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Lifting the Gag Order: Speak Out About Sexual Assault

“Anyone who has been the target of sexual or physical predation will know that, too often, the victim's voice is the first casualty of the abuser's relentless campaign of emotional manipulation, threats, and gas-lighting.” This was the review left by a generous Amazon customer named “Katrina” after she read my memoir about emotional and sexual abuse. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and her commentary is timely.

If you haven’t had the chance yet, please check out the pieces The Huffington Post is running this month. They’ve been doing a tremendous job and have partnered with RAINN (Rape and Incest National Network) in their efforts to raise awareness.

Mary Elizabeth Williams, author of Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream and staff writer for Salon, adds an important dimension to the international dialogue on the issue: “If there’s any small measure of good news to come out of the Rolling Stone UVA fiasco — as well as multiple other high profile recent stories about sexual assault — it’s that we’re now having more open and nuanced conversations about rape, and rape prevention.” She goes on to deconstruct the mixed messages disseminated in rape-prevention PSAs and national women’s magazines.

The bottom line of the discussion is that survivors need to continue to speak out, and the backlash against an overly litigious and blame-game culture cannot be applied to sexual assault. The perpetrators, and not the victims, must suffer the consequences of their crimes.

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I am giving away a copy of my memoir, Losing the Dollhouse. To enter, sign up for my newsletter here. The winner will be chosen at random from the entrants and will receive their choice of a signed copy of the book or the Kindle edition.

[A portion of author proceeds from Losing the Dollhouse will benefit RAINN.]

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