Contents Chapter 1 Order Form


Shara, a 37-year-old saleswoman, stopped her car on a freeway overpass late one afternoon and stared down at the rush hour traffic below, deciding whether or not to jump.

Cheryl, the 44-year-old owner of a successful beauty salon, dressed in evening clothes, parked her new convertible in her garage and sat with the garage door closed behind her and the engine running.

Steve, a 47-year-old insurance executive, woke up one morning at his Los Angeles home and, instead of getting out of bed to go to work, lay curled in a fetal position, a .38 revolver by his side.

Shara, Cheryl and Steve did not know each other but they had shared a common experience that drove them to contemplate the ultimate decision: whether to live or to die.

Shara jumped into the fast-moving traffic and was killed. Cheryl and Steve chose life, knowing they would have to face up to the experiences that had driven them to the brink of suicide and that their lives would never be the same again.

Both realized they would have to recover from the shattering effects of possibly the most underrated traumatic experience of today; an experience which, remarkably, does not even have a name, but which can only be adequately characterized as "emotional rape."

Unlike sexual rape, emotional rape is an experience which the victim is not aware of until, possibly many years after the damaging process began, the ambitions of the perpetrator - the rapist - are achieved or the ongoing hidden agenda is threatened with discovery. In either event the victim is left, after an inevitable and painful period of revelation, to cope with the traumatic consequences.

This book is about identifying and preventing emotional rape. Its purpose is to reassure victims that they didn't do anything morally wrong, that they are not to blame for what happened to them, and that recovery is possible.

Only after the characteristics of emotional rape are recognized and understood will it be possible for victims to recover, and to prevent the patterns of behavior involved.

Emotional rape is so much a part of our culture that we are not only blind to it, we also sanction and promote it.

Victims often cannot adequately express what has happened to them and so cannot come to terms with their situation. They know they are confused and depressed, hurt and enraged, but they don't know why, or what to do to recover.

The examples in this book are taken from real life cases. Those involved have been given different names, other details which might identify individuals have been disguised, and in some instances composite identities have been created to avoid any resemblance to specific persons or situations. But the emotional content of the stories is true: real people felt the pain, real people had to find ways to over-come the trauma and learn how to live again.

Cheryl's experience is recounted fully in Chapter Two and the circumstances that led to Shara's tragic death are examined in Chapter Three.

Chapter One deals with Steve's story - one which clearly illustrates the principal characteristics of emotional rape. The fact that the victim was male and the rapist female also demonstrates how this behavior is not confined to the typical gender boundaries of physical rape.

Contents Chapter 1 Order Form