She became a pharmacist, and generally went about her life for a few decades, until her new boss happened to look a bit like Bundy. He put her on a year's probation for letting one of her workers eat a piece of licorice in the pharmacy. When she complained about the treatment, he even talked like Bundy: "He said things to me, almost the same phrasing Ted Bundy had used in the canyon."
Bundy had said: "You don't have the right to cry and whine at me, you should be thanking me that you're still alive."
Her new boss: "In the same tone of voice ... 'Rhonda, you don't have the right to tell people I'm treating you unfairly ... you should be grateful you even still have a job.'"
PTSD often takes years to hit, and it can be triggered by something as simple as a smell. In Rhonda's case, it was triggered by an asshole boss. She decided to reach out to other Bundy survivors in the hope that they might understand what she went through. Thankfully, by then the internet existed.
"I'd type things like 'who survived Ted Bundy' ... and I found this article, 'I Survived Ted Bundy' ... I figured out how to contact the author, and she became my secret pal. I talked to her. Her 'adventure' wasn't as intense ... but I could tell her things ... she encouraged me to find a counselor and really start healing. And so that's what I did."
Rhonda also started reading up on some statistics about rape, whereupon she learned that the vast majority of women never report it. So she published her book, I Survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape, And PTSD That Changed My Life. She did everything she could to talk about the assault. The assault she'd hidden for decades, mostly for fear that people would blame her for the whole thing or call her a liar. Can you guess what happened next?
Go on, guess.
At least her publisher had warned her about this: "They call 'em Amazon trolls ... 20 minutes after it went live, people were giving it bad comments, saying [I'm] a liar [or] no one will believe it anyway." But people did listen to Rhonda's story. Ultimately, she's happy that she wrote the book, and happy that she said something. But she's also pretty pissed off at the "trolls."
"That part, sadly, has not changed in the 40 years since my experience. You still have girls in college campuses who will not come forward for the same reason. People blame the victim somehow. Really, the message is, 'It doesn't matter in sexual assault. It's never the victim's fault.'"
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