Survivors Project: Lisa Posso's Story

Lisa Posso was molested when she was 12 years old by her stepfather, who was later acquitted.

About four years later, she was gang raped by three acquaintances, and as a young adult, assaulted at a night club.

Lisa turned to art as her therapy and discusses how she feels connected to the other survivors in this project.

“Whatever you are feeling, everybody feels it that’s been through this, and we are all one,” she said. “One giant group of empowered, strong women and men and children who have gotten through something horrible.”

The following is Lisa's account in her own words and edited for clarity. 


There’s no degree of being assaulted. There’s no levels, there’s no, “Well, that’s not that bad.” It’s all bad.

When I was 12 years old, my mother had left me home with my stepfather at the time, and he went to take a shower.

He came in in a robe and sat on the sofa next to me.

And then he laid down and told me to lay next to him, which I did ‘cause he was my stepdad. And, um, he molested me.

He basically undid his robe and put my hands on him.

I ran to my room after that and locked the door and wrote a long letter to my mother about what happened.

I didn’t tell her for like three years.

When I was 15 and was finally able to bring it to my mother and explain to her what had happened, it was because she had finally broken up with him.

I didn’t know anything about statutes of limitations or timings on charges or any of that.

Immediately she called the police. They arrested him and he was there when they took me to the police station to take my statement.

He was in what I can only describe as a chain-link fence cage.

I could hear him rattling it and yelling, “They accused me of being a baby killer in Vietnam and now they’re accusing me of being a baby rapist, i’m not a baby rapist.” And he’s screaming this.

And I’m 15 and I don’t know what to do and I’m shaking and my mother’s there and there are all these police. I started crying and they put me in a separate room.

I went to court and I found out right then and there, in that courtroom, that not only were there other child victims just like me, but I got a really large dose of reality from the case that was being heard right before mine.

A young girl who I think she was about 7 or 8.

She had been sexually assaulted by her neighbor.

They found thousands of pictures he had taken of this child.

And they were going to charge him with child pornography.

He was acquitted because they didn’t have enough evidence, even though they had all of those pictures.

I sat there knowing that, well, if that happened, there was no way my case was gonna go forward. And sure enough he was acquitted.

I was just taken home and had to live with the fact that this person who had done this to me was living in the same city and wasn’t gonna face anything, any ramifications for his behavior.

The sad part is that I focused all of my attention on the case prior to mine. I focused all of my anger and sadness on what had happened to that little girl.

It was like a piece of me went with that little girl, and I’ll never forget her, you know, ever.

I just remember leaving that courtroom and thinking, “Does anybody get justice ever?” That was the first time I was the victim of any type of assault.

When I was 16, my best friend and I kinda snuck out of our house and went out with three guy friends of ours.

We went to a liquor store and the guys were of age so they went in and bought.

We gave them money to get us beer.

My friend and I had the idea that they were gonna drink the hard liquor and we were just going to drink beer and we would be fine.

I was so drunk that I blacked out.

And when I came to, one person was on top of me, and I blacked out again.

When I came to, they were passing me off to the next person. And I blacked out again.

When I woke up, it was because I was being slapped across the face

They threw me out of the car in a park.

There were two port-a-potties set outside

I climbed into one of those and closed and locked the door and I passed out drunk on the floor.

When I came to, I looked at myself, and I was covered in urine and blood.

I walked to where I was supposed to meet my friend and her boyfriend.

She saw me and saw that T was all disheveled and smelly and covered in varying bodily fluid.

She immediately knew kinda, I guess what had happened.

Two random strangers on the street that were male pulled over and saw me.

They asked me what happened and I told them that I had just been raped.

And these two men, even though I was covered in urine and God knows what else, put me in their car and drove me to the hospital.

It was one of those times where immediately the universe lets you know that there are good people in the world.

Two of the three people that raped me were shot and killed in gang violence two or three weeks after that incident.

And the third person ended up in jail for a completely different charge for life.

So all three of them got justice through the universe.

[At age 23], I was at a nightclub. I was the hostess at the bar, and it was a night when it was really packed.

I was dancing with some friends of mine and a homeless person lifted my dress and ripped open my tights and digitally penetrated me.

All I could do was tell the person I was dancing with what was going on.

They somehow were able to wave down security, who got rid of him.

When I was 12, the way I was able to cope with all of these feelings that I had was to join the theater program and really just overexert myself in the arts.

To try to make something beautiful when the inside didn’t feel that way.

My whole life has kind of been a series of that.

If one type of art doesn’t do it for me anymore, I find something else that will.

I know therapy works for a lot of people, and I know that talking about things is very helpful.

I talk to my mother and my friends and my family a lot about everything.

I talk to my husband now about all of this, and anytime I have horrible feelings about anything, I make sure that we sit down and we talk.

And if I’m having, you know, any type of pain or emotional anguish about it, is when I turn to art.

Because the art is my therapy.

It is important to know who you are.

I am an art person, so that’s how I deal with mine.

In all three instances, I remember feeling the exact same dark feeling of feeling guilty and depressed and alone and sad and scared.

Whatever you are feeling everybody feels it that’s been through this and we are all one.

One giant group of empowered, strong women and men and children who have gotten through something horrible.

And hopefully you are able to build on that with your life and find good in the world and just be humans.

I find that it’s important to find outlets, whether they be sports or art or music or dance or even writing, anything that gets your feelings out, you know.

Because it is a feeling that is never, that never goes away

You just have to learn to cope and find ways to bring beauty out into the world.

I now feel connected to all of the other people in this project even though I’ve never met them.

Just by watching their stories and listening to their stories, and hopefully they’ll feel the same way.

It’s important to know that you’re strong, you’re a survivor.

And to connect yourself with other people to be able to share this.

Because, there’s a lot of beauty in the world and you’re a part of that.

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