of a few hours. Perhaps you are a victim of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or tornado. Maybe your car or love one's is broadsided by a drunk driver. Or, as in the case of Donna J. Ferres, you are busy at work, thinking about your plans for the weekend, when suddenly; you are fighting for your life.
In the book Undying Will: A true Story of How One Woman Survived a Brutal Rape and Near Murder to Bring Her Attacker to Justice, Ferres tells the horrifying story of being kidnapped, raped, stabbed, and left for dead, and how it dramatically changed her and her view of the world.
After a lengthy hospitalization and innumerable surgeries to heal her body, Ferres has to work on healing her mind. "My first reaction was to want to reach out and embrace her," she writes of visiting a therapist who shared her own experience of being raped. "Instead, I shut down, folding my arms tightly around my small torso, as if to protect myself from hearing any more. My body language spoke louder than any words. My response angered me. This is who I became, a person who could not offer consolation to another."
When people are exposed to life-threatening trauma, trust and safety are abolished. Confidence is lost. "Locked in my bathroom leaving only to get something to eat, I felt like a prisoner," Ferres writes, "I would look outside my window, watching cars speed by and people walking their dogs. When the mailman would come to drop the mail in the door slot, I would hide."
She continues: "I couldn't watch TV or listen to music because it made too much noise. I needed to hear everything that was going on. I would jump out of my skin each time the phone would ring. I would attempt to read the magazines I had been given in the hospital only to be interrupted by the sound of the refrigerator kicking on or a car turning around in the driveway. The smallest sounds startled me into a panic attack."
After working with a therapist for several months, Ferres finally felt ready to return to work. Of her first days back on the job at the convenience store where she was confronted by her rapist, she writes: "I knew what everyone was thinking. I could read their eyes. They were wondering why in the hell I came back. It bothered me, but I had too much other stuff to deal with."
Indeed, as Ferres begins to fall back into the comforting rhythms of work, she receives a summons for the trial of her attacker. The weeks before the trial are filled with fear, bringing up old feelings of guilt that somehow it was her fault she was attacked. She also learns that victims have few rights at trials of their attackers, something she finds herself working to change in the years after the trial.
The book also includes several appendices, including a section titled "Feeling Safe," in which the author gives practical tips on who my be a target of violent crime and what can be done to help prevent being a victim. The section "Living With Trauma" discusses the process of post-traumatic stress disorder. There is also a list of Web sites where victims of violent crimes can obtain information and help.
Don't miss this poignant tale of a young woman's struggle to live life after the unspeakable happens. Beautifully written and stunningly honest, Ferres lets us walk through a personal nightmare without leaving us hopeless. This poignant tale will forever and profoundly change your life.
Recovery can vary for each individual. It mostly depends on an understanding support system, counseling, justice and validation
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This book is dedicated to all the victims who were not as fortunate as I, to have survived a brutal attack. To the loved ones of the victims, I want to share my thoughts during what could have been the last moments of my life. I hope this will provide insight and solace for those who have lost someone to a violent attack, fearing that the end for their loved ones was painful and terrifying.