Notes on a Silencing is a purposefully named, brutal and brilliant retort to the asinine question of 'Why now?' ... Crawford’s writing is astonishing. There are lines that keen ... The story is crafted with the precision of a thriller, with revelations that sent me reeling. Notes on a Silencing also left me with a deep heartache and little relief, though Crawford offers up moments of reprieve where she can ... If you are looking for a story about triumph, about justice, you will not find it here. But perhaps that is a necessary thing.
... memoirs like Lacy Crawford’s Notes on a Silencing remind us how little progress has been made. The problem persists, doggedly, but Crawford’s revelations about the insidious and systematic ways stories of assault are buried left me shaken, moved, angry. By the end, we all understand how rarely women are granted any kind of justice. The book, which chronicles her assault at a boarding school, is a reminder of how adults willingly and knowingly serve up children to trauma in exchange for maintaining their reputations ... not an unfamiliar story. But in its relentless exploration of power and hubris, it is a story that reminds us (because we apparently need reminding again and again) that women are still impotent against institutions and the men who run them ... She raises and then doesn’t explore the implications of race when we learn one of the young men who assaulted her was a person of color. It is the right decision. She neither contextualizes nor excuses his violence against her. He was, in his own way, a victim. But he is not her victim ... The book is a riveting, damning exploration of how a single moment can reshape an entire life. Crawford was victimized, but she does not remain locked in that room. She revisits the moment only when she can discover something new about it, some way to hold accountable those who refuse to take responsibility: the school, the young men, the lawyers and detectives, and indeed the very culture that creates these structures ... Crawford does what the best memoirists do: She reaches beyond a single story. She writes in what is arguably the post-#MeToo era. An era in which we tried, for a brief time, to have our stories change our institutions ... The book is a stunning, audacious attempt to reassert power over her own story.
Crawford, a novelist, uses her storytelling skill to illuminate the myriad ways female students were taught that their desires and bodies were less valuable than—even subject to—those of their male peers ... Crawford’s detailed account of her assault and its aftermath relies on an indelible memory as well as careful research. Medical reports and other documentation help her piece together the school’s reaction when she revisits it decades later, after other victims began holding the school accountable ... a ghastly account, beautifully told, of a teenage girl learning that people in power often value reputation above all else.