Oprah: Did you lose your sense of taste along with your sense of smell? That would kill me!

Central Park Jogger: I can still taste, just not as well as before. I used to be a Diet Coke fan, and I could tell the difference between it and Diet Pepsi. But now I can't tell the difference.

And some things have changed for me cognitively. I can't absorb things as quickly as I used to, and I'm not as focused. But you know what? I'm okay with that, because I've grown in other ways that are different from and better than the ways I might have grown had I not experienced this.

Oprah: Have your values changed?

Central Park Jogger: I'm more accepting of differences because of what I've gone through.

Oprah: Why do you think this happened to you?

Central Park Jogger: To be honest, I don't know. I don't feel comfortable saying "There was a purpose in this."

Oprah: Things happen to all of us that completely change the direction of our lives—so for you, this attack served that purpose.

Central Park Jogger: You're absolutely right. That's not to say my life was bad before. But you know what? Right now I am so very happy. I often tell people that my life is richer than it was before. And I've learned about myself and about other people's generosity of spirit.

Oprah: Do you still feel invincible?

Central Park Jogger: No.

Oprah: Do you lock your doors at night?

Central Park Jogger: I do.

Oprah: When you're walking alone in a parking lot, do you have the tips of your keys pointing outward?

Central Park Jogger: Yes, yes, yes, yes! I am more cautious, but there's still a certain freedom I feel.

Oprah: People who have been raped or attacked are often too afraid to even go outside, and they relive the trauma over and over again. That hasn't happened to you?

Central Park Jogger: It hasn't. In some ways I have the feeling I can recover from anything.

Oprah: Your recovery is certainly a sign of your resilience, isn't it?

Central Park Jogger: I'm a persistent little pain in the neck sometimes!


Next Story