Here it is, guys… this stuff still makes me nervous, but I’m glad to have it off my shoulders. Get ready. Quoting Bloom‘s tweet: “Rape survivor courageously shares her later-life understandings about coping, surviving, healing .”

And what a pleasure it was to work with the fine people at Bloom! What a perfect place for this piece.  Sonya, you are a brilliant and patient editor!


by Michele Beller

Jessica Stern’s memoir is aptly titled: Denial: A Memoir of Terror. Stern opens by describing a terrifying experience, indeed: at 15, she and her 14-year-old sister were raped, at gunpoint, in her small and historic hometown of Concord, Massachusetts—a town where “rape at gunpoint was unimaginable” in 1973. No rapist was caught—in fact, the sisters’ story was not completely believed—and the case was closed.

Recalling her childhood decades later, Ms. Stern explains that through the remainder of her teenage years, bad grades in writing classes convinced her to switch her childhood dream of becoming a writer to the “more unemotional” discipline of chemistry—it was “comforting that the answers were either right or wrong, unlike in real life.” She ultimately found a successful career as an expert on terrorism, submitting to her “intense curiosity about the terrorists themselves.” She was “fascinated by the secret motives…

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