A common myth about rape victims | AspenTimes.com

A common myth about rape victims

Dear Editor:

I am writing in reference to two articles, “Woman’s harrowing claims of sexual assault spur arrest” and “Nardi free from jail amid new evidence,” that recently ran in your paper about an alleged domestic violence and sexual assault and the subsequent alleged inconsistencies in the victim’s recounting of the incident.

As a volunteer victim advocate in our valley for more than 10 years, I can tell you that I have never encountered a victim of a violent crime who was able to describe a traumatic event with complete consistency over multiple tellings. Let me be clear that I have no knowledge of the current case that our community is confronting; I only wish to caution your readers as well as our criminal-justice system and our media to resist the myth that inconsistencies in a victim’s recounting of a traumatic experience means their story is not true.

Mental-health professionals have learned a lot about post-traumatic stress over the years. One of those lessons is that trauma is experienced in a particular part of the brain and the recounting of that trauma after the fact can be disjointed, nonsequential, incomplete and variable. As a community, we must try to understand the counterintuitive possibility that inconsistencies in a victim’s story may be an indication of severe trauma rather than a falsification of the facts.

Amy Egertson Throm

Snowmass Village

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