Karine Z., SANE Program Manager, attended a book reading event on April 28, organized by the Sexual Assault Action Team of Anoka County.
Last Saturday was a cold, raw, and rainy day. One of those days that makes you think twice before venturing out, yet inside the Rum River Library was an atmosphere of warmth and, even, intimacy as Patricia Weaver Francisco shared her journey of life after rape.
I’ve read Patricia’s book – twice! I’ve also heard her speak before, but there is something indescribable about listening to an author read her own words. The emotion and power behind each word, as she sits on a stool in the front of the room, is impossible to miss. Each time I have the privilege of hearing her I am awed at her kindness, compassion and strength. Patricia shares her pain, fears, successes, and regrets with a generosity, grace, and honesty that has a profound effect on everyone in the room.
In the past, both when reading the book or hearing Patricia talk, my focus was always on the event and her response to it. Maybe it was the way she spoke or the portions of the book she chose to read, but this time it was her perception of how others responded that stood out. The emergency room physicians’ and nurses’ gentleness and care with her. How the nurse who cared for her at HCMC responded with kindness and knowledge. The way her friends, Laurie and Deborah, allowed her to talk about the rape and actually listened to her. They listened, and they loved, and they hurt whenever she needed them to for long as she needed them to. I wonder how many of us really know how to listen. I wonder how many victims of rape have friends like Deborah or Laurie. I wonder if I listen well enough when caring for my patients.
Saturday I did think twice about venturing out. I am profoundly grateful that I did. I have lots to ponder from my time with Patricia at the Rum River Library. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak take the opportunity. Patricia not only can tell, she can listen.
Read more about the Sexual Assault Action Team’s other big April event, the “Silent No More” Zumbathon ®, here.