Published: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd
Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Trigger Warning: Rape
Today is my spot on the blog tour for this powerful story. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Madeline Black for the gifted copy.
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.
“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 and distant to non-existent. It was too extreme, too violent to understand.”
A harrowing, moving and powerful story of survival.
At just thirteen-years-old Madeline Black was brutally raped and tortured by two men. Too terrified to tell anyone after her life is threatened, and filled with shame and guilt, she internalises and buries the ordeal. But it seeps out in other ways and she begins to act out, take drugs and act promiscuously. Every time her parents try to warn her that something bad might happen, the truth that it already has gets stuck in her throat, filled with words she feels unable to speak. Before she turns eighteen Madeline is raped on three more occasions and spends time in a psychiatric hosptial after attempting suicide. She had endured more in her short life than most of us ever will.
“In that moment, I declared to myself that my best revenge on those who assaulted me would be to lead a good and happy life.”
But this is a story that is so much more than the horrors she endured. This is the story of how she recognised her trauma, faced it and took the ultimate revenge on her attackers by thriving and going on to lead a happy and fulfilled life.
Understandably this was not an easy book to read. I fought back tears and nausea and even had to put the book down a few times as the scenes depicting what she was subjected to were so horrifying. While that part of her story is necessary, the prevailing memory and message of this story is one of hope, bravery and survival. A reminder that you can survive a traumatic experience and turn it into something good, which Madeline does by not only living a happy life, but also working with the Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis and training as a psychologist.
“I didn’t think my journey was so extraordinary, but the more I opened up to people, the more evidence I received to show me it was.”
Madeline is an incredible woman. To endure all she has and still thrive is remarkable and I am so glad that she felt able to share her story. I am filled with admiration for the strength and bravery she has shown and in her ability to find a path to forgiveness.
Unbroken is an inspiring and empowering story that you won’t forget.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
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.
BUY THE BOOK: