by Meg Clairmonte and Aurora Mackey
Review by Susan Wingate on Oct 22nd 2001
This is an intense story of incest and sexual abuse. This is a true
story of a woman that spent most of her life being victimized on a daily
basis by people in her life that were suppose to protect her. It's a story
of systematically altering the belief system of a child and teaching her
to deny her reality, only to accept the one given to her by her abusers,
the church, friends and ultimately herself. This is a story of courage.
Breaking the chains of silence, Clairmonte begins the healing journey to
find reasons to hope, dream and live in a world where the innocent can
and will be heard.
It is a very intense story from page one. It is a fast pace story and
will "hook" the reader to get to the conclusion. In order to understand
how the conclusion is arrived at, the reader must read the entire book.
To skip any part of this story is to minimize and discount the storyteller
and the reader's experience.
Innocence is a precious birthright and when it is lost, it is everyone's
responsibility to help in the healing process. I applaud Mackey for her
ability to write in such a way to create a "bridge" in that healing process.
Through her talent as a writer, she became the voice for Clairmonte in
a very powerful way.
Seeking justice, armed only with her "truth", Clairmonte takes on tremendous
odds to not only be heard but also hoping against hope to be believed.
Her courageous efforts are demonstrated over and over again throughout
the book. The image that came to mind as I continued to read this story,
was that of a rag doll being clutched in the jaws of a bulldog. This bulldog
relinquished his hold when he became too tired and weak to hold on to his
"prey". Only at that point did he drop the doll. Torn, tattered and shredded,
Clairmonte's steps to reclaim her dignity are born.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to understand
some of the perverse dynamics of sexual abuse. Keep in mind that the mind
of a child is very vulnerable and impressionable to anyone that is perceived
to be in a "place of power" over them. The beliefs created by this "powerful
person(s)" can only be reinforced when the person suppose to be in the
role of "protector" participates in the abuse. This book would be an excellent
addition to the libraries of mental health and medical professionals.
I would caution anyone struggling with his or her own issues of sexual
abuse to seek guidance from a therapist or support system before or while
reading this book. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is very common
among sexual abuse survivors. The graphic details of the abuse sustained
by Clairmonte can be a potential trigger if the readers find themselves
reading "their story" through Clairmonte's experiences. On the same note,
to read this story and find the "glimmer of hope" all survivors look for
to end their nightmare, this book could be that "light in the dark".
Personal note to Authors:
My heartfelt thanks for the gift of this story. Thank you Ms. Mackey
for being the vehicle in which this story has been told.
Ms. Clairmonte, the courage born of your fear is amazing. You are a
very brave woman and it is my belief that bravery is born of the heart.
Your heart must be HUGE! Thank you for sharing your story in a way that
lends courage for those still struggling.
© 2001 Susan Wingate
Susan Wingate is currently working in personnel management at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has worked for twelve years as a chemical dependency counselor for adolescents, as well as having worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Her passion is to be a vehicle for creating awareness for self and others.