Rape victim tells of her journey towards recovery

“Don’t put yourself in a situation you wouldn’t want your friend to be in.” That’s the message author Aspen Matis gave to over 50 Del Mar College students and faculty at the college’s Girls Night Out event.

The bestselling author of “Girl in the Woods” shared her experiences during the second annual event, held Sept. 8 in Wolfe Recital Hall.

Photos by Michelle Mirelez/Foghorn

Matis was raped the second day of college by a man she had just met. As part of her recovery, Matis embarked on a 2,650-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, on a soul-searching journey. The memoir chronicles her experience.

“My parents had questions, but were understanding of me finding my way back to my innocence and childhood,” said Matis, who frequently went on hikes with her family while growing up. “I went through five pairs of running shoes and my mom would mail me meals to the little post offices along the trail.”

Only 19 at the time of her five-month journey, and now 26, Matis told the audience of finally reclaiming herself and beginning her first semester at Columbia University in New York.

DMCs’ Girls Night Out promotes awareness for domestic abuse and is intended to empower victims who feel like they couldn’t voice their stories.

”Use that pain as a catalyst to keep on going,” Matis urged them.

If you need someone to talk to or have a question on what to do if sexually assaulted, contact the DMC Counseling Center at 361- 698-1586.

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