Suffering rape at the age of 12 was the beginning of Michell Spoden’s eventful life as Spoden tells her life story in Stricken Yet Crowned (Sakura Publishing, 2010). Physical rape, as the author shows through her story, is only one of several forms of abuse besides various factors facilitating abuse of women even in societies where they have more civil rights than the rest of the world.
Michell Spoden’s book outlines the abuse of women in multiple forms and at various stages in life – physical rape, emotional deceit and manipulation by intended immigrants, and administrative denial to help pursue the truth and bring the culprits to justice – all laced in the same thread of womanhood. Readers will find it inspiring and motivating how something greater within the author never gave up on life. Making her past the path to her liberation, Spoden shows us that the spirit of healing never fails us if we commit not let ourselves down. That is how she learnt to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit and save her inner self from life-long possession by trauma and abuse.
The style of narration in Spoden’s book is interesting, fairly unusual as we read it like a documentary with an omniscient voice introducing various phases in the author’s life followed by her first-person account of the details of those stages in her life. It is the straightforwardness, the unaffectedness of her voice that feels as the most striking quality of her story. There is no drama in her book, no sentimentalism or appeal to any sort of trite gender-based victimization. The author’s account as well as questioning of attitudes and procedures is clear, to-the-point, and grasping.
Now involved in helping the affected, traumatized, and suffering, Michell Spoden is starting to reach out to women in places where they suffer abuse regularly but have no voice to raise against it. By her own example, as detailed in Stricken Yet Crowned, she affirms that oppression is to be taken no more by the victims; that it “really is time for change”.
Reviewed by Ernest Dempsey