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I Survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape & PTSD That Changed My Life

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She was an innocent Mormon girl. He was America's most notorious serial killer. When their paths crossed on a quiet autumn afternoon, he planned to kill her. But this victim had an incredible will to survive and would live to tell her story nearly three decades after he met death in a Florida electric chair. Ted Bundy brutally attacked Rhonda Stapley in a secluded Utah cany She was an innocent Mormon girl. He was America's most notorious serial killer. When their paths crossed on a quiet autumn afternoon, he planned to kill her. But this victim had an incredible will to survive and would live to tell her story nearly three decades after he met death in a Florida electric chair. Ted Bundy brutally attacked Rhonda Stapley in a secluded Utah canyon in 1974. She miraculously escaped and hid her dark secret until now. This compelling real story of triumph over tragedy is both shocking and inspiring and told with the true courage of a victim turned survivor. (Foreword by Ann Rule) When she appeared on his show, Dr. Phil McGraw told Rhonda, "This book will save lives."


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She was an innocent Mormon girl. He was America's most notorious serial killer. When their paths crossed on a quiet autumn afternoon, he planned to kill her. But this victim had an incredible will to survive and would live to tell her story nearly three decades after he met death in a Florida electric chair. Ted Bundy brutally attacked Rhonda Stapley in a secluded Utah cany She was an innocent Mormon girl. He was America's most notorious serial killer. When their paths crossed on a quiet autumn afternoon, he planned to kill her. But this victim had an incredible will to survive and would live to tell her story nearly three decades after he met death in a Florida electric chair. Ted Bundy brutally attacked Rhonda Stapley in a secluded Utah canyon in 1974. She miraculously escaped and hid her dark secret until now. This compelling real story of triumph over tragedy is both shocking and inspiring and told with the true courage of a victim turned survivor. (Foreword by Ann Rule) When she appeared on his show, Dr. Phil McGraw told Rhonda, "This book will save lives."

30 review for I Survived Ted Bundy: The Attack, Escape & PTSD That Changed My Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After just recently finding out about this book, I got it and read it. The foreword by Ann Rule was a surprise and a delightful one. RIP Ann, you are missed. The book is a testament to the woman who wrote it, and what a survivor she is. Rhonda Stapley, when she was going to college in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1974, had a life-changing encounter with Ted Bundy one day while waiting for a bus. With her jaw hurting from dental surgery, she just wanted to get home. The bus was late, and when an attra After just recently finding out about this book, I got it and read it. The foreword by Ann Rule was a surprise and a delightful one. RIP Ann, you are missed. The book is a testament to the woman who wrote it, and what a survivor she is. Rhonda Stapley, when she was going to college in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1974, had a life-changing encounter with Ted Bundy one day while waiting for a bus. With her jaw hurting from dental surgery, she just wanted to get home. The bus was late, and when an attractive guy in a VW bug stopped to ask her if she needed a ride, and said he was going to the same place she was headed, she accepted. That good looking guy turned out to be Ted Bundy, and she nearly lost her life that night. She resolved that no one would ever know that she'd been so foolish to get in a stranger's car and have this happen to her. She made up a cover story and laid low to hide her injuries, blaming part of her bruises on the dental surgery and avoiding people and missing classes for awhile. Despite the huge trauma, she managed to graduate and become a licensed pharmacist. After a rough period of reckless behaviors where she went out running alone at night to try and quiet her panic and battling through a dependency on drugs, Rhonda eventually managed to build a good life with a husband and 2 daughters and a job she loved. And then one day it all came tumbling down when her boss screamed and berated her over the phone. It brought the whole nightmare back to her, throwing her into an awful tailspin. This book shares how she got through it all with the help of a great counselor, and dealt with the PTSD that was destroying every aspect of her life. It was threatening her job as an assistant pharmacy manager, her long term marriage, her belief in her Morman religion, and her relationships with family and friends. It was heartbreaking reading about all that she went through, he really devastated her life for a long while, and in ways it took her decades to begin to understand, and is probably still working on it to this day. But she's still here, and Bundy sizzled out long ago, so she gets the last laugh on him. Him with his cocky attitude that he can take her to the brink of death repeatedly, just for his sadistic kicks, then jerk her right back into this world as she started to expire. Like a game made just for him. I found the book moving, terrifying, and very enlightening. I commend Rhonda Stapley for her incredible bravery, then and now.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jill Mccracken

    HOLY MOLY! That missing piece that bugged you-- not knowing what Ted Bundy actually did. Oh, you knew he's a psychopath, he's a terrible guy, serial killer-- but, there was only one escapee--and she escaped quickly. Not Rhonda. Rhonda tells us, with great pain and angst, what happens when you are Ted Bundy's victim. She explains her life, who, when, where, and what-- but at her pace. This is a life we are talking about. Rhonda suffers from PTSD-- and you also learn a GREAT deal about this as well. HOLY MOLY! That missing piece that bugged you-- not knowing what Ted Bundy actually did. Oh, you knew he's a psychopath, he's a terrible guy, serial killer-- but, there was only one escapee--and she escaped quickly. Not Rhonda. Rhonda tells us, with great pain and angst, what happens when you are Ted Bundy's victim. She explains her life, who, when, where, and what-- but at her pace. This is a life we are talking about. Rhonda suffers from PTSD-- and you also learn a GREAT deal about this as well. Incredible. She is my heroine!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kayli Nagel

    This book is so important. Don't be confused by it's length. It packs millions of emotions in its pages. It's sad to know that culturally we were ever at a place where a rape victim could be treated as a perpetrator . It is sadder still that old ideology still exists. No matter what a woman wears, no matter if she is alone when she shouldn't be, no matter what women don't deserve to be raped. No one deserves to be raped or should be blamed for the act. It is the rapist who is at fault. This book is so important. Don't be confused by it's length. It packs millions of emotions in its pages. It's sad to know that culturally we were ever at a place where a rape victim could be treated as a perpetrator . It is sadder still that old ideology still exists. No matter what a woman wears, no matter if she is alone when she shouldn't be, no matter what women don't deserve to be raped. No one deserves to be raped or should be blamed for the act. It is the rapist who is at fault.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Believable This is a very readable book. Rhonda's description of how PTSD took over her life is heartbreaking. She made a good life for herself after Ted Bundy kidnapped her. That's impressive. It's wonderful she escaped and moved on. It's even better that she was able to deal with the hidden pain finally. This account is totally believable. And it also has Ann Rules imprimatur. Believable This is a very readable book. Rhonda's description of how PTSD took over her life is heartbreaking. She made a good life for herself after Ted Bundy kidnapped her. That's impressive. It's wonderful she escaped and moved on. It's even better that she was able to deal with the hidden pain finally. This account is totally believable. And it also has Ann Rules imprimatur.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    The book has what looks like kind of a cheap publishing job (like proofs for a print-on-demand when you self-publish), so I was a little skeptical. Ann Rule having written the foreword was a point in its favor. The story itself was told well. It is interesting and Stapley has an easy to read style. Her book should be valuable for others struggling with PTSD. There were two things that I found especially interesting. One is in the foreword. Rule recounts the murder of a woman (along with her child The book has what looks like kind of a cheap publishing job (like proofs for a print-on-demand when you self-publish), so I was a little skeptical. Ann Rule having written the foreword was a point in its favor. The story itself was told well. It is interesting and Stapley has an easy to read style. Her book should be valuable for others struggling with PTSD. There were two things that I found especially interesting. One is in the foreword. Rule recounts the murder of a woman (along with her child and neighbor) who testified against her attacker and was not informed of his later release. Horrible enough on its own, the number of rapes reported dropped dramatically after the story was widely reported. It felt important, especially in light of Stapley's own delay in revealing her attack: there are a lot of pressures out there and that should be treated with compassion and understanding, not guilt. The other part is when Stapley's therapist is breaking down the extent of her trauma, which she has consistently tried to minimize. Things that made it worse included the repetition in having to face death (Bundy kept nearly killing and then reviving her to prolong the torture). it being a personal attack rather than something suffered for a cause, a lack of support (partially due to no one knowing, but also that the handful of other survivors had escaped very early, not enduring the torture, or had been injured greatly enough to wipe out memories), and that Bundy's two escapes from custody always made it seem possible he could come back. I imagine that for an analytical mind a breakdown like that could be helpful, but also I hope we can learn things from it to better support other trauma survivors. If nothing else, at least we can offer support.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Passenger

    I have read this book five times thus far and even took the time to study it thoroughly over the course of several months, matching the timeline of events, certain claims of the author's, obvious factual errors, plus whatever else we know about Bundy against it to try and either verify or debunk this story. Credit and thank you to especially one Bundy researcher who put in tremendous time and effort into studying this case with me. If interested, please read my detailed review of Rhonda Stapley' I have read this book five times thus far and even took the time to study it thoroughly over the course of several months, matching the timeline of events, certain claims of the author's, obvious factual errors, plus whatever else we know about Bundy against it to try and either verify or debunk this story. Credit and thank you to especially one Bundy researcher who put in tremendous time and effort into studying this case with me. If interested, please read my detailed review of Rhonda Stapley's highly incredible account of allegedly being attacked byTed Bundy on my CrimePiper Wordpress blog. Thank you.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jan Rice

    Quick read. Powerful story of someone who actually survived this monster and the lifelong effects of his ruthless attack and the secret she kept. Details come with warnings...are not under- or over-played. Every young girl should know about "Ted" in order to be informed and on the lookout. Quick read. Powerful story of someone who actually survived this monster and the lifelong effects of his ruthless attack and the secret she kept. Details come with warnings...are not under- or over-played. Every young girl should know about "Ted" in order to be informed and on the lookout.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Sillitoe

    Riveting, though there are a few things I wish she'd addressed. Riveting, though there are a few things I wish she'd addressed.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hanna Snow Mueller

    This book touched me so deeply. And the author even responded to the emails I sent her which meant the world to me!

  10. 4 out of 5

    teleri

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "She was an innocent Mormon girl. He was America's most notorious serial killer. When their paths crossed on a quiet autumn afternoon, he planned to kill her. But this victim had an incredible will to survive and would live to tell her story nearly three decades after he met death in a Florida electric chair." Reading this book interested me as I often read about the killers and not how the victims are affected. I do hope Rhonda is telling the truth and is not trying to make money of Bundy's name "She was an innocent Mormon girl. He was America's most notorious serial killer. When their paths crossed on a quiet autumn afternoon, he planned to kill her. But this victim had an incredible will to survive and would live to tell her story nearly three decades after he met death in a Florida electric chair." Reading this book interested me as I often read about the killers and not how the victims are affected. I do hope Rhonda is telling the truth and is not trying to make money of Bundy's name, however, I can't quite shake the feeling that she may be lying. Whoops. Like many books, I did find parts of this book boring and truly felt like she could have toned down on the description. Like when she mentioned that guy, "Adam" I believe he was called, she went into what felt like an awful lot of detail just to say that her roommate flirted with him and he called me ice cold and she never saw him again. I also feel like she was trying to build up tension around the whole Bundy assault topic, as when talking with David she would mention it and it would finally seem like she was about to go into detail about what Bundy did and then back out at the last minute. I understand that was her PTSD, and anxiety and she felt like she couldn't deal with it at that time, but it also left me a little annoyed that she was dragging it out. The book was twenty-nine chapters long with a before and after bit, but I honestly felt with the amount of detail she went into, she shouldn't have ended it where she did. I feel like it kind of cut off. She just visited where the attack had happened and she spent three chapters saying she didn't want to go there and then she was describing her visit in what, two pages, and then it was going home, have dinner and end the book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Denise Spicer

    A first person account of a young Mormon woman, a pharmacy student in Salt Lake City, who alleges she was viciously attacked by Ted Bundy, almost killed, but escaped and survived. Burying the awful memories for decades while she went on to live a normal happy life, her eventual PTSD symptoms and subsequent psychiatric therapy led to her facing those memories and writing a book about it. Most of this book is a memoir of her life after the attack by Bundy. Though she does describe the gory details A first person account of a young Mormon woman, a pharmacy student in Salt Lake City, who alleges she was viciously attacked by Ted Bundy, almost killed, but escaped and survived. Burying the awful memories for decades while she went on to live a normal happy life, her eventual PTSD symptoms and subsequent psychiatric therapy led to her facing those memories and writing a book about it. Most of this book is a memoir of her life after the attack by Bundy. Though she does describe the gory details; it also covers her life as pharmacist, wife and mother.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Rhoda was attacked by Ted Bundy while in college in Utah. She got away and never told anyone. Supressed the crime in her head and emotionally. Only years later it bubbled up and she had to face her experience and learn to heal. This book is about Bundy and his horrors. It is more about trauma though. About surviving and trauma and healing. It is a remarkable story of a remarkably strong woman

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

    I really admire Stapley's courage! It takes a lot for a survivor to come forward and admit that they were attacked, but it is a whole different level of bravery to come out with details! This is a good read for anyone wanting to understand PTSD and for individuals who are interested in the Bundy case. I really admire Stapley's courage! It takes a lot for a survivor to come forward and admit that they were attacked, but it is a whole different level of bravery to come out with details! This is a good read for anyone wanting to understand PTSD and for individuals who are interested in the Bundy case.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julie Yoney

    PTSD can be debilatating Very interesting and informative. Kept me reading from start to finish. Thank you for writing this book. I'm sure it will help many going through PTSD knowing they are not alone. PTSD can be debilatating Very interesting and informative. Kept me reading from start to finish. Thank you for writing this book. I'm sure it will help many going through PTSD knowing they are not alone.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Patty Vilmann

    Well written What an incredible story. It is well written. You can feel her pain when she is dealing with PTSD. So glad she got past this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Radoslovich

    Ted Bundy the animal I was curious more than anything! When I began reading the thoughts came to me anyone is vulnerable! The seventies: one did not hear of heinous crimes as we do now! Bundy was an evil man and had no compassion for women, I believe he hated them! This book opened another level explaining during and after affects it has years after! Rhonda is a heroine, managed to live in secret for many years from her attack, did the things that needed to be done and years later tell her horrif Ted Bundy the animal I was curious more than anything! When I began reading the thoughts came to me anyone is vulnerable! The seventies: one did not hear of heinous crimes as we do now! Bundy was an evil man and had no compassion for women, I believe he hated them! This book opened another level explaining during and after affects it has years after! Rhonda is a heroine, managed to live in secret for many years from her attack, did the things that needed to be done and years later tell her horrific ordeal. The writing and explanations was super. I highly recommend to those who want to read for curiosity and/or have experienced brutal attacks. I'm sure MS. Stapley remembrance was difficult to write the book but she did. It was sad, heartbroken, horrendous, but in the end she remains free from Bundy. Her nightmare is over.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kaylee Hartwig

    I suppose we can never be sure 100% if Rhonda's account of being assaulted by Ted Bundy is true, because by coming forward almost 40 years later there is no way to prove it. Her story moved me in ways that I was not expecting. She is either a strong survivor or an elaborate story teller. I don't believe that she could have made up the how PTSD seeped into all parts of her life and written about it in a way that would make me feel her pain inflicted by the monster that was Ted Bundy if it was jus I suppose we can never be sure 100% if Rhonda's account of being assaulted by Ted Bundy is true, because by coming forward almost 40 years later there is no way to prove it. Her story moved me in ways that I was not expecting. She is either a strong survivor or an elaborate story teller. I don't believe that she could have made up the how PTSD seeped into all parts of her life and written about it in a way that would make me feel her pain inflicted by the monster that was Ted Bundy if it was just a tall tale. If Ann Rule fact checked the timeline and details, I think it is Rhonda that survivor. Fast, emotional read that I didn't want to put down.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nicki Kendall

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ a must read for true crime readers. I couldn't put this book down. To hear Rhonda's experience with Ted Bundy and how she survived was so interesting. It gave more perspective to what his other victims must have felt during their ordeals. Rhonda also details her struggles with survivors guilt and PTSD and all the other ramifications and impacts his attack on her and ongoing murders had on her. An amazing, heartwrenching and inspiring read. #rhondastapley #isurvivedtedbundy #tea_sipping_boo ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ a must read for true crime readers. I couldn't put this book down. To hear Rhonda's experience with Ted Bundy and how she survived was so interesting. It gave more perspective to what his other victims must have felt during their ordeals. Rhonda also details her struggles with survivors guilt and PTSD and all the other ramifications and impacts his attack on her and ongoing murders had on her. An amazing, heartwrenching and inspiring read. #rhondastapley #isurvivedtedbundy #tea_sipping_bookworm #goodreads #litsy #thestorygraph #truecrime #bookqueen #bookstagram

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brent Huntsman

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Survivor A testament ov courage and strength. Her resilience and fortitude her willingness to cling to life is a example that no matter what challenges we may face in life with the help of God, ecclesiastical leaders, and good people we can persevere through any thing. Thank you Rhonda for sharing your incredible experience.I'm sure your book will help countless others overcome their demons. Survivor A testament ov courage and strength. Her resilience and fortitude her willingness to cling to life is a example that no matter what challenges we may face in life with the help of God, ecclesiastical leaders, and good people we can persevere through any thing. Thank you Rhonda for sharing your incredible experience.I'm sure your book will help countless others overcome their demons.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    An amazing true story of a Bundy survivor. With a foreword by Ann Rule and the deeply personal details from the author, I believe Rhonda’s story to be factual. The book is very well written and details her life before the attack, the attack, and up to present day. I especially appreciated Rhonda sharing details of her therapy sessions.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dionne

    I am truly amazed at Rhonda's strength, resilience and courage. I can't believe she kept such a horrible trauma to herself for so many years. I applaud her for being authentic and vulnerable, so she could help other women who have suffered trauma and PTSD. I think her story can help others in so many ways. It was therapeutic for me to read. I am truly amazed at Rhonda's strength, resilience and courage. I can't believe she kept such a horrible trauma to herself for so many years. I applaud her for being authentic and vulnerable, so she could help other women who have suffered trauma and PTSD. I think her story can help others in so many ways. It was therapeutic for me to read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Clarke

    Survivor Thrilling triumph and victory. Overcomer that's what you are. A must read for everyone, showing that there is light at the end of every tunnel no matter how dark they may seems. Survivor Thrilling triumph and victory. Overcomer that's what you are. A must read for everyone, showing that there is light at the end of every tunnel no matter how dark they may seems.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Judy Morris

    This is one of the girls that got of away from that horrible man called Ted Bundy. I thought that is very interesting book. It describes what she went thru after she escaped. I give her alot of credit for what she did, how she did it and how she survived.

  24. 5 out of 5

    barbara

    what an exceptional story from a woman who suffered such a horrific experience.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susan Peelman

    This book made me so angry at her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharron

    Survivour This is a true story of a young woman who survived the torture of one the most dangerous serial killers in history. Her story is sad, but also of courage and hope.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    I bought this book at a signing. The review is based on the book itself, not the victim’s story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mrs

    Wow, wow, wow. That poor girl went through hell!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie

    Very interesting book This book had every emotion possible. Although I have never suffered any of the things that Ronda had to endure, I felt her pain.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emma Phelps

    A searing portrait of life with PTSD and what it means to "recover" from it. A searing portrait of life with PTSD and what it means to "recover" from it.

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