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“Turning Tragedies into Triumphs:  Stories & Conversations with Torah Bontrager” is a weekly podcast that features amazing and courageous individuals who have come forward to share their stories with the world.  The conversations between two fellow survivors take place over a virtual dining room table in a safe, judgment-free zone where we not only learn about accounts often never publicly disclosed before, but we also learn a little bit more about Torah along the way.

A companion show to her memoir An Amish Girl in Manhattan, Torah created the podcast to emphasize that trauma (of all colors, shapes, and sizes-- not only sexual) knows no boundaries and that her story of repeat sexual assault, abandonment, parental rejection, identity crises, disastrously failed romantic relationships and trust issues are heartbreakingly universal in our national and global cultures. 

Watch the episodes to be inspired and to know that you're not alone and that you don’t have to be extraordinary to be Extraordinary.  New episodes air each Wednesday. 

Please ask us questions and leave comments.  We will read all of them.  We want this to be an interactive show and build a strong community of support both online and offline.  Every four or five episodes, we will do a special "Question and Answer" segment where we pick from what's been submitted.  The more you comment/ask, the higher your chances of getting answered via the special. 

INVITATION CALL:  If you would like to share your story with the world, please contact us at www.TorahBontrager.com/contact.  No story is insignificant.  The seemingly smallest things that happened to us as children can have a lifetime negative impact if left unaddressed.  This podcast and community is designed for you to feel safe, speak out in your own words and experience non-judgment and unconditional love from a human-hood of strong women, men and other/no-genders.

Apr 27, 2017

Erika W. is a weight and wellness coach and a very recent sexual abuse survivor.  She shares her story on film for the first time.  It just so turns out that this is Torah’s very first time to release her story on film, too, so we are seeing a dual debut.  PLEASE watch Part 2 (a special release tomorrow) for Erika and Torah's commentary and follow-up to this first conversation.   They both have some very important feedback on this first part in Part 2.

TRIGGER WARNING:  This episode goes into more detail than previous episodes about a survivor's sexual assault.  We are seeing the initial aftermath of sexual assault from its very beginning and documenting what a survivor feels and goes through over time as they process what has happened to them.  Part 2 ends on a very hopeful, positive note.  If you feel that Part 1 might be too triggering for you, please watch Part 2.  It will help you as a survivor or empathizer.

We will continue checking in with Erika throughout this season to document her journey.  This is a very rare opportunity to see what a survivor goes through from the very beginning––the immediate aftermath of assault––and how the process plays out over time.  We hope that you continue to come back and refer to this story, as well as all our other survivors’ stories, as an educational resource and to help spread awareness about the facts of our assault impacts us.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).  In solidarity with #SAAM, we have placed their teal ribbon on this month’s episodes.  Teal is the official color of SAAM.  The teal ribbon is the symbol of sexual violence prevention.  Please read the episode synopsis for more information about #SAAM and how you can help and/or be helped as a survivor.
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IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:

  • For the first time, we will hear on film Torah’s story about her assault; Torah has been filmed before––she will appear on the upcoming documentary Hold Me Right–– but this is the very first footage to be released to the public
  • How Torah hopes her memoir will help people
  • What Erika is feeling in the immediate blur and shock of assault; her feelings of self-blame, inability to trust herself and sense of personal responsibility
  • Erika’s attacker’s justifications and refusal to acknowledgment the crime he committed
  • AND why rape is NOT co-creative!!!  It is NEVER the victim/survivor’s fault!  Our society needs to STOP blaming the victim and letting the perpetrators roam free on this planet.  Rape/sexual assault is NEVER okay and should NEVER go unpunished.


LINKS AND RESOURCES FOR THIS EPISODE:

  1. Sexual Assault Awareness Month (for info about SAAM, sexual assault on college campuses, and their work. The NSVRC/SAAM team is available for interviews and is a resource for reporting on sexual violence):  www.nsvrc.org/saam/about; 877-739-3895; resources@nsvrc.org.  Call/email for help.
  2. Grief Recovery Method (for physical and emotional losses, to find grief support groups and for a free ebook for info on the various kinds of grief):  www.griefrecoverymethod.com
  3. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):  www.rainn.org; 800-656-HOPE; live chat.  Get help 24/7.  Free and confidential.   Call/chat if you’ve been violated.
  4. The Journey (for emotional healing and life transformation):  www.thejourney.com
  5. Hold Me Right (a beautiful documentary about the aftermath of sexual assault; check out the trailer):  www.holdmerightfilm.com
  6. See S1Ep17: Brian Young on How Education Provided Him an Escape from Suicide and the Shocking High Rates of Suicide and Depression Among Native Americans for a message of hope
  7. See S1Ep14: Jeselle Hadley-Bacon on How Sexual Assault Is Handled By the Church:  An Amish Bishop Ben Girod Accuses Her of Seducing Her Stepfather and “Fornicating” and “Committing Adultery with a Married Man” for an Amish convert’s disclosure on what goes on inside the Amish church