Julia Torres Barden

Writer reaches beyond trauma of rape, 9/11 to confront PTSD

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Julia Torres Barden grew up as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center rose above the New York skyline. “I spent my whole childhood watching them get bigger and bigger,” she said in a recent interview. That childhood started in the projects in the South Bronx, amidst her fellow Puerto Ricans, and then later in Upper Manhattan. On the day of the 9/11 attacks she was back in Manhattan on business. She was watching the aftermath of the first plane striking on a large screen in Times Square with a group of strangers. At that moment they assumed it was an accident, then the second plane struck. “It was devastating … to see them collapse like that. Those towers were raise in glory throughout my childhood,” she said. Now there was a sense of the city being under attack. Torres Barden, now of Perrysburg, recalls in striking detail the next couple days, being trapped in her hotel room, watching far too much TV coverage. She remembers the constant bomb threats to the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the Lincoln Tunnel, which was her exit from the city, At the time, she said, she was just concerned with making it through the day, and getting back to her husband and three sons in Virginia. It would be a few years later when she would realize the toll the attack took on her, when suddenly found herself struggling to breathe. What she and doctors thought was an allergic reaction to nuts, turned out to be the emergence of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Torres Barden has…