The New Superpower for Women
When I was seventeen years old, I was kidnapped from a shopping mall in broad daylight, taken to an isolated location, and sexually assaulted.
I was in a parking lot, getting into my car after my shift at Woodfield Mall in a suburb of Chicago where I was working to pay for my upcoming college expenses. When I saw a man approaching me, all my internal alarms went off. He looked menacing and walked in an odd way. The parking lot was empty. It seemed that he was following me. I had an urge to run but ignored the messages my intuition was sending me, partly because I didn’t know where to run and partly because I didn’t want to cause a scene. I had been singing out loud and was embarrassed that he had heard me.
As I put my key into the lock of my car, a shadow came up behind me. Before I knew it, there was a knife at my throat and I was in the back seat of a car that was parked right across from mine. After I was assaulted, he drove me to a parking garage, set me free, and told me to count to one hundred while he made his getaway. During the time I was held captive and powerless, I managed to consciously catalog details about his car and face, and that information led to his later arrest. He was a repeat sex offender who was on parole for murdering a fifteen-year-old girl named Julie Angel.
That was twenty years ago, and the experience profoundly changed my life. I became a survivor activist and founded Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE), a national nonprofit organization that helps to prevent sexual violence and empower survivors. When Steve Kardian heard my story, one of the first things he said to me was “You are lucky to be alive.” I’ve learned that statistically, the chances
of my surviving that experience and seeing my parents and family again were less than 5 percent.
The New Superpower for Women is a must-read for all women so that they will never have to hear the words “You are lucky to be alive.” It is a must-read for all parents so that they will never have to go through what my mom and dad did.
All of Steve’s passion for women’s safety, his long history in law enforcement, which includes serving as an FBI defense tactics instructor, has been poured into this book. Using real-life scenarios, Steve explains what happens in the moments leading up to an assault and shows that how we respond in those seconds can affect our safety.
Although the perpetrator in my case was a stranger, overwhelmingly it is someone who we know and trust that commits the crime. This book arms us with concrete ways to protect ourselves in these situations as well. Steve also recognizes that crime is never the victim’s fault. Especially in cases of sexual violence, survivors are often blamed and shamed into silence. Steve shatters the silence of sexual violence and equips us with the tools to better defend ourselves.
Shining a light on a culture that too often condones sexual assault and blames survivors, this book illuminates the key to unlocking every woman’s superpower—trusting her own intuition.
Founder and Executive Director of Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE) www.ShatteringTheSilence.org