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Wyoming Women Look for Wilderness Healing Power

August 20, 2008

Cheyenne, WY – "Becoming one with nature" is a phrase that takes on new meaning this week, as survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault head into the wilderness seeking ways to restore their confidence and ability to forgive. They'll use the isolation of wild places to break through the isolation that many Wyoming women say they feel after experiencing such life-altering traumas.

Jody Radtke with the Women's Wilderness Institute is leading the women and a team of backcountry experts and counselors to a remote location, where the women can begin to regain their bearings.

"When someone has experienced an incident of trauma, of attack, wilderness provides something that they can reconnect with. Once you have that connection with the land, you can reconnect to yourself. Once you connect with yourself, then you can connect with other people again."

Radtke says she's found that the slower pace of the wildlands experience allows time for women to explore how to get on with their lives. After domestic trauma, she explains, many women feel like they're stuck, or "on hold." The quiet of the backcountry, she suggests, can provide a feeling of safety that helps them work toward closure and forgiveness.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - WY