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USA Today Bestselling Author Dakota Willink delivers an emotionally gripping, dark romantic suspense that is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat!
There’s a common expression I remind myself of every day: that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.
People think I live an idyllic life with my perfect husband, but they don’t know what lies beneath the façade.
Like the delicate petals of the daisies he loved to give, I was easily crushed—broken, just as he wanted me to be.
I’ve learned to accept what is, but I won’t let it destroy me.
Instead, I do the only thing I can to survive—I run.
I knew she had a story. I knew it most likely contained violence.
But never did I imagine the horrors she’d been through.
I’d waited so long and she’d experienced so much.
She was perfectly imperfect, her scars more than skin deep.
I couldn’t help wanting to get closer.
She was strong and there was beauty in strength.
I was drawn to it—drawn to her.
I wanted to erase her horrors and give her something new to dream about.
*** TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains situations of domestic violence and abuse. Some aspects may be sensitive for some readers. ***
I hope you enjoyed reading The Sound of Silence. This book was inspired by a piece I wrote for Nevertheless We Persisted: Me Too, a special audiobook collection of essays and poems from people who are survivors of sexual discrimination and abuse.
While The Sound of Silence is fiction, there are many truths to it—not in the actual storyline per se, but reflective in our way of life. For too long, victims have been silent. Some remain quiet because of shame, others because of fear. Silence also comes from societal pressures that convince victims their story is not real, valid, or important.
I realize parts of this book were not always easy to read—just as the life of a victim is not easy to endure. I spoke to many abuse survivors while writing this book, seeking their input to ensure Gianna’s story was nothing short of authentic. While being married to a radicalized serial killer is far from reality, the story of her abuse isn’t.
The women I interviewed told me about their experiences, and I will forever be grateful to them for their brutal honesty. These brave women shared stories of put downs which, eventually, turned into full blown criticisms from their partner. Soon after, the control would start. They were questioned, had no personal space, and endured unrealistic demands. Then came the mistreatment, cruelty, and abuse. It was often so subtle, by the time it was noticed, it was too late. More often than not, the women were made to feel it was somehow their fault. The feelings of confusion, bewilderment, and fear were so powerful, they no longer recognized their way out.
During my conversations, I came to realize one very important fact. Every woman I know has been victim of harassment, abuse, or violence of some kind. I want all the women out there to know, me too.
People often say, “Why doesn’t she just leave?” The reality is, it’s not the easiest thing to do. No relationship is ever black and white. Then there are those who indirectly suggest the woman provoked an abuser by saying, “Well, what did she do?”
Trust me when I say—no woman ‘asks for it.’
For too long, victims have been told to be quiet, to feel ashamed, and are forced to shoulder the blame and suffer in silence.
This is wrong.
On average, twenty-four people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Nearly one in ten women in the U.S. have been raped by an intimate partner, while one in six have experienced stalking victimization in which they felt fearful or believed they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed. Those are staggering numbers.
To the strong women who shared their truths with me, thank you. I salute your bravery, resilience, and capacity to love. You are beautiful, capable, and worthy. You are magnificent and strong—and more powerful than you can imagine.
If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE.
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