Monday, 23 March 2015


I have written a book called "MANscapes- Journey into Light" about a woman who lives in an abusive relationship all her adult life, and discovers there IS a way out; and that once she has taken that first step, life/love/ comes out to meet her halfway into her "Journey into Light". I got it published! By WDA Publishing, which was a victory in itself.

Now, while I love this book dearly, and believe it has some important things to say, which is why I wrote it, (there were women out there, victims of rape, suffering under the yoke of psychological violence all their lives who might find some comfort in knowing they are not alone) I expected no flurry of sales, this is not a popular theme, not the stuff of bestsellers, and that is quite alright. If I can reach and encourage one woman, my job is done.

So what is my gripe? What is NOT alright?
Let me explain. During the course of the launch, "MANscapes" was sent to bloggers for divulging and reviews, and I am very happy to tell you what they all agreed on: it is a good book, and (blush) well written. I am proud of that, proud that I did Clara and woman like her justice, made their pain real and palpable to the reader; and now we come to the crux of the matter.

Though none could actually come up with a single complaint about the storyline, the plot, the writing, the depth or construction of characters? They all universally did complain that they felt UNCOMFORTABLE reading the book.

These were all women reading MANscapes. Women who could all be subject to the trauma of rape, violence. Women who have all, at some time in their lives, been afraid. The feeling I had is that maybe this should not be spoken of... My book is just too REAL.

GOSH! Can't we read something FUN that does not make us think? Let's sweep all those icky issues under the rug, let these ladies go to encounter groups, or shelters...Let them accomplish their liberation and regeneration of the self in the same suitably discreet silence they suffered the abuse...Curiously enough, the violence or the rape are not lingered on. These comprise maybe two or three paragraphs out of the entire book. SO what is the problem? Is Clara weak? NO! Is she someone with an odd personality that basically "asked for it"? NO! Was she unsympathetic, unpleasant, aggressive? NO!

So? I ask again, what is the problem? Why did they feel uncomfortable? Most of the book is a paean of hope: a woman growing from the moment when she was frozen by the abuse like a fly in amber, into a mature human being, capable of choices; reaching and achieving her dreams, who does not define herself by her scars.

Finally someone said - shamefaced- "Manuela, it could have been me."
That is the truth about abuse: it could be us, and often, behind the silence and the charming smile, it is.

Don't let them avoid us; look away from us, neither our pain nor our rejoicing in our victory.
Their looking away is THEIR shame.

Manuela Cardiga

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