In these pages you’ll meet a community of rape and sexual violence survivors who have been shaped, but refuse to be defined, by their histories of violence. They are brave, and they are outspoken—but, mostly, they are hopeful. From its insistently resolute opening essay to its final, deeply moving story, Lived Through This is a book that defies conventional wisdom about life in the wake of sexual violence, while putting names and faces on an issue that too often leaves its victims silent and invisible.
Part personal history of Anne Ream’s own experience rebuilding her life after violence, part memoir of a multi-country, multi-year journey spent listening to survivors, Lived Through This is at once deeply personal and resolutely political. In these pages we are introduced to, among others, the women of Atenco, Mexico, victims of rape and political torture who are speaking out about gender-based violence in Latin America; Beth Adubato, a woman who was raped by a popular athlete and then denied justice when her college failed to fully investigate the attack; and Jenny and Steve Bush, a rape survivor and her father who are working together to share Jenny’s testimony of surviving rape at the hands of a veteran in order to alter the US military’s response to sexual violence committed by those in its ranks.
Writing with compassion, candor, and, at times, even much-needed humor, Ream brings us a series of stories and essays that are as insistent as they are incisive. Considered individually, her profiles are profoundly moving, and even inspiring. Considered collectively, they are a window into a world where sexual violence is more commonplace than most of us imagine.
The accomplished and courageous women and men profiled in Lived Through This are, in the words of the author, “living reminders of all that remains possible in the wake of the terrible.”
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Anne K. Ream is a Chicago-based writer and the founder of the Voices and Faces Project, an award-winning new-media documentary initiative created to bring the stories of survivors of gender-based violence to the attention of the public. Ream’s essays and opinion pieces have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, and numerous other publications. She is the cofounder and workshop facilitator for The Stories We Tell, North America’s first testimonial-writing program for survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence, and trafficking.
From the Hardcover edition.
“The atrocity of sexual abuse as told by a captivating, diverse collective of survivors… A sad reality graced with hope, humanity and compassion.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Ream, founder of the Voices and Faces Project, provides an sympathetic perspective on the personal and political dimensions of rape, compelling the reader to match her unflinching gaze as she tells the stories of individuals who “lived through this.” The prose moves from chillingly eloquent to anecdotal as she devotes a chapter each to survivors of rape and childhood sexual abuse. Ream’s greatest accomplishment is the book’s considerable humanism, giving each survivor a three-dimensional life and personality that transcends the stigma too often attached to rape. Guided by her own experience as a survivor of sexual assault , Ream finds the common threads linking an incredibly diverse group of survivors. The chapters panoramically survey each survivor’s life, remaining brutally honest about the terror of this distressingly common crime. Ream’s prose is approachable, making the book a useful introductory primer for anyone studying sexual violence. The helpful inclusion of statistics at the end, which puts quantitative weight behind these individual stories, enhances the book’s educational value. Each individual story commands attention; assembled as a collection, they positively demand it.” —Publishers Weekly
“Heart-stopping, beautifully rendered stories of survivors powerfully illustrating the notion that when we tell our stories, we change the story.” —Eve Ensler, author of In the Body of the World
“Anne K. Ream is a warrior. This book is her sword and shield. The battle for sexual-assault survivors' dignity, and the reclamation of their God-given right to live without fear, is won with these brave and bold stories. It's a must read for anyone who has ever known a survivor of sexual assault or is a survivor themselves.” —Andrea Buchanan, editor of Note To Self: 30 Women On Hardship, Heartbreak, Humiliation And Overcoming It All
“Anne Ream poignantly shows that sexual violence isn’t about statistics, it’s about survival. The courage of the survivors in Lived Through This will inspire you and leave you wanting to do more to end the violence that touches nearly every family in America.” —Scott Berkowitz, president & founder of RAINN
“Anne Ream has turned a deeply personal trauma into a rallying call for survivors of gender-related abuse. The range of individuals profiled in Lived Through This shatter every stereotype imaginable about those who are targets of abuse, and how they came to be so. This is one author who understands that the struggle to end abuse is not about gender, but about common humanity.” —Jimmie Briggs, author of Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go To War and co-founder of Man Up Campaign
"In Lived Through This Anne Ream has created a series of profiles that vividly bring to life the ways that survivors are creating change in their communities. This is a book that requires that we stop, listen and truly bear witness. This is crucial because when we miss the opportunity to listen we unknowingly create the silence that pushes these life stories into the darkness. It is time that the darkness is no longer tolerated. And Lived Through This is an important step toward bringing back the light. —Maile Zambuto, CEO, Joyful Heart Foundation
“Lived Through This should be required reading for all of us who work within the fields of counseling, advocacy, justice and law enforcement. It is one thing to read a book, take a class or in some fashion learn academically about sexual assault. It is another to be profoundly moved and educated about the complex depth of the impact of sexual assault through the courageous life stories of these women. Together these women have shattered the power that silence holds over these issues, bringing a sense of community to a space typically enshrouded with isolation and misplaced shame. I am in awe and so grateful they have shared of their lives to create this book as a resource.” —Sherisa Dahlgren, LMFT, VP of Clinical Programs, Joyful Heart Foundation