After Silence: Rape & My Journey Back

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"Silence has the rusty taste of shame. The words shut up are the most terrible words I know. . . . The man who raped me spat these words out over and over during the hours of my attack--when I screamed, when I tried to talk him out of what he was doing, when I protested. It seemed to me that for seven years--until at last I spoke--these words had sunk into my soul and become prophecy. And it seems to me now that these words, the brutish message of tyrants, preserve the darkness that still covers this pervasive crime. The real shame, as I have learned, is to consent to them."

After Silence is Nancy Venable Raine's eloquent,  profoundly moving response to her rapist's command to "shut up," a command that is so often echoed by society and internalized by rape victims. Beginning with her assault by a stranger in her home in 1985, Raine's riveting narrative of the ten-year aftermath of her rape brings to light the truth that survivors of traumatic experiences know--a trauma does not end when you find yourself alive.
        
Just as devastating as the rape itself was the silence that shrouded it, a silence born of her own feelings of shame as well as the incomprehension of others. Raine gives shape, form, and voice to the "unspeakable" and exposes the misconceptions and cruelties that surround this prevalent though hidden crime. With formidable power and in intimate detail, she probes the long-term psychological and physiological aftereffects of rape, its tangled sexual confusions, the treatment of rape by the media and the legal and medical professions, and contemporary cultural views of victimhood.
        
For anyone, female or male, who has suffered from or witnessed the shattering effects of rape, After Silence inspires and points the way to healing. This landmark book is a stunning literary achievement that is a testimony to the power of language to transform the worst sort of violation and suffering into meaning and into art.


From the Hardcover edition.
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About the author

Nancy Venable Raine is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in many national periodicals.  She and her husband live on a farm in southern Virginia.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Crown
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Published on
Sep 22, 2010
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780307765031
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Social Science / Sexual Abuse & Harassment
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Four-year-old Lisa's world turned upside down when her step-father moved in. Most of the time he was just violent but then he started making her do things to him she knew were wrong. Soon he was visiting her at night. Lisa begged her mother for help but she just shrugged, telling Lisa he would have his way. It was the greatest betrayal of all.

At first Lisa's step-father would just make her stroke and massage his feet, hitting her if she stopped, but he soon wanted more. Much more. By the time she was 12 he was regularly abusing her. One day, when Lisa turned 16, she came home to discover that her mother had swapped bedrooms with her. 'You're my girlfriend now', her step-father told her. Lisa turned to her mother for help, but was met with a shrug. She wouldn't hear a word against her husband. 'Don't blame me,' she said. Her step-father's abuse was horrific but what completely tore her apart was knowing her mother knew and encouraged it.

Trapped and increasingly desperate, Lisa tried to find a way out. But her isolation was complete. A few months later her mother told her she'd arranged for Lisa and her step-father to move into a flat together down the road. It was too much for Lisa to bear. 'Please don't make me, please,' she sobbed. But her mother just ignored her. Lisa was marched around to the flat with her possessions and her nightmare was complete.

Alone with her step-father, Lisa's life became even more unbearable. Then one day, finally, she got the chance she'd been looking for to escape. Lisa bravely struck out on her own, petrified her mother would find her and hand her back into the waiting arms of her step-father. But Lisa's mother had no idea how determined she was to break away...

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