cover image After Silence: Rape and My Journey Back

After Silence: Rape and My Journey Back

Nancy Venable Raine. Crown Publishers, $23 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-517-70683-1

On October 11, 1992--the seventh anniversary of her rape--Raine 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 time--combined presumably with the writing of this book--helped 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. (Aug.)