Self-published author and rape survivor Marie Williams, 31, has opened up about her life, sharing and discussing the horrific experience she’s had with rape. In doing so, she is hoping to touch the life of someone else who could benefit from her story.
Williams book, “The Remedy,” chronicles her story of surviving and overcoming rape while attending the University of Virginia. Williams has arranged and conducted a book tour and has given lectures at campuses such as the University of Virginia and Lehman College. Williams’ tour will resume with a speech at Manhattan College.
“The biggest reason I wanted to speak about the rape is to focus more on the recovery part of it than on the actual rape itself, because in the Black community, it is not something that is talked about, but it is something a lot of people are living with,” stated Williams.
“The side effect of rape and sexual assault affects more than just the victim, and that part of it is what I really want to speak on. There are women who need to know that they are not alone.”
Williams believes speaking openly and freely about rape and sexual assault would make bringing up the topic and having a conversation about rape much easier.
Williams was victimized at the age of 18. She reached out to counselors at the university but did not feel a strong connection with them. She was also referred to see someone else. “Once I got that referral, I decided I did not have the strength to tell this story again,” stated Williams. “It got to the point where I was suicidal and abusing alcohol. A friend of mine found me in my apartment drunk and made me go back to counseling, so I was placed under his care for a few months until I could get back on my feet and stop being a suicide risk.”
On returning home to the Bronx, Williams decided to use sports and exercise to treat her stress and frustrations. “I emerged myself into that and made fitness and exercise, almost to an obsession, my real focus.”
According to the Rape Crisis Center, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Among all victims, 9 out of 10 are female. One in 4 women are sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
“I took a ride from a guy I’d only known for a couple hours. For a long time, I blamed myself, but ultimately the bigger picture is why do we live in a society where we can’t, or if we do take a ride from someone who we think is a Good Samaritan, that person is now our worst enemy?
“It took a long time to realize whether I took the ride or not, it did not give him the right. Really coming to believe that took a few years, and then after that, it took years to get to the point where I believed that I should love myself and that I should let somebody else love me.”
“The Remedy” is written from the perspective of her two sides: the one that blamed herself and the other side that felt ashamed and worthless.
“The book is this ongoing fight that I’ve been having with myself for years,” said Williams. The incident is explained at the beginning of the book, but “most of it is about my relationship with different men in my life, from family, friends, guys I grew up with to guys I met as a bartender. Its stories of how I interacted with them and how all my interactions, thoughts and behaviors were affected by the rape and how the way I viewed men changed so much.”
Still on the road to recovery, Williams has adapted her memoir into a stage play, which she is currently producing and directing. The play will open Sept. 18 in Harlem at First Corinthian Baptist Church, located at 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.
Williams’ church will be celebrating its pastoral anniversary weekend with plays, concerts and more.
“The theme for this year is ‘I Am Not Afraid of Me,’” said Williams. “I thought, ‘How amazing is that?’ This is going to be a very impactful piece, and I am really honored to be apart of it.”
Williams book is available for purchase online wherever books are sold. Contact Williams on Facebook and LinkedIn.