"You who see, tell the others." -- Audre Lorde
In this intimate memoir, Patricia Weaver Francisco tells of her fifteen-year journey to recognize and overcome the effects of a violent rape. Francisco explores key aspects of a women's life in the aftermath of rape--passion, marriage, solitude, childbirth, motherhood.
She invites the reader into her life and into the questions raised by a crime with no obvious solutions or easy answers. We see the dimensions of a human struggle often kept hidden from view. While there are an estimated twelve million rape survivors in the United States, rape is still unspeakable, left out of our personal and cultural conversation. In Telling, Francisco has found a language for the secret grief carried by men and women who have survived rape.
Telling opens us to an experience both common and mysterious, wrenching and full of triumph. Describing her fear during and after the rape in a visceral, unforgettable style, Francisco details the transformation of trauma into strength. This transformation begins by learning to talk about rape, to understand the resistance she encounters in herself and others.
She chronicles a complex journey, both surprising and recognizable. Aspects of her life deepen; others don't survive. She wrestles with spiritual despair, outrage, and a longing for justice. But with awareness comes the return of pleasure, hunger, and desire. She reminds us " beautiful the dignity of truth can be" and inspires in us a desire to listen, to know the truths that can transform our own lives. She also gives us a clear portrait of the tragic consequences for the survivor--and our culture--when we neglect this human story.
Told with grace and a soul-stirring eloquence, Telling is, in the end, a form of power. It will leave you with a sense of hope and a renewed appreciation for life's possibilities. A compelling and important book, Telling will start the conversations that can bring hope and healing to the women who need it, and to their loved ones trying to help them.
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Patricia Fransisco teaches creative writing in the MFA Program at Hamline University. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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