Ashely Warner reads from her book “The Year After: A Memoir,” as part of a benefit for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.
Chapel Hill residents and students came to Flyleaf Books Thursday night to listen to Ashley Warner talk about her book, “ The Year After: A Memoir ,” which recounts her experience with sexual violence 23 years ago.
Warner encouraged others who have a story to tell to speak up if they are able to. For those who don’t want to tell their story publicly, Warner said writing a journal can be theraputic.
“For survivors who want to write, just get it out, don’t edit it,” said Warner, who grew up in Chapel Hill. “You edit it later.”
The book is written in a journal format where Warner recounted her day-to-day life after the incident.
“The healing process was the journals, just that experience of getting it down,” Warner said. “When I wrote the book, I was well past my own trauma. This is completely a different experience.”
Warner said she was nervous about writing the book and debated on whether to put herself out there.
“I debated whether to use my own name or a pen name,” she said.
Warner said her hesitation and fear of putting herself out there is ultimately what drove her to do it.
Part of the proceeds from the sales of Warner’s book Thursday night went to the Orange County Rape Crisis Center.
“I am thrilled to be back and give back to the community where I came from,” Warner said.
Warner said being surrounded by trained professionals was very helpful during her recovery.
“I was really lucky to benefit from specially trained medical professional, detectives and mental help professionals in trauma,” she said.
Warner said support groups are also instrumental to recovery.
“Rape support groups were a good way to go,” she said. “Same feelings that we all share, but not exactly the same experience.”
Linnie Greene, the marketing coordinator of Flyleaf Books, said it was Warner who proposed to send the book profits to charity.
“In Ashley’s case, she proposed making this (a benefit night) and we thought it’s a great idea because the content of her books links itself so well to doing that,” Greene said. “She just said she wants to make it benefit.”
Chapel Hill resident John Ballantyne said he thanked Warner for her bravery.
“It’s tough to get out there and talk about something like this,” he said. “I am surprised that she never wanted to write this book before, because her writing was beautiful.”
Warner said she received a positive response from the audience.
“People who come out to hear and talk on sexual violence are typically people who support the cause, so they are friendly and they are people who dare to learn more about how to help people,” she said. “And I am happy to able to do that.”