Magazine article Herizons

Fragment by Fragment: Feminist Perspectives on Memory and Child Sexual Abuse

Magazine article Herizons

Fragment by Fragment: Feminist Perspectives on Memory and Child Sexual Abuse

Article excerpt

FRAGMENT BY FRAGMENT: FEMINIST PERSPECTIVES ON MEMORY AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

EDITED BY MARGO RIVERA

GYNERGY BOOKS, 1999

With unflinching honesty, these 18 authoritative voices challenge the reader to look deeply into the complexity of memory and child sexual abuse.

This is the most significant compilation of study to date about memory and false memory of child sexual abuse. Fragment by Fragment is both scholarly and clear and readable. The book's authors assert, in different voices and perspectives, that memory is extremely complex. With intellectual integrity, these feminist scholars look squarely and deeply into this multi-layered phenomenon.

The book gives us a complex understanding of the innate ambiguity of memory, itself, especially memory of trauma. As the title suggests, it is by piling fragment after fragment that a survivor, a therapist, a court, or society at large can come to a clear assertion that sexual abuse or incest has occurred in any given case. One part of this ambiguity is the fractured psyche of the survivor. A victim may know that they were abused, may have always remembered it, can even have concrete substantiation that it occurred, and yet may still doubt it, at moments, or for periods of time, in order to protect herself from bottomless grief.

Remembering trauma is debilitating, sometimes impossible. We know and accept this for victims of other kinds of trauma, for example in war or after terrible car accidents, but yet society still holds the view that forgetting must be rare. …

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