SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Many families spent years worried the East Area Rapist could attack at any time. It’s a fear that’s left some people with PTSD.
“We see a lot of people for whom it was years and years ago and it’s just now affecting their life in some way and that’s perfectly natural and perfectly normal,” said Beth Hassett, the CEO of Women Escaping A Violent Environment.
News of DeAngelo’s arrest is opening up old wounds for victims in the Sacramento area. Even after four decades, just the name East Area Rapist is a trigger for many of his victims.
“It comes right back in their face and that can show up feeling like it just happened,” Hassett said.
Over the years, Hassett has worked with rape victims at WEAVE. And she said they all have their own ways of handling their trauma.
“It’s a very nonlinear healing process,” she explained. “Some people go completely flat and stuff their feelings. Other people are very, very emotional.”
But hearing the headlines doesn’t just affect the victims. It can affect anyone close to the victim or even the perpetrator.
“The people around them are often bewildered about what the person they care about is experiencing,” Hassett said.
Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, avoiding crowds, and trouble sleeping. And since the East Area Rapist’s crimes were traumatic for so many, Hassett says it’s never too late to ask for help.
“I think our entire community is going really need to heal from this,” Hassett said.
- Women Escaping A Violent Environment (WEAVE): (866) 920-2952
- Victims of Crime Resource Center 1-800-VICTIMS
- Volunteers in Victim Assistance (VIVA) (916)570-1690
- District Attorney’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program: 916.874.5701
- Family Justice Center: 916-875-HOPE (4673)