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After Silence: Rape & My Journey Back Paperback – August 3, 1999
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"The words shut up are the most terrible words I know," writes Nancy Venable Raine. "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 took Raine seven years before she could start to remove the chains those words had wrapped around her spirit by writing about how the anonymous assailant had transformed her forever. "I have noted what has come into my view as I go about my life," she says, "seeing the world through the eyes of a woman who remembers rape." Raine brings a poet's attention to language and imagery to her account, infusing After Silence with powerful immediacy. The reader is made to understand why an event as seemingly innocuous as a landlord asking for a spare set of keys to one's apartment can strike dread into one's heart. As Raine takes us through her personal journey of recovery, she also explores the shifting cultural consciousness toward rape, from the acknowledgement of posttraumatic stress suffered by rape victims to the portrayal of rape in movies. It's this willingness to interrogate the world around her, combined with an emotional honesty that portrays intimate drama without resorting to sensationalism, that makes After Silence one of the most important memoirs of the 1990s. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
On October 11, 1992Athe seventh anniversary of her rapeARaine determined that she would write about her assault and recovery. Six years of reflection and wide-ranging research served this talented writer well, for her account, studded with references to everything from Greek myths to government statistics, is fascinating and surprisingly readable. Raine describes the rape itself with remarkable objectivity. Then she describes the many small steps that she, like so many other rape victims, took to cope with the shame and ruptured faith that were the cruel legacy of her attack. After a period of relative isolation, followed by a stretch of believing she had "gotten over it," Raine was hit with intense depression. But the psychotherapy she underwent at the timeAcombined presumably with the writing of this bookAhelped bring her at last to a place where she can voice the pain of her experience, even if she can't erase it. Skillfully interwoven into this narrative are insightful digressions into, for example, the neurological underpinnings of post-traumatic stress disorder and the psychology behind that powerful emotion, shame. Neither self-pitying nor shrill, Raine has achieved an impressive balance between a starkly candid memoir of personal trauma and an ingenious literary discussion of an all-too-often unspeakable crime.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Never has a survivor's story so closely matched my own thoughts, feelings, and strangely enough, my own experiences. Reading this book opened a flood gate of painful memories but it also made me feel less alone and less "crazy". As a survivor, I have always felt like I'm walking on the edge of sanity. I didn't realize that was such a common feeling.
The first criticism I often heard regarding this book is that some people believe Nancy uses too many big words. I would argue that Nancy is a fine writer and poet. Her writing style is intimate and vivid. I could not put the book down and I often read it aloud. I think it's meant to be read aloud.
The other criticism I see thrown at this book is that it needs a trigger warning. The title of this book, the word "rape" is right there, should be enough to let someone know they made read something unpleasant, something triggering.
I find neither criticism compelling nor valid.
If I could make you read this, I would.
Raine shows us her story, how it echoes in her life. Coming back from and integrating the experience in life is not, cannot be easy but one cannot help but feel she is one of the minority of individuals who gets the needed help to do so.
Now, in year 2007, I was acutely aware that at times Raine paired the rape experience and the torture experience. It is a source of sadness to me that we, as a nation, are perpetuating that experience for so many. There is something profound about her description of the rape victim as a container for her perpetrator's anger. And that is far from the only profound idea.
Having also read "Lucky" by Alice Sebold, I would say they are both very important books but this book is a far better glimpse into the recovery aspect.
This books tells you a story of a woman whose right to her body is taken away, and the horrible aftermath it leaves. But it also leaves you feeling connected through similiar experiences, and educates you about common misconceptions and falsities in rape statistics and information. Reading this book helped me feel less alone, and also gave me information to empower me to try to go out and help fight the terror that is violence and rape against women, or anyone for that matter.
Rape survivors and non-rape survivors alike should read this book. It's gripping, heartwrenching, and will certainly open your eyes, as well as your heart. You're definitely not the same after having read this book. Incredible.