Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged abuse

One Hundred Bottles

An intensely vivid and riveting story of abuse, pain, honesty, erotica and discovery-this combination of words may not sound appealing, but the provocative and imaginative novel of these topics woven together creates a graphic fall from the literary world into our laps of reading desire.

Why Girls Fight: Female Youth Violence in the Inner City

Ness holds doctorate degrees in Human Development, Psychology, and Anthropology and in Why Girls Fight she blends the theories and research methods from these three fields to discuss female youth violence. Ness argues that the majority of studies tend to examine either individual factors in explaining and understanding youth violence or emphasize sociological, macro-level factors.

The Truth about Me: A Hijra Life Story

What is it about the form of the life story—the autobiography—that makes it so seductive and so deeply discomfiting at the same time? I think it’s how the boundaries between private and public, someone else’s life and your own, blur in your reading. The relationship you forge is rich and colorful and insightful, but it’s also dark and violent and difficult to come to terms with.

My Sweet Wild Dance

It is always difficult for me, as a writer, to review another’s work. I find sentiment and solidarity too often hold sway, making me a bit kinder than I should be to those whose ghastly prose tarnishes the craft I have spent so many long years attempting to master. As someone’s whose known both praise and condemnation in my own career, I find myself, perhaps far too often, seeking some positive contribution I can offer to a fellow wordsmith, something which at least partially redeems the frequently soul-crushing process of reading critiques of one‘s own work.

Lily's Odyssey

This book is such an incredibly intimate look inside one woman’s life that I was almost ashamed of myself for reading it. The author’s voice is so true in its halting, neurotic narration that it was difficult to remember that this is a work of fiction. We first meet Lily when one of her abusers dies and the reader is gently led through her mind’s wanderings as she tries to make sense of her role as a victim of incest. From the outside, Lily could be seen as any other woman raised in the Catholic Midwest during the baby boom generation.

Starting from Scratch: A Novel with Recipes

In Starting from Scratch, Olivia Tschetter successfully defended her doctoral dissertation and lost her mother all in one day. The youngest of four siblings, Olivia moves back home to be with her father, to run away from her responsibilities at school, and to grieve. Her connection to her mother, who was an incredible cook, is food.

At Last

It seems counter-intuitive by now that women rappers would rhyme about anything other than leftist politics, feminist ideals, empowerment and sexuality, and anti-corporatism.


I recall visiting a horror movie convention soon after Kill Bill had come out. Nearly every film production table had at least one "sexy lady getting revenge" movie poster predominantly on display. Attractive female murderers are the perfect shortcut to fulfilling violence and sex in films.

A Kind of Intimacy

In Jenn Ashworth’s debut novel, A Kind of Intimacy, the reader follows a few weeks of Annie's life. Annie is not exactly a well person. She doesn’t have much going for her either. Her father was abusive and she married early partly to leave home and partly because she doesn’t have anything better to do.

The Killer Inside Me

The song "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" sums up all Jim Thompson’s oeuvre. When he wrote his novels (mostly in the '50s) they were rightly regarded as violent misogynist twaddle.

Kanyadaan (5/14/2010)

It is with much anticipation that I attended the opening night show of Kanyadaan, a play written by Vijay Tendulkar and directed by Pratidhwani’s Agastya Kohli. The reasons for my enthusiasm were multifold; for one, I’ve been a fan of Agastya’s (and Pratidhwani’s) work for a few years now, and second, I had personally worked with all members of Kanyadaan’s talented cast in last year’s incisive political satire, Ek Tha Gadha, Urf Aladad Khan.

Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond

The poet and essayist Jane Satterfield writes a hauntingly discontinuous prose-poem about a sort of exile.

From Rage to Courage: Answers to Readers' Letters

Alice Miller alleges that "most people (ninety-five percent of the world population) were beaten as children." You might think these are some pretty hefty charges: so did I.

For the Love Of Animals: The Rise of the Animal Protection Movement

Most people seem to agree that on some level, animal abuse is wrong. Whether this judgment is applied equally across species, however, is another matter. One hardly has to look further for modern examples of animal rights cognitive dissonance than the public outcry against Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring.

Afraid to Go Home

Afraid to Go Home tells the story of Cathy, a successful career woman who is the head of a large company’s HR Department, but, after two failed marriages, trapped in an abusive relationship with Fred.

Promised Virgins: A Novel of Jihad

Promised Virgins echoes of stories already told; they howl and yowl in your ear as Jeffrey Fleishman whispers and intimates, ever beseeching that you withstand his narrative a moment longer. Fleishman relies on the threads of past to weave his story, devices used before by film writers and the novelists who inspired them.

Twisted Triangle: A Famous Crime Writer, a Lesbian Love Affair, and the FBI Husband’s Violent Revenge

“Stranger than fiction” is the most accurate way to describe the premise for this book about married FBI agents. The wife has a lesbian affair with a crime novel author, and the husband kidnaps and later tries to kill his wife. And yet, it’s a true story!

The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today

Before starting this book, prepare yourself. Bales and Soodalter take an in depth look at slavery in America, and they reveal some dark stories that some people may find too disturbing. Slavery, unfortunately, did not end in the United States with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. It exists throughout the world through house, field, and sexual servitude.

Shattered Innocence: The Error of Revenge

I was less than impressed with Kimberly Whitner-Hill’s Shattered Innocence: The Error of Revenge. I found this book to be not very well thought out and poorly executed. The first chapter begins with a scene in the life of the main character, Kayla. That scene is never revisited, however, and within two pages the clock is turned back to her father’s childhood.

Must Read After My Death

Familial dysfunction is rarely poetic, but archival footage can be visually stunning, especially paired with painfully honest audio recordings of diaries, intimate correspondence, and therapy sessions. After his grandmother Allis’ death in 2001, filmmaker Morgan Dews stumbled upon more than 200 home movies and fifty hours of tape-recorded diaries and Dictaphone correspondence which revealed a complicated story previously unknown to Dews.

Live Through This

In the late nineties, playwright, singer-songwriter, and spoken word artist Sabrina Chapadjiev was an impassioned student playwright in college when she experienced an intensely creative period that put her on the brink of self-destruction. She had recently learned that a young, fierce playwright she had long admired, Sarah Kane, had committed suicide, and she was worried.

Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction

Live Through This is truly a feminist work. It takes the expressed experiences from individuals coming from a wide array of backgrounds, who candidly and publicly share their experiences with issues labelled taboo and private, offering strength and conscience to readers everywhere. The format of this work is an anthology of pieces from some of the most groundbreaking American cultural producers.

If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation

Janine Latus’ bestselling memoir, If I Am Missing or Dead, is remarkable in many ways.

Lust, Caution

Ang Lee seems to have a thing for short story adaptations and violent sexual encounters. While I respect much of Lee’s previous work and believe he often possesses masterful vision, Lust, Caution is a sadistic, repulsive disaster. Lee takes great liberties with this pseudo-drama portraying an amateur conspiracy against a prominent Japanese collaborator in 1940s occupied China.

Freeing Tammy: Women, Drugs, and Incarceration

Meet Tammara Johnson, an ex-19 year heroin addict, ex-prisoner and now a job development trainer for an in-patient drug treatment program. Freeing Tammy is the final book of a trilogy that discusses women, poverty and violence.

Brainscan 21: Irreconcilable Differences

In her riveting zine, Alex Wrekk writes in raw and powerful detail about her marriage to a man named J who dominates the relationship and systematically chips away at her self-esteem until she feels like a big zero, like she's the one who is crazy. (Projection and gaslighting are tactics of choice used by the cowardly abusers, but victims don’t usually "get it" until they are in way over their head.) I believe no one can fully understand what a Herculean task escaping and recovering from abuse is unless they have traversed a twisted relationship personally.

These Girls

Documentarian Tahani Rached is allowed intimate access into the lives of a tight-knit group of teenage girls living on the streets of Cairo, Egypt. This motley band of girls includes Tata, the ringleader; Danya, the self-proclaimed “fireball"; Abeer; Ze’reda; Maryam and Big Sister Hind, who offers advice and a shoulder to lean on. Although these teens are “voluntarily” homeless, viewers soon learn that they have chosen what they consider to be the lesser of two evils: the streets versus their abusive homes. The film opens with Tata riding a horse down a street crowded with cars.


The untimely murder of indie heroine director and producer Adrienne Shelley was inevitably on my mind as I watched her supporting performance. Waitress is set up to make you love it, and for many reasons, one can. Lush colors, laugh out loud humor and delicious-looking pies are enticing.

Girls in Trouble with the Law

“I was like four or six when my babysitter molested me... I would just freeze... Like I thought if I froze it would not have happened.” This 16-year-old girl’s memory is an all too familiar one for Laurie Schaffner.

Fringe Magazine (Feminism, February 2007)

Fringe Magazine’s Feminism issue is bursting with refreshing and candid short stories, interviews, poetry, photographs, and non-fiction essays. Standout pieces include “Young Mother: Three Portraits” (poetry), “The Harlot’s Curse: Feminism and Prostitution” (non-fiction essay), “Wanting” (short story), and “The Sideboard” (photograph). “The Harlot’s Curse: Feminism and Prostitution”, by Kate Morris, takes a look at how feminism has always been divided on the issues of sexuality, i.e.