“The Second Rape”

The Beyond Fear Podcast is one continuous story, where episodes build from one to the next with the ability to reach back to previous episodes when necessary. Yet, when we started writing the story in episode 1, we didn’t fully recognize the impact that telling the story would have on us. Recording Episode 7 was one of those experiences that is hard to put into words.

In this Episode, we sit down with Alexa’s mom, Stacey Branchini, for a intimate, unscripted and candid conversation about the impact of a criminal trial on a survivor and their family. Often referred to as “the second rape”, the criminal trial is often just as traumatizing as the assault itself. This is evident in our decision to invite Stacey to talk with us, because as we worked on writing this episode Alexa was unable to remember many o f the details from after her rape.  Including Stacey provides a unique perspective of this process and also highlights how trauma due to the rape impacted Alexa’s ability to recall certain events around that time. 

In episode 1, we both talked briefly about our specific experiences with rape. Alexa recounted her experience: “My story begins as a graduate from high school heading away to my first year of college… I was there for about a week and I went out one night with friends. I came home, went to bed in my dorm, I couldn’t sleep, which is typical of me… I walked across the hall to get a glass of water in the communal bathroom and I was assaulted by a man hiding in a shower stall with a knife, a man I’d never seen before.”

In this episode, Stacey and Alexa often refer to “the foundation”. After Alexa’s rape and the criminal justice process that ensued, her family founded the “It Happened to Alexa Foundation” to help survivors and their families navigate the justice process. Specifically, the It Happened to Alexa Foundation provided financial support for survivors and their support networks at the time of trial. This included airfare, lodging, money for meals, and more throughout the time of the trial.

We hope that this episode provides insight for our listeners into “the second rape”. When we first began working on this episode we envisioned a more academic episode, but we believe Alexa’s story highlights what the justice process is often like for survivors and their families.

We know that material like this can be difficult to listen to. It is okay to listen in short chunks, to listen with a friend, or to turn us off.

If you have questions about this or any of our previous episodes, or if there is anything you’d like to know about our work, we hope you will email us at beyondfearpodcast@gmail.com.

For a transcript of this episode of Beyond Fear, click here.

For a direct download of this episode of Beyond Fear (MP3), click here.

Follow us on Facebook at Beyond Fear: The Sex Crimes Podcast, on Instagram @beyondfearpodcast, and on Twitter @fearcrimes

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