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That's Odilo Dotcom, Magma's Hai East Coast MOTHE listeners join us on Monday, March 22nd for the ultimate storytelling showdown. Our East Coast Grandslam eight tellers will face off with stories about tipping points. You won't want to miss it. Buy tickets at the moth mortgage events. Welcome to The Moth podcast. I'm your host for This Week, Kate Tellers. This week, we're celebrating International Women's Day with a story of resilience. Beth de Carajo told this story at a main stage in Los Angeles, where the theme of the night was occasional magic before we listened to Beth's story.


We want to issue a strong content warning that story deals with sexual violence and the trauma that ensues from it. So please take care of yourself while listening. Here's Beth live at the mark.


So my father is a really sports oriented person, so he believes in fighting through pain without complaints. He has kind of a mind over matter mentality.


And very early on a Saturday morning when I'm eight years old, we decided to go play baseball while my mom sleeps and my dad drives us to a little tucked away area of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco because he says this spot has the nicest grass since it's sort of hard to find and unfragmented.


When he turns off the car engine, we immediately hear a piercing scream, it's a woman's voice and she's shouting help over and over again.


It's the kind of sound that crawls up your skin and bounces off of every surface around you. My father got very still and then he turned to me and he said, don't move, and he raced out of the car and into the clearing and the shouting stopped.


My heart started pumping out of my chest. I remember feeling exceptionally alert. All of my senses seemed to be functioning at a much higher level of intensity. So a gust of wind sounded like a bomb to me.


My dad never left me alone and I was very scared. So I decided to get out of the van and go look for him. I walked into the clearing and instead of finding my father, I found a woman and she was naked from the waist down, sobbing silently into her hands.


My eight year old eyes didn't understand what I was seeing in front of me, but I remember fixating on the fact that she was standing in the damp grass in her socks and that her running shorts were on the floor and not on her body in public.


The police show up and they find just me and this woman there alone. So they put the both of us in the back of a police car together and it starts driving.


One of the cops was bald and he started asking her questions like, did you get a good look at him, at his face? Would you be able to identify him if you saw him? She said yes. Is there anyone you want us to contact for you? She said, My husband. We didn't interact at all, but I remember that she saw out of the corner of her eye that I was staring at her hands because they were trembling.


And so she sat on them. She put them under her hamstrings. And then the car came to a stop and they said, is that him? She and I turn around and look out the rear window and she says, Yeah, that's him. And she ducks away quickly as to not be seen. And I decide to stare at the man in handcuffs.


He has on a tight blue jeans, a t shirt and a blond mullet. And I decide to cement how he looks into my memory. For some reason, this feels important.


And then the car door opens and it is my dad and I feel immediately relieved, I scoot out, he closes the door and we walk away from the woman. On the way back to the clearing, I pressed him on what's happening, I say, why did you leave me alone? What's going on? That woman's crying. And he said, I know, let's just go play baseball so I could tell this was something that we weren't going to discuss and we go and we play baseball for an hour like nothing happened and we never talk about it again.


But the next week, my dad puts me in something called self-defense classes, and he comes to every class and he makes sure that I take it really seriously.


That same week, I overhear my mom on the phone and she uses the word rape to describe what happened in the park that morning, it was a word I had never heard before.


And I know that that's what my dad didn't want to talk about. And I'm going to figure out what this means on my own.


And this is pre Internet. So my parents kept a thick dictionary in the study and whatever. I didn't understand a word. They would tell me how to spell it and I would go look it up and report back.


But I felt like if I asked them how to spell this, they would prevent me from trying to figure it out. So I remember going on my own and being really frustrated because I thought it was spelled out a IP and it took me a really long time to find.


But eventually I did and it completely shattered my sense of safety. I started to act with increasing hypervigilance. It started with little things. I would panic unless I checked that my parents had chained the doors when I went to sleep.


I would ask people to stand on guard in front of public restrooms when I would use them, and then in high school I realized I wasn't able to sleep unless I knew that my father was home. This got a lot worse when I left for college because I was no longer sleeping under my parents' roof. So my sleeping patterns became very erratic.


And then when I moved to L.A. for work, I realized I couldn't stay in confined spaces with men who are strangers at all anymore. So if I was in an elevator and a man walked in, I would leave and take the stairs and just tell myself that this was normal, precocious behavior.


I think some part of me knew that this was irrational, but it was the only way that I could soothe my panic.


So I kept behaving like this. Then one night, I decided to go see a film at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, when the lights went down, a man cut across the aisle and he sat between myself and the wall. I immediately knew something was wrong because it wasn't assigned seating and there were a lot of other seats more easily accessible to him. He had on a long coat and he took it off and he draped it over the front of him as he sat down.


It was also summertime in Los Angeles and unbearably hot evening. About 10 minutes into the film, I feel the back of his fingers go up my shorts and my body flinches, I feel it again, my body flinches again. I had imagined something like this was going to happen to me at all times. And finally something was and I told myself that I was going to stand my ground.


I was going to say something the next time he does it, the only thing I can muster up from my gut is a whisper. And I turned to him and I just say, please stop.


And then I feel something else on my leg, and I raced into the lobby and tell the manager, he asked me to point him out and it couldn't have been a minute and the guy was gone. Audience member said he ran out the side door exit. I'm still really mad at myself that I didn't use my voice to shout, even though it would have caused a scene.


At that point in my life, I wasn't sure I could tell the difference anymore between actual danger and perceived danger.


I was so used to running worst case scenarios in my mind, and this situation completely validated all my fear, so I convinced myself that this man was waiting outside for me. He was going to follow me home, and when I least expected it, he was going to assault me. I didn't sleep for nearly a week. I thought I was losing my mind. I couldn't function on a very basic level, I couldn't work or turn my back to any window, I was fully paranoid.


My panic had set in, my senses were heightened, every noise sounded like a stalker, and nothing I did this time alleviated the feeling.


I went for a walk because large groups of people could usually calm me down. I got to the Silver Lake Reservoir, which you all know, you'll find people in very shabby chic outfits, but I was just very shabby and disheveled with greasy hair because I hadn't showered in a week.


And I was dressed in my pajamas, I must have looked completely insane. Instinctively, I called my father.


And I remember hearing the worry in his voice. What's wrong, are you OK? What's going on? I didn't know where to start, so I just. Blurted out without thinking. What happened to the woman in the park? It had been 20 years, but without hesitation, my dad said, well, how did you get into the police car?


I told you not to move from the van and I realized that he was waiting to talk to me about this. This was also on the forefront of his mind. So he tells me his side of the story, which is he ran into the clearing when the rapist saw him, he started sprinting away. But this was not the rapist. Lucky day because my father was an Olympic runner. So he caught up with him very quickly. And when he did, he pulled a knife on my dad.


So my dad backed off and he followed from a distance and he shouted at anyone that they passed to call the police.


About 45 minutes later, the police track them down and shortly thereafter we pull up in the car, my dad said when he saw me that a wash of guilt came over him and he never knew if he made the right decision leaving me. I told him that he made the right decision, even though this has deeply affected who I've become, and then I said, well, why didn't you tell me what was going on?


Why didn't you explain to me what rape was?


And he said, I didn't think you should understand when you were only eight. And I think it made me uncomfortable.


And then I said, well, what did happen to the woman in the park?


I want to talk to her.


I want to make sure she's OK, because I think that will make me feel better.


And he said, well, her husband wrote me a thank you letter after the trial and I could try to dig it up from the garage.


But I don't think that's a good idea. You're not a welcome memory for her. And I knew he was right and that that's not my choice to make.


I also knew that finally talking about it made it feel like I was actually getting to control the narrative a little bit more than it was controlling me, like I had pushed the memory a little bit farther into the distance.


I had been trying to circumvent my fear for over 20 years, and that clearly wasn't working. So I decided to put myself in a situation where I felt like I could talk about it all the time.


I decided to get certified to work the Los Angeles rape and battering crisis hotline and hospital accompaniments as an advocate. So on nights and weekends I would go to my training and on my drive home I would usually call my dad and we would talk about what I learned. I eventually got certified, and on my first week, I got a call for my first hospital accompaniment to meet a female survivor in her 40s.


I parked in the emergency room parking lot like I was instructed, I walked to the Sexual Assault Response Center, I identified myself at the door and I was buzzed in.


The nurse met me in the hallway and she said, she's waiting for you in my office.


I walk to the office and I immediately freeze in the doorway because the woman sitting there waiting for me looks nearly identical to the woman from the park that morning.


Everything from the length and color and texture of her hair, her height, her age, her ethnicity. And when I walk to take a seat beside her, her hands are trembling and she sits on them.


I'm not a religious person, I'm not even a spiritual person, but life has a very interesting way of making certain moments feel very profound.


And I felt like this was the closest I was ever going to get to talking to the woman in the park.


So I did.


I held her hand while her body was being inspected for evidence. I answered her questions about next steps and what was going to happen in court. And I tried to support her emotionally as much as I could.


She blamed herself a lot and I reminded her over and over that this wasn't her fault.


After four hours, the exams and questions were done and the police were escorting her out.


She turned to me and she said, thank you for being here, it really helped. The truth is.


I'm probably never going to find out what happened to the woman in the park, but what I have to tell myself now is that someone helped her and that even though this really horrific thing happened to her, she found the ability to feel safe again.


And she didn't have to go through life panicking, flinching at every sound. Because she was able to push this memory farther away, using the same thing she used to call out to my father and I that morning.


Her voice, thanks. That was Beth Drogo. Beth is a writer and director. She was featured in Filmmaker magazine's 25 New Faces of independent film. Beth also turned this story into a screenplay titled Josephine, which received the film Rain and Filmmaking Grant and was featured in the 2008 Sundance Directors and Screenwriters Labs. Beth's freshmen feature Soft and Quiet, is currently in production in Northern California. To check out some photos of Beth at work, head to our website, The Moth Mauga Extras.


Today and all days we celebrate and admire the resilience of everyone who identifies as a woman. But fellow women, we do not have to go it alone. If we're lucky, you will find a bed. We've linked to her org and a few others we've joined forces with in the past at the Moth Gorga Extras. That's all for this week from all of us here at The Moth. Have a story worthy week. Kate Tellers is a storyteller, host and director of Mossberg's at the moment.


Her story, but also bring cheese, is featured in The Moth's All These Wonders, True Stories about facing the unknown. And her writing has appeared on McSweeney's and The New Yorker. This episode of The Moth podcast was produced by me, Julia Purcell with Sarah Austin Genius and Sarah Jane Johnson. The rest of the Moth leadership team includes Kathryn Burns, Sarah Habermann, Jennifer Higson, Meg Bowles, Kate Tellers, Jennifer Birmingham, Marina Whosay, Suzanne Rust, Brandon Grant, Enga good skite and Aldy Kaza.


Both stories are true, as remembered and affirmed by storytellers. For more about our podcast information on pitching your own story and everything else, go to our Web site, The Moth Dog. The Moth podcast is presented by the Public Radio Exchange helping make public radio more public at Riksdag.