When this student reads journalist Peter Maass’s article about the rape of Bosnian women during the war, she expresses her fury and indignation at the fact that so many women around the world experience sexual assault. Her memory returns to her own experience: when she was six, a friend of her father’s molested her in his home. She has never been able to share with anyone, but merely thinking about that experience gives her chills.
Once again, what students read in class impacts them emotionally, making them more receptive to the information they read and to the content of their own lives. This student’s reckoning with a memory of abuse constitutes a first step toward healing—and potentially, toward helping both herself and others.
Looking around her, she realizes that many women probably share such stories. She feels grateful to Maass to have written this article, so that more people know about these problems and people who have experienced sexual assault might feel less alone. Thinking about the war in Bosnia and the Holocaust, she realizes sadly that history does indeed repeat itself.
This student realizes the social and emotional power that story-telling can have on people: on the Bosnian women who find their experiences brought to public attention, on herself, and on all the other women like her who might find comfort in knowing that they are not the only ones to have experienced sexual violence.