Overcoming Childhood Sexual Assault: Survivors' Stories: Background information when reading Somebody's Daughter

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Somebody's Daughter

A Memoir

by Ashley C. Ford

Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford X
Somebody's Daughter by Ashley C. Ford
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2021, 224 pages

    May 2022, 224 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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About this Book

Overcoming Childhood Sexual Assault: Survivors' Stories

This article relates to Somebody's Daughter

Print Review

In her debut memoir, Ashley C. Ford reflects on the lasting impact of her childhood, most notably the sexual assault she suffered at the age of 14. The process of dissecting trauma through literature is certainly not easy, but doing so can bring catharsis to writers and readers alike.

With assault affecting everyone differently, however, there is no one account that can encapsulate the full impact of this experience. While people of every race, gender, age, sexuality and religion fall victim to sexual assault, the following memoirs focus specifically on women who were assaulted during childhood, exploring the impact on their lives and their respective roads to recovery.

Tragically, it is estimated that a child in America falls victim to sexual abuse every nine minutes, but only 25 out of 1,000 perpetrators end up in prison. Though this is by no means a comprehensive list of those brave enough to share their pain, each one serves as a powerful reminder of the human lives behind these statistics.

Shout coverShout
by Laurie Halse Anderson

Anderson's celebrated young adult novel Speak (1999) commented on the issue of victim blaming. Twenty years later, galvanized by the rise of the #MeToo movement, she published this memoir-in-verse, detailing aspects of her own childhood assault publicly for the first time.

The Little Girl on the Ice Flow coverThe Little Girl on the Ice Floe
by Adélaïde Bon

A bestseller in the author's native France, this poised yet passionate memoir explores the devastation of suffering in silence. Twenty-three years after a traumatic assault that has haunted her life, Bon is informed that her attacker has finally been identified thanks to new DNA analysis: a serial burglar believed to have targeted hundreds of minors across a span of two decades.

Notes on a Silencing coverNotes on a Silencing
by Lacy Crawford

When a top New England boarding school is accused of covering up years' worth of sexual abuse, victims are asked to come forward. Compelled to reevaluate her own experiences at the school years prior, Crawford helps to expose the extent of corruption among the American elite, and the lengths faculties have gone to cover up stories told by victims, hers included.

Hunger coverHunger
by Roxane Gay

Examining her relationship with image, food, health and well-being, Gay identifies a brutal sexual assault at the age of 12 as the catalyst for much of her attitude towards her own body. She explains how overeating became a deliberate means of protecting herself from further harm. This says much about the physical and mental ramifications of rape, the fine line between indulgence and self-destruction, and society's view of beauty and what is desirable.

Deep Creek coverDeep Creek
by Pam Houston

Profound and meditative, Houston writes about the healing power of the natural world. Following a traumatic childhood of parental abuse, she settles on a 120-acre homestead high in the Colorado Rockies. As she cares for the land and its animals, she receives equal nourishment from them in return.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings coverI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou

A classic of American literature and a seminal example of the form, Angelou's first memoir describes the struggles of her early childhood. This includes the deep-rooted racial prejudice of the American South, and a devastating experience of sexual abuse at the age of eight. The trauma of this event and its aftermath triggers a bout of muteness that lasts almost five years, but Angelou explains how love, kindness and literature help her to literally reclaim her voice: a voice that was destined to define her generation.

Filed under Reading Lists

This "beyond the book article" relates to Somebody's Daughter. It originally ran in June 2021 and has been updated for the May 2022 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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