Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
on March 27, 2000
Nancy Raine's After Silence, her firsthand account of her rape and her life after the rape, is compelling, illuminating, and essential reading. Brutally honest, Nancy shares her private story of surviving and recovering from rape.
Raine helps her readers understand the severe and often lifelong psychological consequences of being victimized, the ambivalent reactions of other people to rape survivors, and the personal anguish in recovering from being raped. Raine elucidates her feelings of helplessness and terror during the rape, her treatment by the legal and medical system, other people's reactions to her rape, and her social and emotional isolation after the rape. She leads us through her coming to terms with the rape, with the new person she feels she becomes, with other people's reactions, and with her post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Through Raine's words, we watch a severely traumatized woman learn to regain control of her life and learn to trust and love again.
Raine's book raises many important questions: Why the shame of being a victim of rape? Why is the victim blamed? Why do some people still think that rape is "assault with a friendly weapon?" Why people's ambivalent reactions to rape? Why the silence?
Raine decided to end the silence about rape by bravely sharing her story with the world. Why should she be ashamed? She is the victim; she did nothing wrong. She purposely and insistently breaks the taboos about rape to try to pave the path for rape victims to speak out about this abominable and prevalent crime.
There were an estimated 9 million women raped in the United States alone between 1972 and 1991. In the United States, a woman is raped every two minutes; eighty-three percent of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime; only twenty-six percent of rapes are reported to the police. Over fifty percent of rape survivors suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can include the reexperiencing of the attack through nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and flashbacks; the avoidance of thoughts, feelings, places, and activities associated with the rape; difficulty concentrating; mood swings; and a diminished interest in former activities. These are just a few of the many terrifying and eye-opening statistics about the prevalence and seriousness of rape (in this country alone!)
Books like After Silence are necessary to combat the public's denial and apathy about the pervasiveness and seriousness of sexual crimes on women. After Silence can also help rape survivors understand that they are not alone and that their reactions to being raped are "normal." The general public should read the book so they can better understand the experience of being raped and life after rape. Hopefully the public and the legal system will learn to more supportive to rape survivors and more committed to ending (sexual) violence against women.
Reviewed by Vanessa Jackson