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Jackie Regan is a survivor of childhood sexual assault by a priest at the Catholic school she attended. For many years, she wrote about her experiences, sharing in writing groups and with trusted others. Not until she attended an anonymous writing workshop for sexual assault survivors was she finally honest about what happened and stopped protecting herself from the details and feelings that resulted from the repeated assaults. She found the experience life-changing, and it provided a major step in her self-healing and acceptance. Jackie teaches in the Writing Studies Department at Montclair State University. 


Jess Restaino grew up in (and out of) a sexually abusive home. She is a product of intimate partner rape; her childhood and adolescence were shaped by her mother’s chronic trauma and her own. She continues to work at pulling the threads of these conjoined traumas apart. Her friendship with Susan Lundy Maute, whose last years with terminal breast cancer Jess tracks in her ethnographic study, Surrender: Feminist Rhetoric and Ethics in Love and Illness (2019), first taught her about the value of leaning into dark spaces, uncertainty, and loss. Driven by that initial experience, Jess has gone on--following Sue’s death--to take up deeper engagement with her own history while acknowledging the limits to what any of us can understand or fully know. Jess teaches in the Writing Studies Department and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program at Montclair State University. 

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