Reviewed by me for Readers’ Favorite.
Breaking Through the Silence – The Journey to Surviving Sexual Assault by Marissa F. Cohen is a compilation of a series of thought-provoking real-life episodes of real people (including that of the author) who went through traumatic incidents of sexual assault(s). Having said that this is more than just that. This book is an eye-opener, empowering tool, and an encyclopedia of emotions. Sexual-assaults are happening everywhere but real number of these incidents may never surface. The reason for the discrepancy in the number of reported cases and the real number is the “victim-shaming” that follows once the victim reports the incident. When a theft occurs, people do not begin berating the victim; however, when a sexual assault occurs, almost everyone begins spreading their “wisdom” of how the victim could (and should) have been more careful. The society begins digging up various life-events of the victim to find clues that would help them to identify the victim as somebody who was “asking for it.”
These survivors, who have shared their traumatic events in this book, are truly survivors. They were broken once, but they chose to take control of their lives through various mediums. Some of these survivors turned to drugs to numb their pain, but once they realized that they needed a healthier outlet, they found what really worked for them: individual/group therapy, yoga, religion, etc. That’s why I called this book “an empowering tool” in the very beginning of this review. If any victim of self-assault would read this book with an open mind, they would not only relate to these survivors but also, learn a few coping mechanisms.
Each word of these assault incidents is authentic that it hits very close to home. There are times when we brush something off as our imagination or deny to give somebody inappropriate advances as nothing, but while reading this book, one would be forced to re-assess whether they ignored a sexual-assault in their own lives. I know it triggered something in me, too. It’s very tough to reach out to one’s friends and/or family to talk about a sexual-assault because even our loved ones tend to question our intake of alcohol, appearance at the time the assault happened, among other details. They think they are helping us by pointing out in what ways we might have provoked the predator and by doing that they are enforcing the rule that we should be more careful. Although that’s true and advisable, us being vulnerable does not mean that we gave our permission to anybody to sexually assault us. Let’s blame who must be blamed and it’s definitely not the victim.
Another thing that makes this book incredible is the inclusion of advice and encouraging words of many professionals. These are the people who work closely with the survivors and help them in whatever way they can. Their general advice is to report the incident and join any coping mechanism that might work for you. Every individual is different and therefore one coping mechanism that works for me may not work for you. Breaking Through the Silence – The Journey to Surviving Sexual Assault by Marissa F. Cohen is a must read for everyone. It would aid the survivors in finding their center and others, who have fortunately not been in such situation, be less judgemental of the victims.