Minnesota Rape Survivor Danielle Leukam Tells Her Story of Survival on the Air
Danielle Leukam (pronounced like-um) is a mom, a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic, and a whole bunch of other great things. She's also a rape survivor, and she's stepping up to tell her story of that horrible November day in 2018 (Read More: 250 Months in Prison For Raping and Terrorizing St. Charles Woman).
I am a survivor of rape and sexual assault, an advocate, an activist, a member of the Survivor Advisory Group to the Governor of Minnesota, a nurse, a writer, a blogger, a mom, and as I have recently discovered - a lioness. Danielle Leukam
For this story, we're not starting at the beginning. We're starting where Danielle is now. From Life After Sentencing, a recent entry on her website danielleleukam.com,
As Shanda Rhimes says in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “There’s something about experiencing the worst day of your life that is oddly freeing.” So here we are. I’m finally doing what I’ve always loved doing: writing and sticking up for people – my fellow survivors. I just hope for you it doesn’t take what it took for me to pursue your passion.
Processing a traumatic event takes a lot of time, and I asked Danielle, basically, what's today's struggle? Where are you now compared to last year?
DANIELLE: "It's a good question. I think the thing that I struggle with the most right now is how it affected my son. So that morning...he heard the man come to the door and then he thought it was his dad. He (the rapist) came to the (bedroom) door and said, Hey, are you still in there? Don't try to leave. And I said, we're on the second story. I'm not going to leave. And, so I had to tell my son that it was a man fixing our shower that was in the house. I didn't want to tell him the truth. I couldn't tell him the truth for the longest time..."
Her path to today includes a "whole bunch of therapy", and she feels "so much better" than in the early days of recovery, "...but it's my son...he didn't deserve that, he didn't deserve to have to move from his home, to have his life threatened. I mean, he was three years old at the time. Um, so that's been the hardest probably."
Danielle Leukam has written a book to tell her story, both for herself and for "all the other survivors that feel like they don't have a voice. I am willing to share my story and be that voice because somebody else's survival story can be another person's survival guide. And I'm okay with that being my story,"
But please know she's not asking for sympathy. She's not looking for anyone to be angry for her. What she's looking for is allies. Be an ally, stand by the side of women that report, believe them.
Please, if you're feeling alone, if you feel like no one believes you, if you feel scared, click play to hear the conversation. You are not alone. (From Monday, February 15ths Rochester Today on KROC NEWS. Scroll down to hear the podcast.)
Listen to Danielle tell her story of survival in the player below:
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