Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement, by Tarana Burke
Topics: Sexual Abuse, Trauma, Consent, Recovery, Healing
I first heard Burke speak at a local Ted-X conference hosted by Florida State Community College in Jacksonville, Florida. In her session, she detailed the birth of the Me Too Movement, a call-to-action against rape culture that originated in her own advocacy efforts. When I heard her later as a guest on Glennon Doyle’s podcast with a newly published memoir, I knew I had to read what she wrote.
Unbound opens with Burke’s emotionally harrowing experience of watching a term she coined go viral on social media without her consent or participation. Overnight, the advocacy campaign she founded for girls of color who had experienced sexual abuse got swept up and appropriated to an audience of largely white women enraged by sexual-abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Burke’s concerns went beyond her own erasure to worry for millions of people revealing their vulnerabilities in online spaces not designed to support them. Unbound puts Burke back in the driver’s seat of her original idea and tells her own Me Too story with boldness and transparency.
Burke is generous in revealing her experiences with sexual assault as a child and later as a teenager. Her story makes clear how even the strongest kids, teens, and adults can be silenced by their abusers and kept at arm's length from the people who love and support them. It’s stories from other Black women and girls, like Maya Angelou and a 13-year-old in need of support, that conspire to pull Burke out of isolation and into work where she commits to paying it forward.
Survivors and the people who care for them will no doubt find acknowledgement and hope in Burke’s words. An especially beautiful scene in her personal healing involves dancing with a male friend, where she’s free to express her sexuality without feeling pressure to carry it into a physical connection. For an extra dose of immersion into her story, opt for the audio book, read by Burke herself.
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Consider purchasing from Femme Fire Books or your local independent bookstore.
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Learn more about this author and the continuing evolution of the Me Too movement at metoomvmt.org.
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