Danielle Leukam

Danielle Leukam

I was content in life up until 2018. I was a nurse and a mom, and each day was routine. But then I was raped. I was broken. But what do glow sticks do when they’re broken? They glow.  

On my good days, that’s what survival looks like to me. I was a glow stick in a package. But now I’ve been taken out of the package, I was broken, and finally I glow. And I won’t let anyone take that away from me again.  

Being true to my feelings has been so important. There were days I was numb; there were days I was sad; and there were days I saw red and was full of rage. And that’s okay. My pain was not wrong. It is okay to not be okay. But eventually came the days that I could reign in my sadness and anger and use that energy for good. I’ve since been using that energy to advocate against sexual violence and empower survivors.  

On top of public speaking, I started a nonprofit organization called WISH: We Inspire Survivor Healing, INC., I’ve written about my experience – below is an excerpt from my first book, Four Pounds of Pressure: A Memoir of Rape, Survival, and Taking Back My Power.  


Every one of us fears the things that go bump in the night. We’re told tales of happenings when evil is conjured or footsteps are heard while alone in a dark house. But those are just stories, right? What would we do if those fears became an intense reality we could not escape? 

On the night of November 17, 2018, Danielle Leukam went to bed as a newly single mother and nurse from Minnesota. On the morning of November 18, 2018, she awoke to a sinister world that would never be the same for her again. 

A home invasion gone awry, Danielle was held at gunpoint and raped repeatedly for five hours while her three-year-old son slept in the next room. Mentally tortured and traumatized, Danielle recounts the events of the attack with raw transparency as the agonizing truth of her experiences unfold. 

But she is a survivor. 

Now, Danielle is armed with the weapon of her voice as she turns tragedy to triumph by seeking to break the silence for victims of rape and sexual assault. 

It would’ve taken four pounds of pressure for Danielle’s attacker to pull the trigger on the 9mm handgun held to her head that night, but what about the pressures in the aftermath of survival? 

Danielle is taking her power back by releasing the weight of suppression about what it’s like to rebuild after a violation so severe. But she is proof there is hope. Through the ups-and-downs of her compelling story, Danielle is advocating for systematic change and a world of compassion for survivors like her. 


In addition to Four Pounds of Pressure: A Memoir of Rape, Survival, and Taking Back My Power (memoir), I’ve self-published four other books, and I’m working on my sixth.   

Learn more here: www.DanielleLeukam.com