Ruptured Book Review by Dear Guest

Dear Guest Ruptured review by Dahlia Nassar from Dear Guest Magazine

Ruptured is a shocking story about Farida, a thriving magazine Editor who was raped on her way home from work. The book tells the story of a young woman whose right to her body is unjustly taken away, and the horrific repercussion it leaves. The reader is made to understand why an event as seemingly harmless as a doorman accommodatingly opening the building door, can strike suspicion and terror into the mistrustful bystander’s heart. With the turn of each page we come into contact with how she is perceived by society, and all her emotions; including the re-experiencing of the attack through nightmares, frequent bathing, intrusive flashbacks; the avoidance of friends, feelings, places; and a diminished interest in former activities.

After a period of reflection and relative isolation, followed by an eighteen month stretch of believing she had “gotten over it,” Farida decides to return to work. Farida is determined to write about her assault and, voice the pain of her experience, even though she can not erase it. In her neither self-pitying nor shrill letter/article to her readers, she describes the shame, loneliness and pain that she felt, yet was unable to express – eloquently bringing to the readers attention; how women’s assault is being handled by the system and, more important, by society…

Tarek Refaat takes us through this journey of healing, artfully introducing each character, whilst leaving us sympathetically bonded. He explores the shifting cultural perception toward rape, from the acknowledgement of posttraumatic stress suffered by victims to the undue dealing of the Egyptian society. The author describes the incident itself with remarkable elusiveness, yet delicately interweaves every detail, allowing us to both connect, and clearly comprehend the victims stained taste of shame, by educating us about common misconceptions and falsities regarding statistics and information. He describes the many small steps that Farida, like so many other victims, take to cope with the shame and ruptured faith that are the cruel legacy of their attack. Refaat has achieved an impressive balance between a somberly candid account of personal trauma and an ingenious fictional debate of an all-too-often unspeakable crime, with a persuasive opportunity for his audience to seriously rethink an abomination that is repeatedly dismissed.

Refaat’s book raises many important questions: Why the shame of being a victim of rape? Why is the victim blamed? Why people’s unreasonable ambivalent reactions to rape? And more importantly; Why the silence? He purposely and safely breaks the taboos, trying to pave the path for rape victims to speak out about this abominable and prevalent crime.

This book of love, friendship, hope and courage, not only acknowledges the tremendous emotional and physical impact rape has on a woman but it reminds anyone who has suffered brokenness or loss – of our capacities to endure and rise above all…

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