Arita Bohannan shared her story of struggle with sexual assault at the fourth annual Women of Significance Brunch on Saturday, where she served as the guest speaker.
Waynesville High School graduate Arita Bohannan is a successful Louisiana lawyer, mother, and wife who just added “novelist” to her long list of accomplishments.
With such an impressive résumé, one might not suspect that her childhood was torn to shreds by sexual abuse when she was just 8 years old.
“You’d think that I’d be someone who doesn’t have very many weaknesses, and that I live a pretty successful life, and in many ways I do,” Bohannan said. “But a strong and fearless woman can be reduced to an 8-year-old little girl when a memory of her abuser comes into her mind.”
Bohannan shared her story of struggle with sexual assault at the fourth annual Women of Significance Brunch on Saturday, where she served as the guest speaker.
The title of this year’s brunch was, “Together: Preventing the Pain.” Good Samaritan of the Ozarks hosted the benefit to raise money for Genesis, a program that provides shelter and resources to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Ozark area.
In addition to speaking at the Women of Significance Brunch, Bohannan visited local schools to talk to students about sexual assault.
The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) states that every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted, resulting in over 237,000 incidents each year.
“I had the privilege of speaking to 800 Rolla students,” Bohannan said. “We talked about writing, we talked about publishing, we talked about law, and we talked a lot about sexual abuse. After those sessions ended, six separate students came up to me and told me they were happy I shared my story because it had happened to them. Two of them were boys.”
Genesis is available to assist victims and provide shelter and resources to empower victims as they recover. The brunch was successful in raising funds for this cause, but more importantly, in raising awareness about this very serious and very real topic in the community.
When asked about how she felt coming back to her high school town, Bohannan smiled brightly and stated, “It means the world to me, to be honest. I’ve been very well received anywhere I went, but Missouri has treated me like its still home.”
Bohannan currently lives in New Orleans with her husband, Brad, and two boys, Deuce and Bryce.
She is a successful Family Law attorney in New Orleans where she started her own firm in 2002. In January, her first novel “Docket No. 76,” which tells the story of a woman who was sexually assaulted as a child facing her abuser.
For more information on how to help local victims of sexual assault, visit www.goodsam-genesis.org.