Unbound is the memoir of the founder of the “me too” movement. Tarana Burke describes the moment that her world fractured and how she has tried to put it back together. The first step to that is admitting exactly what happened. And that honestly is sometimes the hardest thing.
The moment that her life was fracture is the moment when she was sexually assaulted when she was a child. From that moment, she feels like she is split in half: one half a good girl who tried to do no wrong ; the second half a bad girl who she tried to desperately hard to hide from everyone. This is the part that is damaged – broken – and the part she believes will never fully heal.
Tanara Burke explains how she blamed herself for what had happened to her. She was afraid to share her truth for fear of how people would respond. She was also afraid of what will to those closest to her. As a young woman who had been assaulted, she was more focused on protecting others – especially her step father – and not protecting and healing herself. In fact, she had no idea where to begin. The world that surrounded her had instilled the idea that this was her fault and if she told the truth it would do more damage.
This was heartbreaking to read. It also gave me pause for though thinking about the messages that are told to young girls regarding right and wrong. We encourage them to do no wrong or let someone do wrong to them. Yet we rarely give then the tools of what to so if something does go wrong. We tell them that they can tell us anything but, but if we are told something wrong, the response is often not empathetic. It is instead judgemental. Tanara Burke experienced all of this and it forever made an impact on what else happened in her life and how she responded.
Tanara Burke had to come to terms with what happened to happened to her in order to heal. It then become more and more obvious to her that she was not the only one who needed to heal and a safe place to share their story. Even before she came to terms with her trauma, she was working hard to help young Black girls and women become stronger. She created an environment where they could feel safe. As she started to come to terms with her trauma, she began striving for ways to expose the prevalence of sexual impropriety and violence against women in our society. She wrote, she spoke, she presented, she researched, and she listened. So when the “me too” moment because a more public idea she was ready.
The “me too” moment originally came to light after a fitful night and several scribbled notes. It was the start of a journey of healing and Unbound is the result of that healing. Well not the result per say as healing is forever on going but it is an example of how to start piecing oneself back together. It is a heartfelt and heartbreaking voice of encouraging female empathy and empowerment. This is not an easy story to read but it is an important one. It is a story of survival and the need for change and justice in our society. It is an acknowledgement of what has happened, what lessons have been given, what lessons need to be changed, and how we are supposed to more forward as a more empathetic and empowered society. This is a very powerful book and I’m so glad I took the opportunity to read it.
Rating: 5 Stars