____Macbeth Shakespeare (act 4, scene 3)

Give anger words; the anger that does not speak is a feeling buried alive that never dies.

The abortion of justice lodges in the hippocampus of the brain where it remains forever.

Justice was aborted for too many survivors of sexual assault, thus creating a second wound.

Judith Herman has devoted her life to helping victims of sexual trauma.  She wrote: Trauma and Recovery.  Bessel van Der Kolk is widely know for his extensive research on post traumatic stress syndrome, published in Psychological Trauma.  Ann Burgess, a nurse, studied the reactions of rape victims and published her research on Rape Trauma Syndrome.  

My books: Doctors Who Rape (Longwood Academic) 1991; The Search for Paul David (First printing 1995); and Doctors Who Rape: Malpractice and Misogyny (Revised and Expanded Edition 1997).

Doctors Who Rape was included in the FBI library.  In addition, the book was listed in the top 100 best sellers on the subject of rape.

What are immediate reactions to sexual assault?  There is a myth that all victims are hysterical and crying.  Research does not support this myth.

“Our data did not support this myth.  To the contrary, we observed two contrasting styles: expressed style, in which feelings of fear, anger and anxiety were expressed verbally or shown through such behavior as crying, shaking, smiling, restlessness, and tenseness; and controlled style, in which feelings were masked or hidden, and a calm, composed, or subdued affect was seen” (Burgess and Holmstrom, 1979, p. 118).

Some women react to their tenseness by smiling.  Burgess and Holmstrom explain: “Sometimes when feelings are unbearable, the victim will defend psychologically or substitute another feeling.  As one woman who smiled occasionally during the interview said, ‘Laughing is better than crying.’  (p. 120).

In Recovery, Benedict, a rape researcher and counselor, notes some victims act “indifferent” as though they are “explaining a math problem,” or they “crack jokes,” (p. 24).  She explained that “this control is a way of protecting yourself from the shock, but it can be most confusing to friends, who expect to see you shaken and sobbing” (p. 24).

Burgess and Holmstrom provide yet another valuable insight about the controlled style of coping: It is important to some victims that they present a “strong” appearance (p. 120).  Apparently, it would be difficult for them to be seen as having problems or falling apart.  The need to appear strong may be caused by a sense of pride or a fear of rejection if the victim is seen as weak.  The researchers noted that the individual with a need to be strong discusses feelings of defeat and powerlessness rather than concerns about other people’s reactions to the assault (Burgess and Holmstrom, p. 328).



A Survivor’s Reflections: “Maybe providence intervened in one sense: There was no doubt in my mind about what had occurred in the doctor’s office. Furthermore, I had told a number of people about what the doctor had done. Finally, I even committed myriad details to a notepad. Many victims of abuse probably haven’t been able to do this. For these individuals, the details of a rape or incestuous attack might become more or less buried in a collage of many other memories through the years.”

Many therapists believe that trauma survivors sometimes block the memory of a traumatic experience from their consciousness. (See Ottawa Recovered Memory.) However, the concept of “repressed memory” has been denied by other therapists. Diana Russell has addressed the heated debate with her assertion that some individuals on both sides of the argument have erred.

More than four decades ago, no one talked about rape or incest. Then, in 1975, Susan Brownmiller’s groundbreaking work, Against Our Will, was published. In the late 1970s, the trauma of rape was addressed by Ann Wolpert Burgess, a nurse, in Rape: Crisis and Recovery. These books validated the experiences of millions of women who had suffered in silence. Incest survivors, too, were encouraged to come out of their prison of silence, and reveal the damage imposed by their perpetrators.  In 1978, Sexual Assault of Children and Adolescents was published (Ann Wolpert Burgess). The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children was published in 1980 (Florence Rush).

As early as 1972, Phyllis Chesler mentioned the problem of sexual abuse by psychiatrists in her book Women and Madness. Ann Burgess’s groundbreaking work, Sexual Exploitation by Health Professionals was released in 1986. Pauline Trumpi drew from a wealth of published papers and her own experience in writing Doctors Who Rape (first published in 1992). An expanded, updated edition went to press in 1997: Doctors Who Rape: Malpractice and Misogyny.

Rape, sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation have been recognized as not only real, but traumatic. These abuses are often kept secret because of stigma and shame.



Birthmother, First Mother, Adoptee



Dear Birthmother



The Choice to Not Abort

The rapist made “a referral” to an abortion doctor.  I was repulsed.  Abortion never crossed my mind.

Does that mean I am not pro-choice?  No.  That decision should always remain with the woman or girl who is pregnant.  I would counsel no one to walk my path.

I  cannot be like those who shout support for pro-life but don’t care what happens after the baby is born.  They rarely offer to help the new mother and do not consider the eighteen years of childcare ahead.  Many believe the “solution” is adoption but are blind to the damage suffered by the mother.  More recently, adoptees are speaking about their wounds created by adoption.