Consent, by Vanessa Springora, describes the author’s history of being sexually abused (starting at age 14) by the writer Gabriel Matzneff who was, at the time, age 49.
This memoir explodes the structures & strictures of keeping secrets and carrying shame. It’s a reckoning on behalf of those who have been fondled, lied to, controlled, terrorized, gaslit, manipulated, damaged, and otherwise abused by pedophiles. (Good!)
(I recommend this book. And this book may bring up past/un-metabolized/unhealed trauma. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, and you choose to read it, please find ways to take care of yourself as needed.)
& may we all find our way toward healing and wholeness.
A couple resonant bits:
“It’s incredible. I’d never have believed it possible. After so many romantic disasters, such a struggle to accept love unhesitatingly, the man whom I eventually met and with whom I now share my life was somehow able to heal my many wounds. We have a son who is just entering adolescence. A son who has helped me grow. Because you can’t remain fourteen years old forever once you become a mother. My son is handsome, with a gentle expression in his eyes, a bit of a dreamer. Fortunately, he never asks me much about my childhood. Which is just as well. In the imaginations of our children, at least when they’re young, our lives only began with their birth. Perhaps they sense, intuitively, that there is a shadowy zone it’s better not to venture into.”
“By setting his sights on young, lonely, vulnerable girls, whose parents either couldn’t cope or were actively negligent, G. knew that they would never threaten his reputation. And silence means consent.
But on the other hand, to my knowledge, not a single one of his countless mistresses has ever chosen to write a book recounting the wonderful relationship she had with G.
Does that tell us something?
What has changed today—something that men like he and his defenders complain about constantly, excoriating the general atmosphere of puritanism—is that following the sexual revolution, it is now, at last, the turn of the victims to speak out.”