Page 21 - Real Style Spring 2020
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doing so, I came to understand the similarities in these stories. As an MFA student, I studied the craft of fiction, and as a PhD student, I immersed my- self in trauma theory and girl studies. Oftentimes, though, the research didn’t feel like research; it just felt like I saw Vanessa and Strane in everything. I think once you have certain characters at the fore- front of your brain, they become the filter through which you experience everything.
RS: Why do you think so many people turn a blind eye to sexual abuse?
KER: I think the enablement of sexual abuse can be a difficult thing to come to terms with because it often takes the form of small and even well- meaning decisions: withholding judgement, giving someone the benefit of the doubt, not speaking out because doing so would mean causing a scene. It can be hard to understand how your small action (or inaction) contributes to the larger pattern of fail- ure and silencing that victims face. Truly reckoning with how sexual abuse operates in our communi- ties means moving beyond binary, black-and-white thinking and accepting that enablement takes many different forms, and that one doesn’t need to be a villain in order to be complicit.
RS: Do you think My Dark Vanessa is important for men to read it as well women?
KER: Absolutely. The conversation around sexual abuse can so easily become a gendered one, and un- derstandably so, as women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence, but this is not just a women’s issue.
RS: What would you like to say to the girls go- ing through something like this currently, or the women who have lived it?
KER: As a writer, I don’t feel qualified to give ad- vice on how to approach therapy or psychological healing, but what I can offer is this: finding com- munity is so important. For me, community was found in reading and writing, and also in connect- ing with other young women and discovering the similarities in our shared histories. That power of recognition, of seeing ourselves in one another, is incredibly powerful.
One of the most anticipated novels of 2020 is by first- time author Ottessa Moshfegh. It follows the story of an elderly widow who finds a cryptic note pointing out a dead body while taking a walk in the woods by her new home.
It will turn her life upside down as she starts to lose her grip on reality and question everything about the place she’s settled down in.
Without a doubt Jim Carrey is a comedic legend, but how much do we really know about him? This semi- autobiographical novel he wrote with Dana Vachon may give a little insight into his life, but when you’ve finished reading it you still might not know a lot. After all Carrey himself has stated that “None of this is real and all of it is true.”
Therapist Annette Kussin takes a close look at relationships, from successes and failures to preferences and challenges, and it
helps the reader not only understand and make sense of them, but also helps them develop ideas on how to make constructive changes to the ones in their own lives.
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