Amnesia / Denial

Content Warning: Discussion of sexual assault.

Barbara Barnett does not regret joining the Army in 1971 when she was 19 years old. But she does regret what happened to her while she was completing her advanced training as a typist at Fort Ord in California. A drill sergeant she didn’t know brutally attacked and raped her. She didn’t report it.

“Everybody reacts differently. For me, I just kept quiet about it.” She didn’t realize how numb she had become to it, the sense of amnesia mixed with denial that kept the experience locked far away in her mind, until the memories started coming back years later.

“That’s when the trouble started,” Barbara, 64, says of her long-term battle with the effects of trauma.

Now disabled by PTSD and living on Whidbey Island, she uses painting as an emotional outlet. She is a featured artist through ArtLifting, and donates the sales of her work back to the company, which provides a marketplace for low-income, homeless and disabled artists.

See the full story: “Shouting it from the rooftops”: Women confront abuse — even decades later

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