On 7 April 2009, Susanne Preusker, head of the Social Psychiatry Department at JVA Straubing prison, had planned to finish work early. She was happy and excited – she was due to get married in 10 days’ time and there was still a lot to do. Because of this, when Prisoner K. stood in the door and asked if he could talk to her, she put him off until the following day instead. But the kind of next day she expected would never come.

“I don’t want to claim that my life before April 2009 had been perfect. After all, what life is perfect? But I enjoyed it, had a job that I loved, an exciting life that I had built up for myself. And then it happened, and I simply wasn’t the same woman again.”

Prisoner K. held her prisoner for seven hours in her office, raping her several times and threatening to kill her.
Susanne Preusker survived, but the experience turned her life on its head. She knew the perpetrator well, had examined him on several occasions and was convinced that he was making good progress with his therapy.

“I was wrong about this person and obviously missed something important. This is almost harder to bear than the rape itself. It has destroyed my entire trust in myself, my perception, my skills and the security of this world.”

How is it possible to go on living after such a traumatic experience? It is not only Susanne Preusker’s life that is affected, but also that of her son – 17 at the time – and her husband. In this series of intensive dialogues at places that conjure up memories, fears but also strengths, we witness how a woman and her family are still fighting for a new life every day and for the courage to talk about their experiences.

This is not something that can be taken for granted. Every day, countless women are raped all over the world. No one talks about what this really means, what it destroys – or about how the women manage to survive the experience. And women still bear the shame – as do the men that they love. But this woman says:

“I don’t want to go through life with my head bowed. It is the rapist who should bear the shame.” (Susanne Preusker)


Script and Direction: Karin Jurschick
Camera: Dieter Stürmer
Sound: Jule Cramer
Editor: Marc Schubert
Production manager: Rolf Bremenkamp / Monika Mack
Producer: Birgit Schulz
Commissioning editor: Britta Windhoff / WDR/ Redaktion Menschen hautnah

A Bildersturm film production for WDR

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