“The atrocity of sexual abuse as told by a captivating, diverse collective of survivors… A sad reality graced with hope, humanity and compassion.”
“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.”
“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
The atrocity of sexual abuse as told by a captivating, diverse collective of survivors. Ream is the founder of the Voices and Faces Project, an initiative that attributes faces and voices to the survivors of rape and sexual violence, often silenced by extreme trauma. A rape survivor herself, the author shares how painful memories were abated with focused work, feminist activism and rock music. Ream insists that vocalizing the ordeal (and truly being heard) became the best therapy not only for her, but for all of the people she interviewed. Divided into four sections, the book profiles individuals of varying age groups, races, sexes and backgrounds, many who were raped as children, each fortunate enough to enjoy rich, fulfilling lives after years spent processing their emotionally scarred pasts. Among them are a former New York assistant attorney general who, after years of childhood molestation, has spent his career defending sexual assault cases; lesbian novelist Dorothy Allison, whose experiences shaped her best-selling novel Bastard Out of Carolina; an effervescent nonagenarian who was raped by a carjacker at 82; and a woman who testified against her rapist, who, after being released on a shortened sentence, went on to commit murder. Ream also devotes a chapter to some revelatory time spent with an anti-violence collective on Prince Edward Island. The text's often grim material is leavened by pleasant prose and a clear focus on the catharsis of survival. The concluding pages offer startling sexual violence statistics ("Globaly, 35 percent of women have experienced either non-partner sexual violence or intimate partner physical or sexual violence"), which form a significant coda to the life stories of these brave and resilient victims—all of whom "have been shaped, but refuse to be defined by, their histories of violence." A sad reality graced with hope, humanity and compassion.