The Man Behind the Curtain: A Memoir (Paperback)
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Jessica Renee was 11 years old when her stepfather began routinely raping and sexually assaulting her. Only when she was 15 and her boyfriend asked the right questions did the truth come to light-a terrible truth that her mother chose not to believe. Backed by a church community that believed a woman's duty was to support her husband above all else, Jessica's mother and countless other family and friends turned against her, labeling her a sinner even as her rapist was convicted.
Throughout the long road to that conviction, Jessica often felt she didn't have a voice, as she was continually questioned, criticized, and cast aside. She is ready to make her voice heard now and provide a guiding light for those who are still searching for hope.
In calling attention to sexual abuse happening at home, by a family member the victim loved and trusted, Jessica's story is a powerful addition to the Me Too movement and a rallying cry for victims and allies to rise from the ashes of silence.
About the Author
Valerie Dimino is the coauthor of the memoir The Man Behind the Curtain, her debut book. She has been passionate about writing since kindergarten, when her first short story—written and illustrated in marker—was graced with an “I’m Proud of You!” dinosaur stamp. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in creative writing from SUNY Brockport and has professional writing, editing, and marketing experience in the fields of higher education, performing arts, and medical informatics. She blogs and shares more of her writing life at valeriedimino.com.
“In The Man Behind the Curtain, writer Valerie Dimino shapes and polishes Jessica Renee’s powerful story of sexual abuse and family betrayal. With a sure and steady hand, Dimino writes so gracefully she almost disappears into the story, allowing Renee’s voice to ring strong and clear. Readers will find no self-pity or sensationalism here; instead, Renee’s piercingly candid account illustrates how trauma may hurt us, but need not define us. This book will stay with you long after you turn the last page.” -Anne Panning, author of Dragonfly Notes: On Distance and Loss
“A child should never have to live the kind of life that Jessica experienced. Her story of sadness, betrayal, and shame ends in love and success. I’m so proud of the strong child Jessica was and the beautiful woman she has become!” -Sandy (“Beans”), founder, Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) of Tennessee