Privately coming forward as a survivor of any sexual or physical abuse is hard enough. To publicly name the abuser is often a fraught path. Nonetheless, victims then and now still come forward. Indeed, the last year has been dominated by the revelations of women and some men who have been sexually abused. Over years ago, a similar tempest arose as abolitionists tried to awaken the American conscience on slavery and sexual assault. The particulars of a plantation and a movie studio are certainly different. Nonetheless, predatory behavior, whether in a field of cotton or at an afterhours party, retains an eerie echo across the eras. Perpetrators, then and now, have used economic coercion and physical force to subdue victims; they demonstrate a brazen entitlement to the bodies of others; and rely upon threats of retaliation and shame to silence victims.
Latest Issue. Past Issues. She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.
Standing behind a podium ironically flanked by crosses, the tall redhead delivered a presentation so spellbinding that the audience seemed to breathe and gasp in unison. Her story of brutal rape, of slavery, of dungeons, of "50 Shades of Grey" bondage gone horribly awry, was so dark and harrowing that one wondered how she had even survived, much less summoned the strength to stand before us. As I came to know her over the years, to enjoy her dry sense of humor, her keen intelligence, her blunt manner of speaking that forces you to take off every mask, I learned the other side of her story too. Her real story is not a tragedy.
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