October 2023 - Volume 08 Issue 02

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O c t o b e r 2 0 2 3

V o l u m e 0 8

I s s u e 0 2

A J o u r n a l i s t i c C o l l a b o r a t i o n o f t h e

A r i z o n a S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y O n l i n e C o m m u n i t y

ASU Traditions: Fall


Written by Leslie Madrid

Whether it be bobbing for apples or carving

pumpkins, we all have traditions when starting the

fall season. Arizona State University happens to

have a couple of their own that welcome students

into their fall semester. Usually starting near the

end of October, the university hosts ‘Homecoming

week,’ where students, alumni, faculty, and even

fans are invited to show their Sun Devil spirit.

Continued on Page 24

In This Issue

The Reading Nook 02

The New World 08

Pass/Fail 12

Not Your Usual Love Story

Ch. 7: The Proposal 18

ASU Traditions 24

Rising from the Ashes: Healing

from Sexual Assault 28

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

The Reading


Reviews, What’s Next, and More

By: Natasha Geiger

Currently Reading:

“The Love Scribe” by Amy Meyerson

I absolutely love Amy Meyerson, so this was a nobrainer

to pick up and read. The story follows the

life of Alice who writes love stories - literally. So far,

this storyline is a perfect mix of magic and real life.

The Reading Nook 02

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023


“Strangers in the Night” by Heather Webb

Time it took to read: 3 days

“For a moment, I smiled, knowing she would feel my love again

somehow, and that she’d feel it for always.” This quote says it all.

“Strangers in the Night” was more a love story than a history

lesson about Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner. The book walks you

through their lives together as friends, lovers, and even enemies. I

had no idea about the scope of their relationship, so I was glued to

this book immediately. The writing was raw and beautiful like each

conversation truly happened and could be felt throughout the

entire book. While it was a great book, I gave it four out of five

stars because there were moments that the storyline became

repetitive. For example, I could predict what would happen at

certain points because they happened before. However, I would

highly recommend this book to anyone interested in music and

entertainment history!

I had such high hopes for this next book… But wow…

The Reading Nook 03

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

“Mercury Pictures Presents”

by Anthony Marra

Time it took to read: 1 week

“Beverly Hills tasted of orange blossoms, Chanel No. 5, and tailpipe.” I loved how

descriptive this quote was, it was like I could really smell all of it. “Mercury

Pictures Presents” is a story about Maria Lagana who immigrated from Italy to

the United States before World War II and worked her way up at a movie

production company called Mercury Pictures. Another storyline running parallel is

a story about Maria’s father who is still in Italy and is not allowed to leave. I’ll be

honest, this was a rough book. It took everything in me not to quit reading halfway

through, especially after reading sentences like this: “Every day the war in

Europe produced melodrama to rival Hollywood’s most indolent imaginations.” This

sentence alone felt like there were just too many words. I struggled with trying

to find an overarching theme, a problem to solve, anything, and I couldn’t find one!

I think the biggest pain point for me was both storylines were just so busy it was

hard to keep up and understand the reason for the book at all. I’m sorry to say,

but I can’t recommend this book - unless you’re a glutton for punishment.

*Deep breath*

A much-needed cleanse was in order. Are we surprised by this next book?

The Reading Nook 04

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

“The 5th Horseman” by James Patterson

Time it took to read: 3 days

“Keep your expectations low,” Jacobi growled. “Okay, Warren. They’re subterranean.” Who doesn’t

like a good chuckle in a murder mystery? The 5th installment of the Women’s Murder Club series is

about the four women of the murder club - a police detective, medical examiner, journalist, and

lawyer - trying to solve several murders. But the murders have a twist. They are all happening in a

hospital. The victim is admitted to the emergency room, is almost better, and is then given a drug

that essentially gives them a stroke or heart attack. I always say it and I’ll say it again: you can’t

go wrong with these books. I was instantly sucked into the storyline, and I thoroughly enjoyed how

much of this book was centered around a court case while the police case was almost like a sidebar.

One of the best parts for me was not being able to solve the case and being in utter shock at the

end. I had to put the book down and pick it back up because I didn’t believe it!

“The 6th Target” by James Patterson

Time it took to read: 3 days

“He stopped signing and said in a loud stage whisper, “Hey Lindsay, you really think you’ve got me?”

Chills. The 6th Target tells the story of two different crimes, both of which the Women’s Murder

Club is trying to solve quickly. After a shooting on a ferry leaves several dead, Detective Lindsay

Boxer and her team need to find the alleged killer before they hurt anyone else. Then at another

turn, children are being kidnapped right off the streets of San Francisco, but there are little to no

patterns to follow up on to understand why these kids are being kidnapped. Somehow these

storylines with the same characters continue to get better and better each time. Neither of the

crimes were connected and I enjoyed how they needed solving at the same time. Even though they

were happening simultaneously, it was still easy to follow.

The Reading Nook 05

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

“The Princess Spy” by Larry Loftis

Time it took to read: 1 week

“Come, Divina, let’s tango while our ship is sinking.” This quote was

quirky, cute, and flirtatious, how perfect! This book is about a woman

named Aline Griffith who was recruited to be a spy during World War

II in the ‘neutral’ country of Spain. Through the months she grows into

one of the top spies in the organization and even continues working

after getting married, which typically doesn’t happen. This is a true

story and I found it interesting how Loftis molded facts with fiction.

However, there were moments when it was hard to read because it was

so thick with facts. I would definitely recommend this book for any

historical fiction nerd or someone interested in the espionage world.

What’s Next:

“Got Your Number”

by Mike Greenberg

“The Uncommon Reader”

by Alan Bennett

While I may not have enjoyed each book to its fullest

- there’s always the next one!

See you next month for more reviews!

The Reading Nook 06

Graduation Countdown



Graduation Countdown 07

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023


By: Annelise

When it was still years away, I was excited for my consciousness to be

uploaded to the virtual world. I counted down the days until I would

join the rest of my family and friends who had already been uploaded.

Maybe Earth had been beautiful at some point. My grandparents used

to tell me stories about the Old World that their grandparents had

passed down to them. The beaches of Hawaii had clear waves you

could surf on, and the mountains of Norway used to jut into the sea.

My grandma said that people used to live in houses big enough to keep

animals in! That part always amazed me. I saw a cat once before cats

went extinct. It was running across the street while I was looking out

our only window. Oh, and apparently there was a tower in Italy that

everyone thought would be leaning forever. I wasn’t surprised to hear

that it eventually fell. What did everyone think was so cool about an

architectural mistake anyway?

The New World 08

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

When you grew up in the New World like me, stories of the Old

World are especially hard to believe. Natural disasters like fires

and earthquakes have destroyed much of the Earth’s beauty. Birds

are one of the few animals left, who my dad used to call “the rats

of the air.” That’s another animal that’s left: rats. The world has

become overcrowded and full of pollution, and I want to escape it.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to experience life in a virtual world where

anything is possible? Where everyone is beautiful (who would

include their imperfections when designing their avatar)? Where

you can travel to any place at any point in time? All you would

have to do is think of Paris in the 1920s in the rain to be in the

same room as Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. Where you

can run with the cheetahs, fly with the eagles, and swim with the

sea turtles? None of those animals even exist in the New World!

But as I approached the age of transition, my excitement turned to anxiety

and fear. What about the people staying in the New World? What if I

regret leaving this body behind? It’s all I’ve ever known. What if something

happens to the virtual world and it’s destroyed with me in it? How am I

supposed to trust the creators? They could very well turn out to be one of

the many groups trying to solve the overpopulation crisis.

The New World 09

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October 2023

That’s why I’ve decided to see Dr. Harper. Supposedly, he will

have the answers to my questions and reassure me that I am

making the right choice. After all, there is no more hope of saving

this planet. What I want is to leave this world behind, right?

Dr. Harper calls my name, and I follow him into his office.

The New World 10

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

Find Us


Find Us Online 11

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

Pass/Fail By: Levi Sweeney

It was not unusual for Dr. Walter England III to be late for class. Punctuality

was not a trait he possessed. There were many traits of successful college

professors which he did not possess. Dr. England was not a successful

college professor.

He was late today, not just because he had overslept, but because he was

wading through a mob of student protestors who had assembled on the

pavement outside the student union of the college. He dimly registered the

loud, raucous ranting of somebody talking into a bullhorn while standing on

top of a makeshift podium in the middle of the crowd.

“You gotta speak the truth!” bellowed the young man with the bullhorn. He

was biracial, with a shaved head, and wore a black T-shirt with a colored

picture of the continent of Africa on it. “You gotta stand up and say

something!” The crowd cheered.

“Pass/Fail” 12

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October 2023

Dr. England stopped just outside the door of his

classroom, and turned to listen to the speaker. Look at

him, thought Dr. England, who was just shy of thirtyyears-old.

That guy? Standing in front of a crowd,

talking about something he’s passionate about?

“You gotta resist! You gotta say to the man, ‘This is

what I think of you and what you did!’”

Dr. England pushed his glasses up his nose. Yeah. He’s

got the right idea.

Dr. England stepped into his classroom, where his students were already assembled, and he

stalked to his desk, plopping his laptop case and backpack onto it. His class was mostly

quiet, with a few people mumbling to themselves.

“Alright,” said Dr. England, stepping out to speak to the class. “This is the last day of class.

I don’t think there’s any need to hide this from you. Some of you might actually already

know, if the administrators who sign my paychecks, and my contract, have done what they

told me they were going to do.”

Dr. England paused for effect. He searched the eyes

of his students, hoping that at least some of them

might feel an uncanny, gnawing sensation in their

stomachs. Like he was about to announce some kind

of horrible, tragic, surprise news.

“You all failed,” said Dr. England. He didn’t smile.

“The final exam for English 101 which you all had to

take in a last-ditch effort to save your collective

grades… well, not a single one of you did better than

forty percent on that thing.”

There was a smattering of muttering and whispers

from among the assembled students. Dr. England

couldn’t help but feel depressed that the students

were surprised at the results he had just announced.

“Pass/Fail” 13

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October 2023

“I’ll be frank,” said Dr. England, “this does not reflect well on me as a professor. No, it does

not reflect well on me at all. If you little cusses failed, under my instruction, well… that

means I’m a bad teacher.”

Dr. England paused for effect again. He had some experience in amateur theater.

“Well, guess what?” said Dr. England, taking out a marker to write on the whiteboard. “I’m

not a bad teacher. I’m a pretty smart guy, I think.”

Dr. England went over to the whiteboard, and began writing on it in big, easily read letters.

“No,” he said, “get a doctorate in English, graduate at the top of the class, and then

produce a class of academic bottom-feeders in a community college, because they were

not a good teacher. Not that such a task is a great use of my time anyway.”

Dr. England tapped the word on the whiteboard

he had just written. “M-O-R-O-N-S,” he said out

loud. “That’s what you people are. I’m not one. So

the reason you all failed is pretty evident, I think.”

Just then, one of the students, a young black man

with dreadlocks, who was sitting in the back of

the class, said, “Dude, just… dude. You made us

watch old movies from the eighties, had us discuss

them in small groups, and then gave us some kind

of grammar test at the end of the quarter. What

did you think our final grade would be?”

“Pass/Fail” 14

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October 2023

“I don’t know,” said Dr. England smoothly. “What did you think your

final grade would be?”

The young man in dreadlocks muttered something unprintable, and

then leaned back in his chair, shaking his head.

“That’s what I thought,” said Dr. England. He turned to the class

again. “Look, I just want you all to know,” he said, “that I have

thoroughly hated, just hated, every second of the last quarter here, in

this classroom. I am just… speaking the truth.”

And with that, Dr. England picked up his still bundled-up laptop case

and backpack, and walked out of the classroom. “Have fun with

remedial education, morons,” said Dr. England. “I’m going to go do

something useful with my time.”

Dr. England then walked out of the classroom door, not bothering to

let the door close before he left.

Another one of the students in the classroom, a Vietnamese girl

named Tracy, peered over her desk, slightly confused. The student in

dreadlocks, whose name was Elijah, got up from his desk, and walked

over to one of the windows of the classroom. He pressed his face

against the window to get a clear idea of where Dr. England had gone.

“Pass/Fail” 15

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October 2023

“I’ll be,” said Elijah.

“Where’d the professor go?” said Tracy.

“What do we do now?”

“Uh…” said Elijah. “I think he’s joining

that BLM protest outside.”

The entire class sat there. They were all

eighteen or nineteen years of age.

Elijah, meanwhile, just stood there at

the window. He then turned around to

face the rest of the class, and said,

“So… I don’t know what anybody else

here thinks, but I… uh…”

Elijah walked up to the front of the

class. He cleared his throat.

“Uh, yeah,” he said. “I… uh… I, yeah, I

get the impression that the professor

just… I guess… just don't like learning

very much… you know?”

“Pass/Fail” 16

October 2023


1 2 3 4 5 6



Session A




8 9 10 11 12 13 14






Session B





16 17 18 19 20 21




25 26 27



30 31
















- International Coffee Day

- World Farm Animals Day

- Mean Girls Day

- National Cinnamon Roll Day

- National Get Funky Day

- Fall Session A Ends

- International Day of Peaceful Communication

- International Newspaper Carrier Day

- Indigenous People’s Day

- Fall Break Begins

- Fall Session B Begins

- Fall Break Ends

- Ancestor’s Day

- International African Penguin Awareness Day

- Global Handwashing Day

16 - Global Cat Day

17 - Int’l Day for the Eradication of Poverty

18 - National Mashed Potato Day

19 - World Humanitarian Action Day

20 - International Chefs Day

21 - American Frog Day

22 - National Make a Dog’s Day

23 - Maha Navami

24 - World Polio Day

25 - Lung Health Day

26 - National Mule Day

27 - National Breadstick Day

28 - National Immigrants Day

29 - National Oatmeal Day

30 - National Candy Corn Day

31 - Halloween



Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

Not Your Usual

Love Story

By: Sayalee

Chapter: 7

The Proposal

I would be lying if I said that my relationship with Oliver was smooth sailing after we got back

together. Like any other couple, we had our differences. Sometimes it seemed like we had a knack

for having huge fights and arguments about the smallest things. We are in August now, which

means we just had our two year anniversary and it’s been two months since we’ve been back

together. So we decided to take it a step further and move in together. It has been amazing and

stressful at the same time. It feels nice to have someone to go home to. But sharing a house means

sharing space. Both of us realized that we are not great at that. And both of us are really stubborn

to ever accept when the other is right. But at the same time, it is nice to have someone who can

help you during those stressful days. Plus, if one of us is going to be late, the other one prepares

dinner. We have also made it a habit to have dinner together whenever our schedule permits.

Chapter 7: The Proposal 18

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

It was the morning of August 18th when my alarm woke me up at 7 a.m. Like usual, I tried to find

Oliver to give him a hug before starting my day. To my surprise, his side of the bed was empty. I

got up and checked my phone to see a text message from him. Apparently he had some work he

needed to get to so he left early. I just sent an “okay” and got ready for my day. It was a busy day

but a routine one. Later in the day, it was 7:30 p.m when someone knocked on my door. I said

“come in” without looking.

“Hey” Oliver said.

“Hey! What are you doing here?”

“Come on. I am taking you out for some dinner. Want to have some sushi?”

“Yes please.”

“Let’s go.” We held hands and then walked out of the office together.

We reached the restaurant and ordered our food. We talked about

our respective days as we ate. It was something both of us were used

to: eating together and talking about our days.

As we got up he said “Come on, let’s take a walk.”

“You’ll see.”

“Sure. Where are we going?”

We walked for a good ten minutes and then we

stopped near the Somerset House fountains. He

knew the fountain was my favorite place. I went

inside but the water was turned off. I gave a

confused look to Oliver and he replied with a

shrug as if he was saying “I don't know why the

fountain is off.”

Chapter 7: The Proposal 19

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

I was about to ask him again when I heard music. It took me a few seconds but I

recognized the song. It was “Dancing With a Stranger!” I pulled Oliver to dance with me,

in the dry fountain plaza. He refused but I wasn’t taking no as an answer. I practically

dragged him and made him dance. After a few seconds, I lost track of what Oliver was

doing. I was just lost in the music. Just swaying and dancing, with a huge smile on my

face. As the song ended, I heard fireworks. So I looked up and sure enough, I could see

various colored fireworks. They looked spectacular. I called Oliver by saying “Hey look at

the…” I stopped short as I realized that he was exactly behind me, down on one knee.

I just stared at him with eyes wide open. He said, "Sara, from the moment I met you, you

drove me crazy. You filled a void in me that I didn’t even realize was there. From our first

date where we almost ran into my ex, to you meeting my friend, I fell in love with the way

you always have to have the bed sheet without wrinkles, your hundred different playlists

for everything, your unhealthy passion and obsession for Bollywood actors and your

ability to clean any dirty place, no matter how tired you are. You make me laugh, you

make me cry, but most of all you make me a better man. After our breakup, I realized

that I never wanted to be apart from you and I have been waiting for the right moment to

do this. I love you Sara. Will you marry me?"

Chapter 7: The Proposal 20

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October 2023

And I started crying. He looked at me with an amused expression which made me laugh. I

said yes and told him to get up. He slipped the ring on my finger, got up, kissed me, and

then I gave him the biggest hug. And I whispered in his ear, "I love you." And that's when the

water started gushing from the fountain and we got soaked to the bone. But we didn’t care

and we just basked in the glow of being newly engaged and stayed in each other's embrace.

Both of us were insanely happy as we started our journey home. I had a bounce in my step

and I kept on giving him random hugs or pecks and dancing in the street. I didn’t care who

saw us being crazy. We were fools in love, who just got engaged.

Once we got home we immediately changed into dry clothes.

“We need to call our parents.” I said.

“Mine already know. I requested their advice about the ring.”

“Oh really?”


“Well they have good taste.”

“Really? I spent money to buy that ring and got

down on one knee for you and they get the credit?”

I just laughed at his pathetic attempt at being mad. “Okay fine. Thank

you my dear fiancé for proposing to me. Happy?”

He came near me and wrapped his arms around my waist and replied

“Yes, very much. Now let’s call your parents.”

“Okay let’s do it.”

“And my best friend.”

Chapter 7: The Proposal 21

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

We called up my parents and my sister first. My

mom picked the phone up first.

M: All of us are great. How are you, and how’s Oliver?

S : Hey Mom! How are you? How’s dad? And how’s Neha?

S: We are great. Actually, I wanted to talk to you guys. Are dad and Neha around?

M: Yeah, they are here. I’ll get them. Wait.

D: Hey Sara, how are you? Here’s Neha as well.

Them: Yeah.

(We wait for a few minutes)

S: Hey, Dad! Hey, Neha! I am great. I actually had some news to share, so are you ready?

M: Wonderful!! Show me the ring Sara. (I show her my ring). It is so

beautiful! Simple yet elegant. Exactly your style. Good choice, Oliver.

D: That’s amazing!! Congratulations to both of you!!

N: Sucker! Now you are stuck with Sara for your lifetime. Why

would you do that yourself Oliver? I thought you were smart.

S: (I show them the ring) I am engaged!!

S: Thank you Mom and Dad!! And Neha shut up.

O: Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Malhotra. And Neha, I love your sister very much and I

proposed to her because I am smart. And now I am looking forward to being your

brother-in-law. Maybe we can plan something to annoy your sister.

S: (I punch his arm lightly) Excuse me?! Don’t even think about it.

O: Wouldn’t dream of it babe. (He winked at Neha through the screen.)

Chapter 7: The Proposal 22

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October 2023

And then all of us proceeded to talk about every single

thing that had happened.

After hanging up the phone a while later, I said “that

went really well.”

“I know! Okay, you call your best friend. I have an early

morning, so good night, I love you.”

“Good night. I love you too.” He gives me a quick peck

and goes to the bedroom. While I just stare at him,

wondering how I got so damn lucky.

I called up my best friend and told her the whole story,

with every single detail of how he proposed to me. She

swooned at the right moments, and, before I knew it, it

was time for bed. After promising her that I will talk to

her more often and come visit her soon, I snuggled

close to Oliver and let sleep take over.

Chapter 7: The Proposal 23

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

Arizona State University Traditions:

Fall Semester Edition

By: Leslie Madrid

Continued From

Cover Story

In honor of homecoming week, here are some ASU traditions to “spark” your excitement:

1. Lantern Walk

Help light up Tempe with one of the most memorable

(and oldest) traditions ASU has where students are

encouraged to climb to the top of the “A” mountain

with lanterns.

This favored tradition allows students, alumni, and

staff to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors

who attended ASU, whether it was back in 1885 when

the university opened its doors, or just last year.

ASU Traditions: Fall Semester Edition 24

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October 2023

2. Legends Luncheon

Are you a big football fan? Are you a big

Sun Devil fan? If so, this is the perfect

tradition for you to be involved in!

The Legends Luncheon is an event held

every year by ASU alumni, the Sun Devil

Club, and Sun Devil athletics to

celebrate the football legacy dating all

the way back to 1971.

To join these legacies on October 17 at

the Omni Tempe Hotel, you can

purchase your tickets here.

3. Parade

If you like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then

you’ll love this one.

Okay… Well, maybe they don’t actually compare, but

who doesn’t love a parade?! The ASU homecoming

parade is definitely not one to miss, especially since it’s

the one of the biggest events where you can show your

Sun Devil pride. The parade features student

organization floats, the ASU Marching Bands, and even

local celebrities to help this tradition come together.

In case I haven’t convinced you how awesome this

sounds, check out some of the photos from last year’s

homecoming parade.

ASU Traditions: Fall Semester Edition 25

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

Images from the ASU Homecoming Parade

4. Block Party

What better way to show your ASU

pride than enjoying some food,

giveaways and games, all brought to

you by the different departments and

organizations. The Block Party is an

event hosted on Old Main’s lawn going

all the way down University Drive right

after the Parade.

This fun-filled event has something for

everyone to enjoy, all the while making

people of all ages feel like they’re right

at home. It’s the perfect place to

reminisce about past memories with

old friends or make new ones with

someone right around the block!

ASU Traditions: Fall Semester Edition 26

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October 2023

5. Sun Devil Football

While football games aren’t necessarily considered as

traditions, there’s nothing like this Sun Devil filled event.

Throughout the duration of the game, there are a couple of

different traditions for participants to watch or partake in.

At the start of the game, the ASU community is encouraged

to welcome the team with their pitchforks up, to the song

“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC. Moving on to kick off, Sun Devils

are encouraged to shake their keys and make some noise to

show some team spirit, which is followed by Sparky doing

some push ups for every point on the scoreboard.

And that’s not even

half of it- for more

traditions, check out

the educational

outreach and student

services page.

Being an online student can make participating in

these traditions hard, so with your help Online Sun

Devils, let’s come up with our own!

ASU Traditions: Fall Semester Edition 27

Volume 08 Issue 02

October 2023

How to: Recover from Sexual Assault

Piecing yourself back together after Sexual Assault

Rising from the Ashes:

A Guide to Healing after Sexual Assault

Trigger Warning: This article discusses sexual

assault, and may be triggering for some readers

In the summer of 2021, I was sexually assaulted in the parking lot of my gym. This was

not the first time that I had been sexually assaulted, but it was the most violent and it

ended up leaving the most impact on me. It was also the only time that I chose to go to

the hospital, file a police report, tell someone what had happened and seek help.

Following the assault, I remember feeling hopeless and lost. I knew that I couldn’t heal

on my own so I turned to the internet. I tried to find an article that would tell me exactly

what I needed to do. However, all I found at the time were articles filled with medical

jargon and those were not what I was looking for. I didn’t find comfort or healing in

articles that broke down what happened to me—I already knew what happened to me.

Within this article I have outlined the steps that I took to begin my healing journey. I

have mixed in my own personal experiences as well, to avoid coming off impersonal like

the articles that I had read. It is my hope that you can find solace within this guide as I

have over the years.

Rising From the Ashes 28

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October 2023

1: Don’t Blame Yourself.

Following sexual assault you may be met with questions that cause self blame such as;, ”What were

you wearing? Why were you with them? Why didn’t you do more?, etc. These questions may come

from people that you know, those in society and you may even ask them yourself.

Antonieta Rico, army resilience directorate, touches on the prevalence of victim blaming in her article

It really wasn’t your fault: How Understanding the Brain’s Response to Trauma Can Lessen Victim-

Blaming and Self-Blame. “Lack of understanding by fellow… friends, Family… and law enforcement of

the brain’s response to trauma can lead to victim blaming…and impact their ability to get support or

justice. Survivors' own lack of knowledge of these trauma responses leads to shame, guilt, and selfblame”.

You must not blame yourself for what happened to you. The clothes you were wearing, the place

you were at, the people that you were with, and what you did or didn't do does not excuse what

happened to you.

Personally, I felt as though I was to blame for what happened to me because of

the interactions that followed. At the hospital I was met with these questions by

staff and law enforcement. The forensic nurses added onto that sense of shame

with their side conversations, whispers and stares. Certain people that were close

to me at the time chipped away pieces of my remaining self-worth with their

questions and comments as well. Whether these individuals realized it or not,

(whether it was intentional or not) the way they looked at me, the things they

said to or about me, and how they carried themselves around me sent me into

what felt like a never ending cycle of self-blame, shame, disgust and guilt.

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October 2023

2: Talk about what happened.

When you are ready, talk to someone that you trust about what happened. A professional that

specializes in sexual assault or trauma will be able to equip you with the coping mechanisms, tools

and resources that you will need to recover.

However, if you are hesitant to speak with a professional early on you can always reach out to

someone close to you i.e. friends or a family member. There is a chance that someone you know

may have experienced a traumatic event as well, and can understand what you are going through.

With that being said, at some point I encourage you to reach out to a professional.

Charlie Health Editorial Team discusses the benefits of therapy for sexual assault survivors,“If you are

a survivor…seeking treatment is crucial for your overall mental health and well-being. You do not

have to continue to suffer from flashbacks, distressing emotions, nightmares, shame, guilt, or any

other symptoms you might feel”.

It is important to note that you may have to meet with a few professionals before you find someone

that is right for you (there is nothing wrong with switching professionals until you find someone that

makes you feel comfortable, seen and heard).

I chose to reach out to friends and family members first. I was afraid to reach

out to a therapist because I associated therapy with admitting that I had a

problem. Therapy also meant that I would have to face what happened to me. I

quickly realized that my loved ones would not be able to give me the support

that I needed and I turned to a trauma specialist. Therapy was painful at first

—she had me recount what had happened to me every few sessions, she unlocked

memories that my brain wanted to shield me from. But therapy was also freeing

—she taught me about my brain and what the brain does in response to

trauma, she taught me that my reaction to trauma was ok and it was normal,

she taught me coping mechanisms for my flashbacks and nightmares, and she

diagnosed me. The traumas that I experienced left me with Post-Traumatic

Stress Disorder , and PTSD left me with traits that I don’t particularly like but

I gained the ability to feel and live again.

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October 2023

3. When you’re ready, let yourself feel.

It can be easy to bottle up all of your feelings and choose to let yourself go numb after a

traumatic event.

You may think, Having experienced sexual assault itself is painful enough, why should I

prolong that pain by reliving what happened to me? Why let myself feel my feelings when I

can occupy myself with things that make the pain go away?

Bottling up your feelings means that you will feel it eventually. Eventually those bottled up

feelings will cause you to explode, which will only prolong your pain. Allowing yourself to

feel your feelingsa little bit here and there will allow you to heal.

Initially, I tried to act as though nothing had happened to me. I bottled up my

feelings which led to emotional outbursts and a short fuse. Then I turned to

negative coping mechanisms such as isolation, eating disorders, suicidal idealation

and self sabotage. Locking myself up in my depression room that was filled with

dirty dishes and clothes, skipping meals, wishing that my assaulter had killed me

and watching my college grade point average dwindle was not the answer. I ended

up feeling everything all at once; I cried and screamed into my pillows until I had

no more tears left to shed, my throat was raw, my voice was gone and I did so for

weeks. After a while I started to feel better—feeling my feelings was painful in the

moment, but it also released my pain bit by bit as well.

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October 2023

Rape and sexual assault hotlines

U.S: National Sexual Assault Hotline – A confidential, free 24/7

hotline for one-on-one crisis support. Call 1-800-656-HOPE

or chat online. (RAINN)

UK: Find Your Nearest Rape Crisis Services – In England and

Wales, call the rape crisis helpline at 0808-802-9999 or find

your nearest facility (Rape Crisis)

Australia: Services and Support – Call the national helpline at

1800-737-732 or find services near you. (1800RESPECT)

Canada: Canadian Assault Centres and Services – Find a hotline

or crisis centre near you. (Chatelaine)





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October 2023

Meet the Team



Natasha Geiger

Kitana Ford

Sayalee Chivate

Leslie Madrid

Annelise Markussen

Levi Sweeney


The Spark Board of Directors

Imani Mitchell


Brittany Christian


Savannah Tyk LeDoux

Board of Directors

Leslie Madrid

Editor in Chief

Workshop Team

Sayalee Chivate

Annelise Markussen

Advisory Team

Brianne Frazier

Roxanne Wilcox

Annelise Markussen

Director of Editing

Sayalee Chivate

Director of Writing

April Fan

Director of Graphic Design

Sydne Ware

Director of Communications

The Spark Team

The End

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