(Courtesy Photo) Julia Anderson, in a photo taken in 2016, just one week after her assault on Vashon, has now written a memoir detailing how the process of building her home helped transform her trauma into resilience and renewal.

(Courtesy Photo) Julia Anderson, in a photo taken in 2016, just one week after her assault on Vashon, has now written a memoir detailing how the process of building her home helped transform her trauma into resilience and renewal.

Memoir details how islander transformed trauma into new life

Book tells author’s journey of healing from sexual assault through learning how to build her own home

A new inspirational memoir, “Under Construction: Healing Trauma While Building My Dream,” details islander Julia Anderson’s journey of healing from sexual assault through learning how to build her own home.

The book, written under the pen name of Julia Harriet, details the author’s recovery from the darkest time in her life — a night in October 2016, when she was sexually assaulted on Vashon after being drugged with Rohypnol, a date-rape drug that causes motor skill impairment, muscle relaxation and memory loss, among other effects.

The assault, detailed in a 2017, Beachcomber article, led Anderson to seek the counsel of Vashon’s DOVE Project and later volunteer for the organization, serving as a spokesperson in its efforts to train staff at island bars and restaurants to recognize the role of drugs and alcohol in sexual assault.

All the while, Anderson kept building a home for her family that was already under construction at the time of her assault — turning the project into both a metaphor for her own healing process as well as an exciting new career for herself in the construction industry.

Heroes in her story include Don Roberts, who Anderson said had hired her as an apprentice in his construction business after she asked him, “would you hire a 35-year-old lady who can’t put together IKEA furniture?” She also credits her father, Scott Anderson, for his unwavering support through her ordeal and recovery, as well as her friend Craig Sutherland, who co-built her house.

She said her children, whom she has raised as a single mother and are now ages 8 and 13, have been “the drivers that kept me pushing, healing and growing.”

Anderson’s book, expanding on her resilience and recovery after the attack, has already resonated with readers, becoming a bestseller in several Amazon categories, including its self-help titles — a distinction that particularly delights the author.

“We’re all under construction,” said Anderson, in a recent phone interview, adding that she hoped, through the book, to answer the question, ‘How do we rebuild after we’ve been demoed somehow?’”

The book is Anderson’s first published work, though she has long blogged and expressed her passion for writing in many ways.

According to Aeriol Ascher, an author, empowerment leader and coach, Anderson has now written a memoir filled with rich storytelling about “self-healing and the triumphant spirit of the evolving soul.”

The book will have two launch events coming up soon on Vashon, with a book signing at Herban Bloom during the First Friday gallery cruise on Friday, Nov. 5, and a reading by the author the following day, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at Caffe Vin Olio.

Buy the book locally at Vashon Bookshop, or on Amazon.


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