Hosted by the Women’s Center, author Ashley Warner visited OpenGrounds to read from her newly published memoir “The Year After.” Warner read aloud two excerpts from her memoir, which included an account of her rape at the age of 24 and the events of day-to-day life for survivors of sexual assault.
Warner reached out to the Women’s Center at the University of Virginia for a chance to read from “The Year After” to any interested students and faculty. In addition to sharing from her memoir, Warner explained why she wrote the book, and what misconceptions still cling to the topic of sexual assault and misconduct – especially on college campuses.
“People should know what this is really like, the aftermath of trauma,” said Warner. It’s not pretty. It’s an isolating, lonely journey.”
According to Warner, her hope in writing her memoir was to create “a report from the trenches, that shows the day-to-day process and suffering” of survivors of sexual trauma, having found little material on the subject herself.
While she does cover topics related to prevention, Warner focuses her story on the post-trauma experience. “Consent is an important part of the conversation,” said Warner. “We want to address that, too, but it’s important to know what we’re dealing with.” When discussing the roles that others can take in support of the survivors, Warner stressed empathy as most important. She attested personally that “the best help is to offer to listen. If you are trying to help a friend, the best thing you can do is put yourself in their position and listen. It’s an underrated skill.”
In addition to leading workshops and discussions, Warner works with survivors of sexual assault by offering services for psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. She has had a private practice in New York City since 2002.