SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For five years, Kris Pedretti has been on a journey of healing after living through traumatic experiences.

The man known as the Golden State Killer, Golden Gate Killer and East Area Rapist, Joseph DeAngelo, raped her when she was 15. DeAngelo’s arrest in 2018 reigniting her painful memories.

For Pedretti, part of her healing, she said, has been gardening.

“I garden all day,” Pedretti said. “It’s definitely calming, getting your hands in the dirt, being able to see things bloom and live.”

Her other source of therapy has been the support group she hosts in her backyard for other survivors of sexual abuse, and an online Facebook group with over 800 members.

“Every meeting I have someone speak, and so there’s always knowledge when we leave,” Pedretti said. “There’s always food and drink, knowledge and networking, love, love, love, and it’s really nice, really cool.”

Part of the knowledge Pedretti said is because, even though they have all been affected by sexual abuse, each person’s experience is different.

Ruby Satow was a victim of incest rape and said groups such as this, with people who’ve had similar experiences, are such a rarity, and are incredibly helpful because survivors are often left feeling isolated.

“There’s just no outlet for people, for victims, for survivors, to say this happened to me, because it’s uncomfortable,” Satow said. “My daughter who’s not a victim but is a daughter of a survivor, she said to me it’s very uncomfortable to hear these stories, of course it’s uncomfortable, imagine living those stories.”

Breakthroughs and accomplishments were shared at the July meeting. 

“I find that instead of reliving the nightmare of my father’s abuse, I try and think of ways to help children out of the same situation,” she said.

Pedretti said even though she and others are in a good space, finding a level of peace with their trauma is something they all will constantly deal with.

“With assault, you never know when you’re going to be triggered,” Pedretti said. “I could be sitting here by myself, having a nice day, and somebody comes behind me and says surprise in my ear. That would probably trigger me, because he came around from behind.”

It’s for this reason among others Pedretti said she’ll continue to host and reach out online to those in need, because unfortunately she knows the issue of sexual abuse isn’t going away.

If you would like to join or find out more information about the group and meetings, click here.