Karen's Memoir - What A Body Remembers

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On a summer night in 1984 nineteen year old UC Berkeley sophomore Karen Thomas leaves her uniformed patrol job at the UC Police Department and walks home alone in darkness. At the threshold of her apartment a man assaults her at knife point. After a soul chilling struggle she manages to escape.

But though she survived the emotionally devastating assault, she is plunged into an incomprehensible reality: she's unhinged by the sound of footsteps slapping concrete, terrified of the dark, and yet she pays her rent and clings to a shaky identity by wearing a police uniform, working for a police department, patrolling the dark streets of a sprawling campus and crime-ridden city, walking other women home to safety. Her only protection is her uniform.

Traumatizing her further is the crash course she receives on the flaws of our criminal justice system. She testifies at her attacker's preliminary hearing, then suffers through a scathing cross examination at jury trial. Through all of it she feels completely alone.

Ironically, she herself later goes on to become a criminal defense lawyer, defending people accused of crimes as heinous as the one committed against her.

Fast-forward to 2014, thirty years after her assault, when her life,once again, appears to be crumbling. As she stumbles her way through the days, navigating a dying marriage, devastating financial loss, and an elderly mother slipping into dementia at disheartening speed, she becomes fascinated by her own anxiety, by the PTSD still triggered by the sound of footsteps and she wonders, why does the body remember what the mind tries so desperately to forget? Her questions prompt a delayed obsession with her assailant: Whatever became of him? What is he doing now? She begins a quest of excavation, determined to track him down. What she discovers is life altering.

What A Body Remembers is the intimate memoir of a woman's traumatic past catching up with her, an honest, from-the-gut account of that woman's journey to regain her power and confidence --a journey continuing to this day.