To the Survivors is the touching memoir written by Robert Uttaro. The book arrived in my hands at the proper time and just some days after learning about the upcoming conviction of Harvey Weinstein, the movie producer accused of sexual harassment and sexual violence against some now popular actresses.
To the Survivors is the journey of a 30 year American guy, Robert Uttaro, who serves as a voluntary counselor at a healing center for sexual trauma survivors in the United States.
Indeed, the complete title of the book is To the Survivors: One Man’s Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence.
The work is a light of hope in the black hole of loneliness of women, men and even children who have been victims of sexual violence.
Anyway, the work is not a debate about sexual violence, it is a way to give a voice to those who were raped by their best friends, their partners, their husband, their employer, by the priest in their parish. Behold: true stories, true life, not a Television show such as the one about the aforementioned Weinstein.
These stories tell about sexual violence by the depths of the soul of people, exposing their emotions after the rape their endured. Those are true people like me, like you, their stories are written through bold letters, with tender and sweet words. Some of them expressed their grief with the writing style of a poem.
The author is instead the counselor who takes the role of a gentle and respectful interviewer. The perspective of the entire work of Robert Uttaro is the one to make these survivors feel listened and understood. How much hard is to get understood in the field of sexual trauma? Blaming is always against victims and never against the true culprits, namely the rapists!
To the Survivors struck me very much, but the author said just that, in the initial pages of the book: “Some details can trigger very sensitive readers or those readers who have been raped”.
Well, I got never raped (I don’t remember about that, at least), but some stories of sexual violence triggered me the same.
I can reveal nothing, about the stories, but one of these caused me to violently curse the rapist, especially if he is a priest and the victim is a 13 year old boy who served him to the altar in a catholic parish!
I remained wordless, appalled and much raged!
To the Survivors gave a room to those who have had their life harmed and changed by sexual violence, because violence always changes you. Willy-nilly! However, the book gave also a message of recovery, hope and inner healing. That is the voice of the true protagonists of violence, it is sexual violence seen by inside, with all of its dreadful reality.
Through this work, sexual violence can be labeled for what it really is and victims for the one they really are: violence is evil and victims are persons who experienced an horrible crime against their body and their dignity.
This book has had the merit to give back dignity, respect and importance to sexual trauma survivors. They survived their painful experience and surviving and moving on is always a form of forgiveness.
To the Survivors is not a masterpiece, because I use this word for novels and fiction books, only. This book is a bright testimony about the human value of true people and the nothingness of sexual violence perpetrators.
He gave us an important piece of his life. Give him, what he deserves: read this review and buy To the Survivors, now!