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What A Body Remembers: A Memoir of Sexual Assault and Its Aftermath

On a summer night in 1984, nineteen-year-old UC Berkeley sophomore Karen Thomas leaves her uniformed patrol job 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. Though she is left traumatized by her assault and the subsequent trial of her attacker, she herself goes on to become a criminal defense lawyer, defending those 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, she becomes fascinated by her own anxiety and PTSD. Why does the body remember what the mind tries so desperately to forget? Her questions prompt a delayed obsession with her assailant: What 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 an honest, from-the-gut account of one woman's journey to regain her power and confidence — a journey that continues to this day.

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