Tuesday 17 April 2018

Unbroken by Madeleine Black @madblack65 @jblakebooks #Unbroken #MeToo #TimesUp

For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented... difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand.
Violently gang-raped when she was thirteen years old, and raped three more times before the age of eighteen, Madeleine has experienced more trauma in her life than most ever will.
Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way.
Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage.
In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity. We are not defined by what knocks us down - we are defined by how we get back up.

Unbroken by Madeleine Black was published in paperback by John Blake Publishing on 4 April 2017.  My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review.

2018 is a particularly relevant year in which to read Madeleine Black's searingly honest and quite heartbreaking story. Despite the fact that at last, women feel able to speak out about historic sexual abuse and harassment, I still see so many people pointing the finger of blame at the victim. I've seen it in the reviews of Unbroken, and it angers me and makes my heart break a little.

None of us should judge another, even when they put themselves out there and tell their story. Every individual will react to a situation in a different way, and even if, God forbid, someone has experienced what Madeleine has, and dealt with it in a different manner, they have no right to say that her way of surviving is wrong.

There, I've got that off my chest a bit!  I'm not going to go into detail about what happened to Madeleine Black when she was thirteen as blurb makes it clear what happened, however I do want to talk about the brutal honesty that are her words. Madeleine dealt with this life-changing and horrific event in her own way, and on her own. She told nobody what had happened to her, she was just thirteen years old; still a child. She wasn't even quite sure what exactly had happened that night.

Unbroken is Madeleine's story of how she healed herself. It wasn't a quick process by any means and she harmed herself so many times through her behaviour after the attack. Sleeping around, drinking, taking drugs, distancing herself from her family; she did all of these things as she struggled to discover a way forward, and how to survive on a daily basis.

This truly is a story of hope and of triumph. As slowly, step by step, the author discovers her own medicine; she runs, she lifts weights, she investigates alternative healing, she is ready to embrace anything that may be of help to her. The fact that she overcome her terror of the dark, of being alone with unknown males, of walking alone at night, in order to find peace is just one indication of her inner strength. There were times as I was reading where I thought to myself that I would probably just crawl under the bedcovers and hide, yet Madeleine overcomes all of her demons and battles through to find peace.

Absolutely inspirational and told in a friendly, matter of fact style. Unbroken can be uncomfortable to read at times, the author warns the reader that the attack will be described in detail and it is testament to her strength and resilience that she was able to do this.

The sharing of her story on The Forgiveness Project's website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in. 
She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story at conferences, events and schools.
She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it. Not just for her, but for so many who can’t find theirs yet. 
She is married and lives in Glasgow with her husband, three daughters, her cat, Suki, and dog, Alfie.

For more info please see her website madeleineblack.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @madblack65

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