When it Comes to Rape Past is Always Present

Sally Edelstein December 1979

My introduction into the go-go 80s was less than auspicious.

43 years ago today I was getting ready to celebrate a new decade-the 1980s.

Instead, it is remembered as the day I was brutally raped.

On the cusp of a new decade, the first new decade I would enter as an adult, it should have been celebratory. But an intruder into my N.Y.C. apartment early that morning changed my life forever.

On New Year’s Eve, the whirlwind of parties surreally continued as planned. The Veuve Clicquot flowed more than my tears, as I bottled up my feelings, putting a cork in them. In time, they fermented and under pressure would ultimately explode.

The Past Is Present

Sally Edelstein December 1979

Sally Edelstein December 1979

Past is always present for me. Like the movie Groundhog Day, it is always December 29, 1979.

Post-traumatic stress disorder knows no time structure. There often isn’t a past tense. Memories are fragmented, free-floating in time. They pounce into the present unbidden in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and images you cannot control.

sally Edelstein

Anguish Sally Edelstein December 29, 1979, and today at home 2022

Today I think of that 24-year-old young woman who had been filled with such promise and was too scared to reach out for emotional help.

So I speak for her now and wrap my heart around her as I do for all those who struggle with past pain that is very much in the present.





  1. The worst thing that can happen to a young woman, I’m so sorry that this happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. It was a different time too, when women were less protected by the laws.

      Liked by 2 people

      • And not believed. “What were you wearing?” “Why were you out so late?” “Were you drinking?” “Well what did you expect?” I’m not sure it’s very much better today than back then as far as the numbers go, but at least you’ll be believed. Not by the vetters of the Supreme Court Justices, of course, but usually by local law enforcement. Usually. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are exactly right. I was questioned about what I was wearing, not taking into account that this rapist broke into a penthouse apartment in the morning and discovered me in bed asleep. The rape shield laws had only recently gone into effect in NY and the detectives were still old school. It was horrific.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. There are still places that are just horrible, but at least we’re moving forward. I’m so sorry for you, for me, for all of us today, yesterday, and (sadly) tomorrow, no matter what we’re wearing, drinking, where we’re standing, dancing, or who we are adjacent to–there’s no world in which this is anything but a terrible, terrible crime.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It seems the victim usually is treated as responsible for the crime, one reason victims too often don’t report the crime. I’m sorry you experienced this vile crime, Sally. I bet you weren’t the rapist’s only victim, though I hope he eventually got caught and sentenced to prison.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing this tragic moment in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

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