Surviving the Silence: Black Women's Stories of Rape

Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Author
Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Author W. W. Norton & Company $23.95 (284p) ISBN 978-0-393-04661-8
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
In 1981 two men broke into the author's Philadelphia home and took turns raping her while holding her husband and her nine-year-old son at gunpoint. The intruders left after tying up the family and robbing them of all their valuables. In this devastating memoir, Pierce-Baker describes the psychological damage that was done to her and her family as a result of these crimes as well as her difficulty in dealing with her anger over the fact that the rapists were, like her, black. The author contends that there is a stigma attached to black-on-black rape that intimidates its victims into silence. In the course of her work as a volunteer for Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR), Pierce-Baker collected the stories of other rape victims and provides here the powerful testimonies of 10 black ""silent survivors""--African American women who were sexually molested by male relatives during childhood, subjected to ""acquaintance rape"" as teenagers or adults or, like the author, assaulted by strangers. She also includes haunting narratives of black men related to the rape survivors, such as Pierce-Baker's husband and her father, who, she notes, struggle for the best way to support the women they love. Although the author helped to convict one of her rapists, she believes that her own healing and that of other victims will come from sharing their stories. An important inquiry into a too often overlooked crime. Agent, Jane Dystel. (Oct.)
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