When Heidi Ramer’s mother (Karen) died in 2001, she left behind fifteen years of journals detailing the repeated sexual trauma she suffered at the hands of a colleague. The journals were discovered in her closet in a canvas bag, numbered and stored in chronological order. Intuition placed them in Heidi’s hands and she is the only person ever to read them before now. Though Karen left no instructions for this sacred and intimate dictation of her life, one entry in 1987 stated that, if she died, she wanted her story to be shared. Heidi knew when she read her mother’s words that it would be her honor to use her voice and Karen’s words to fulfill this wish.
As Karen’s story came to life on new paper, Heidi was met with the fear and understanding that her story as the “secondary survivor” was equally important and also deserved a voice. The story of abuse is not one that’s easily told. It doesn’t come up in casual conversation and is not one that’s told without vulnerability and implicit trust. But not telling it, holding that story deep inside, carried a multitude of silent complications. When fear is set aside and truth prevails, a powerful story abounds. Heidi and her mother are entangled through ugliness and beauty, disappointment and redemption, anger and forgiveness, brokenness and healing. Her Words, My Voice is their story.