Long road to recovery from every woman’s nightmare
January 23, 2019
Boston Herald By Jessica Heslam
Olivia Ambrose survived every woman’s nightmare, a random kidnapping off a busy, seemingly safe downtown street. Thanks to urgent detective work and a dramatic police rescue, Olivia's safe at home now. But the road ahead could be difficult.
"The resilience and strength of survivors should not be underestimated," said Toni Troop of Jane Doe Inc. "Whether it's people who are surviving in the moment or who have survived for decades, it is remarkable to me always when you hear what people have endured, to witness their strength."
What happened to Olivia could happen to anyone. No one is to blame but the predator when a woman is attacked, but friends needs to look out for each other if they're drinking or have a plan when they go out, Troop said.
"Know that there are people out there who might not have your best interest in mind," Troop said. "We absolutely want people to be mindful that these risks are there and to be looking out for each other but know that ultimately they're not at fault."
Police way Victor Pena, who has a criminal past including allegations of harassing an ex-girlfriend, spotted Olivia, followed her and then grabbed her shortly after she left Hennessy's Bar on Saturday night. He was caught on video with his hands on her.
For nearly three days Olivia tells police, she was held against her will, as police studied surveillance video, cellphone records and even Charlie Card data, zeroing in on Pena's apartment.
Pena, 38, has been charged with kidnapping and could face more charges. Authorities have yet to disclose details of what happened during those three days. But, police said she was crying and visibly shaken when they arrived.
"We are grateful she has been found," Troop said. "Our hearts and thoughts go out to her and her family."
The healing process is different for every person who has experienced trauma and can take weeks, months or years, said Diana Mancera, who helped kidnapping survivors at a rape crisis center before coming to to work at Jane Doe.
Mancera recalled arriving at hospitals to meet survivors, some of whom were frozen with shock and in disbelief about what they had endured.
Down the road, trauma survivors can experience short-term and long-term triggers, Mancera said. Some like to work with a therapist while others want to forget about what happened. Some want to be surrounded by family and friendss while others want to be alone. "The healing process for everyone just looks really different," Mancera said.
Survivors should seek support, said Manceraa, who said she has been heartened by messages from survivors who have found peace.
Too often, these stories end in the worst manner possible. Olivia's thankfully did not. The young tech worker is home and let's all hope she too gets the support she needs to recover.