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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  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.

May 1, 2017

Erika W. is a weight and wellness coach and a very recent sexual abuse survivor.  This is Erika’s commentary on her first recorded conversation with Torah.  They both have some very important feedback on the post-assault process that is very helpful and educational for viewers, survivors and supporters of survivors.  This part ends on a very hopeful, positive note.  

PLEASE watch Part 1 (Episode 16) where Erika shares her story on film for the first time.  It just so turns out that that is Torah’s very first time to release her story on film, too, so we are seeing a dual debut.  

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.


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.




  • Erika and Torah discuss why it’s important to tell others (whether publicly or privately) about our stories:  we need to speak or the trauma and grief will remain stuck in the cells of our bodies and cripple us.    
  • The rare opportunity to record a story of a survivor in the immediate aftermath of assault
  • The shame and self-blame Erika felt while processing the aftermath of assault
  • How sharing her story with Torah has helped Erika release fears of judgment, process her traumas, and feel lighter
  • The patterns of survivors that Erika has noticed when sharing her story with others––patterns that have helped her become more free of self-judgment and fearing others’ judgments
  • AND rape 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.



  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):; 877-739-3895;  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):
  3. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):; 800-656-HOPE; live chat.  Get help 24/7.  Free and confidential.   Call/chat if you’ve been violated.
  4. Hold Me Right (a beautiful documentary about the aftermath of sexual assault; check out the trailer):
  5. See S1Ep16: Erika W. on the Immediate Aftermath of Sexual Assault & Torah’s Story On Film for the First Time + Is Rape Co-Creative? for the common patterns of shame and self-blame a survivor goes through
  6. See S1Ep18: Sarah Alexis on How to Make Art Out of Darkness: Writing and Speaking Poetry for a 1-minute audio-only episode with subtitles set to beautiful cherry blossoms and flowers
  7. 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 how trauma is woven into the DNA of Native Americans