Notes on a Silencing

Notes on a Silencing Details

A riveting, lucid memoir of a young woman's struggle to regain her sense of self after trauma, and the efforts by a powerful New England boarding school to silence her--at any cost

When the elite St. Paul's School recently came under state investigation after extensive reports of sexual abuse on campus, Lacy Crawford thought she'd put behind her the assault she'd suffered at St. Paul's decades before, when she was fifteen. Still, when detectives asked for victims to come forward, she sent a note.

Her criminal case file reopened, she saw for the first time evidence that corroborated her memories. Here were depictions of the naïve, hard-working girl she'd been, a chorister and debater, the daughter of a priest; of the two senior athletes who assaulted her and were allowed to graduate with awards; and of the faculty, doctors, and priests who had known about Crawford's assault and gone to great lengths to bury it.

Now a wife, mother, and writer living on the other side of the country, Crawford learned that police had uncovered astonishing proof of an institutional silencing years before, and that unnamed powers were still trying to block her case. The slander, innuendo, and lack of adult concern that Crawford had experienced as a student hadn't been imagined as the effects of trauma, after all: these were the actions of a school that prized its reputation above anything, even a child.

This revelation launched Crawford on an extraordinary inquiry into the ways gender, privilege, and power shaped her experience as a girl at the gates of America's elite. Her investigation looks beyond the sprawling playing fields and soaring chapel towers of crucibles of power like St. Paul's, whose reckoning is still to come. And it runs deep into the channels of shame and guilt, witness and silencing, that dictate who can speak and who is heard in American society.

An insightful, mature, beautifully written memoir, Notes on a Silencing is an arresting coming-of-age story that wrestles with an essential question for our time: what telling of a survivor's story will finally force a remedy?

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Title:Notes on a Silencing
Edition Language:English
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    Notes on a Silencing Reviews

  • sarah xoxo

    "First, they refused to believe me. Then they shamed me. Then they silenced me"Notes on a Silencing was a powerful and emotional look at sexual assault, privilege, power and corruption within the very...

  • Cheryl

    "First, they refused to believe me. Then they shamed me. Then they silenced me"Never have I read such a powerful description of life after an assault. The lengths taken to keep the statutory sexual as...

  • Anna Luce

    Review to come. ...

  • Carolyn Rummel

    I received this in a Goodreads Giveaway and count myself privileged to get to read it before it is published in 2020. This retelling of the author's sexual assault by two students at her boarding scho...

  • Allison

    Brave and exquisite. This memoir should be added to the list of necessary reading to understand the difficult emotional work and futures of sexual assault and rape survivors, as well as how institutio...

  • rowan

    “I had spent so much time considering the challenge of bearing witness, of finding ways to transcribe experience so other people would understand. The work of telling is essential, and it is not eno...

  • Sarah D Bunting

    An infuriating stunner. ...

  • Jodie

    This has been one of the most difficult books that I have chosen to read and review. It is the story of the author’s own sexual assault, at the age of 15, while away at a St. Paul’s, a prestigious...

  • Dana M

    St. Paul’s is an actual dumpster fire of a school, with an old boys' club culture that has systematically silenced generations of young women. I would literally not send my child there if someone pa...

  • Audrey

    Absolutely phenomenal. Outrageously compelling writing. Incredible story. A must read. ...