Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention

Little, Brown. Aug. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9780316450522. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316450515. MEMOIR
OrangeReviewStarHundreds of letters. Daily phone calls. Uninvited visits. Persistent invitations for coffee, meals, outings, and trips. As a graduate student, Freitas (Sex and the Soul) was a confident student who loved learning and aimed to become a professor herself, until she was stalked by her mentor, a professor who was also an ordained priest. Hesitant to confront him because of his institutional position and her own self-doubt, the author eventually found that avoidance, refusals, and even ultimatums had no effect—and when she turned to the university for help, the administration chose to shield him rather than protect her. While some may wish for a more victorious ending to Freitas's experience, the memoir itself—coming after years of silence on its author's part—is a triumph on its own. It is particularly valuable for its intimate portrait of the emotional and psychological damage nonviolent stalking can wreak on a victim and its exploration of the mental and societal pressures that keep such victims from speaking out.
VERDICT Any reader interested in current discussions on consent and its importance should pick up this heartfelt and harrowing book.

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