Dauna Ditson is not alone in her stories of sexual assault.
But she did feel that way for many years, before she began telling her story. Her novel, Wide Open, recounts her stories, tribulations, and her eventual recovery. Although she still lives with post traumatic stress disorder, she hopes that her story of recovery will help at least one person to get better.
The raw and emotional story Ditson tells on her pages unfolds in front of readers. Her hardships due to sexual assault may seem too real, but the life that she built afterwards is honest and inspiring.
On June 22, she travelled through Golden on her book launch, presenting her story to a small, but interested audience.
Throughout her book launch tour, she has sparked conversation, often opening the door for others who have been through traumatic sexual assault experiences.
By telling her story, she offers survivors of sexual assault hope. There is life beyond their traumatic experiences.
After Ditson’s encounters, she underwent years of trauma. She had told her story before, and was met with a “get over it” response. It wasn’t until she had told a certain person her story that she felt heard. At that time, she was nervous to come forth with her trauma. But, once she did, she was met with a warm response. Then, she realized that she could possibly do the same for other people.
Wide Open was written from Ditson’s experience with sexual assaults from the time she was 18 until 25.
“The worst thing that happened to me was when I was 18 years old,” Ditson explained. “I am now twice as old.”
After years of struggling, she was able to overcome what had happened to her. Along the way, when she hosted her book launch, she was met with many responses from other people.
“For years, I felt like the worst thing that happened to me was currently happening to me,” Ditson said.
Everything happened to Ditson all at the same time. It was long after the sexual assault happened. She was in a loving relationship, and it all started to fall apart. This is when she realized her illness from the events had escalated, and she didn’t understand all of the symptoms behind the post traumatic stress disorder.
“I had been keeping secrets for a long time, and I had all of these symptoms I didn’t understand,” Ditsson said.
When she saw her friend’s blog post about how that woman experienced sexual assault as a child, she unraveled and told her story. She was met with a positive response, and realized she wanted to keep paying that forward. At first, she wrote four pages. Then, it unfolded into her novel, Wide Open.
Ditson’s story is inspiring, raw, and emotional. While she was going through her recovery, she was really drawn to the memoirs of other people who had endured terrible things.
She has been a writer for more than 10 years, working as a journalist and as a communications consultant for government organizations. Now, she writes for the Columbia Valley Pioneer in Invermere.
The book, Wide Open, is a way for Ditson to tell her story and for others to connect and open up about their experiences.
To learn more about Wide Open, visit www.dmditson.ca.