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Derek Sawyer thinks he has it all - a high-salaried position, a boyfriend, a dog, even a new cabin on the lake - until a business trip with his manager and best friend, Victor, shatters his world.
One night of drunken horsing around in their hotel room leads to the most intensely personal violation Derek has ever endured. As if the humiliation of working under his attacker every day isn't enough, Victor reports Derek for sexual harassment. Now he's without a job, without a boyfriend, and the mortgage on the cabin is due.
Officer Russ Thomas has worked with rape victims before, and it doesn't take him long to sort out the truth in Derek's tale. With his support, Derek finally reports the crime, months after it happened. But restraining orders and lawyers further Victor's anger toward him, and even though a relationship develops between Derek and the policeman, Russ can't be there to protect him all the time.
Violated is a well written story and a very accurate portrayal of someone who has gone through this level of trauma. The story also touches on the additional social and legal traumas of this kind of experience, but still allows the characters a positive future.
Aside from Performance which never detracted or got in the way of the story, I had a REALLY hard time deciding how to apply the star ratings. On one hand it is important to acknowledge that this Does happens and just how strong and lasting an impact it has on the survivor's life. Once it gets going, this story does that w/ grace and honesty. It seemed to me that it took half the book to really get started but then it is excellent. On the other hand I am extremely disturbed by just how often sexual violence is part of our culture's "entertainment" in books, movies and TV.
Because it is honest, well written, about healing & gives voice to experiences that need to be acknowledged, I gave 5 Overall. Because the of the very slow build up & adding to the ubiquitous sexual violence, in fiction I gave the Story 3. [Yes, I understand the irony of my having purchased the book]
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is a tough, tough story about a man whose identity as a man has been amazingly distorted not just once but many times over. It’s bad enough that he’s endured a rape at the hands of his best friend, but the fact that it was anal sex in particular strikes a chord in him due to his father’s horrible abuse. In addition to that, his boyfriend doubts him, the people at work doubt him, and frankly, he doubts himself.
What makes this a good book is that it doesn’t try to make anything perfect or “fixed”. Even at the end, it’s a work in progress. Though it’s lovely when all the ends are tied up neatly by the end of a story, it’s rarely realistic and this acknowledges that fact. The epilogue shows our MC two years later and he’s still far from perfect. I guess that’s a good thing to know going in to this – if you want a fairy tale – this isn’t that book.
Jamie Fessenden has given us a romantic work of fiction – but at it’s heart, it’s a story about one man’s struggles with his own life – and how his new partner can help him – but mostly it’s about him.
The writing is excellent. Gritty. Honest. Sweaty and messy. Derek isn’t perfect before the attack and he’s not after. Neither is Russ, Travis or anyone. They all make human mistakes and do the wrong thing sometimes. But it’s their heart that matters and both Derek and Russ have great heart – that’s what gets shown here.
This was not at all what I was expecting and part of me absolutely cringed as I was listening to it. Not just the attack – that’s obviously horrible – but the author chose to show us both Russ and Derek in relationships before the attack so that we’d get a sense of who they were before and after.
Again – that’s good to know going in – if you don’t like to see your MC with other people this will be uncomfortable for you.
I found there were other parts of the book that were fascinating as well. It’s another look at being gay and gay sex in a way that – at least for me- I hadn’t really seen before. At least not in this way. Derek is an openly gay man but with deeply rooted fears about anal sex and how that’s perceived to be the receiver. In one session with his therapist, Derek is reminded that anal sex isn’t even the most preferred method of sex in most relationships. This is important to remember, because in the romance world it feels like penetration is the be all end all of sex and intimacy.
I think listening to this was probably a lot harder than reading it. You’re sort of forced to hear every word and it makes it a bit more stark than if you can skim through an uncomfortable part.
If I’m being honest, I wish there’d been more to the ending than there was. We spent so much time in preparation – learning about all the characters and setting the scene. Then there was so much time spent in the aftermath. Rightly so. But the “happily ever after” was very brief. Maybe intentionally so, I’m not sure. But I do know that I really wanted to see Derek happy again as we’d spent so much time with him miserable. For me, what I want in a true “romance” is that healing, the place where the couple bonds and finds love with one another “post apocalypse” and we really miss that as it’s simply summed up in a couple of sentences. Again – this is important to know as you go into this – if that’s what you’re after, it’s really not here – not in a satisfying way.
KC Kelly is a great narrator and he has the acting chops to make the emotion in this as real as possible. I think he did a good job and I really think he was a good choice for this. The sound quality was great and I think listening to this absolutely added to the overall experience.
All in all this was a really well written story and not something easily forgotten.
I think, based on the great performance, the tough subject matter and the lack of a “perfect romance”, I’d give this 4 of 5 stars.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The only Reason this Does not get five Stars for the story is because i reserve this for my very favorit listens. The story has a lot of Build up and u get to know the characters very Well. And the rape makes u Want to cry for the MC because even though rape is Never okay, the MC has so many hangups from his past that it must be especially difficult to deal with. And being raped by someone Who is a childhood friend must be horrible and the MCs life falls to pieces due to this. So - this book deals with serous issues and it it not a ligthhearted story but it is a live story and worth a listen
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This story was very interesting. It was about male rape which we don't often hear about, because men do not report these rapes not wanting to expose their vulnerabilities. It was very informative and revealed the criminal justice system with all of its flaws. The story was well written and I recommend it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I can't say I know a story like this from experience. But I feel this author was respectful and did her research and didn't make a serious situation like rape a joke or unbelievable in the sense of healing. I appreciate this story and the ups and downs included in it. That is what makes it such a good book and the author even better. Please take the time to invest in this story. It is so worth it
Any additional comments?
I would like to start off by mentioning if violence and rape are your triggers then Jamie Fessenden’s Violated may not be the story for you. It is very clear from the blurb and the tags alone that a tragic event will happen. Therefore, I knew going into the audiobook that this particular story was going to be very hard to listen to.<br/> <br/>Having said this: Even I hadn’t counted on just how thoroughly Fessenden delves into the after effects of Derek’s rape and how he deals, and doesn’t deal, with everyday life.<br/> <br/>Derek does truly have it all...or does he? He has a fiancé, Tim, a great job and a new home away from home.<br/> <br/>As Derek and Tim settle into their new cabin their neighbor Russ, a local cop, introduces himself to the couple. There seems to be an immediate interest, in Derek, on Russ’ part, and Derek catches a glimpse of Tim’s jealousy. As Tim makes his possessive nature known Russ and Derek become very uncomfortable. <br/> <br/>Let’s just say, I didn’t care for Tim at all! Derek seemed to tiptoe around him, and constantly alter his behavior, just to not set off Tim’s insecurities. In my eyes their relationship did not feel equal at all and as Violated progresses you learn just what a jerk Tim really is.<br/> <br/>Adding to Tim’s unease is Derek’s straight best friend, Victor. Derek and he have been friends for over 20 years and even work together. Of course, Tim and Victor do not get along at all and Derek always finds himself having to mediate between the two. Especially when Derek is asked to accompany Victor on a business trip to Tampa.<br/> <br/>A trip where the rape ultimately occurs.<br/> <br/>It was very difficult for me to listen to Victor rape his “best friend”. K.C. Kelly narrates Derek in a way that broke my heart.<br/> <br/>One of the things that I found most difficult to hear was Derek’s life slowly unraveling.<br/> <br/>There is a scene where he stays in the hotel bathroom waiting for Victor to wake up. All of these thoughts running through his mind: The incredulity that Victor could do this to him. That somehow his actions made Victor do this to him. That, in the words of his step-father who had beaten it into Derek’s head at a young age…he is now a “true fag” because anal sex made him such. Although Derek doesn’t really believe this it’s one of the first thoughts in his head after the rape. <br/> <br/>Most heart wrenching is that Derek has never before had anal sex and this violation of his body, and mind, really does a number on him.<br/> <br/>K.C. Kelly does a terrific job of narrating Violated. He has such a distinct tone and puts so much emotion into it that I felt captivated by his delivery and the pacing of the story. Kelly absolutely shines and brings the author’s words to life. Through his voice we hear the utter devastation when Derek is placed on leave from his job and I could hear the fear again when Derek confronts Victor in the parking lot. <br/> <br/>There is one scene in particular where I myself was literally shaking in agony as K.C. absolutely took me directly into the heartbreaking moment – with just his voice!<br/> <br/>As the aftermath of the rape plays out, Derek finds Russ’ presence in his life to be a balm to his soul. Russ is there for Derek and supports him every step of the way. As they deal with Derek’s violation, legally and mentally, the two men slowly begin working their way together in a more personal way.<br/> <br/>Violated is an incredibly tough, but worthwhile story, whether you decide to read or listen. It is a credit to K.C. Kelly that he does an excellent job with the subject matter and he truly draws the listener into the story with his soothing tone. He brings each character to life.<br/>While the subject matter of Violated is very difficult, I would highly advise you to take a chance on this story. Especially the audio version, where you can fully immerse yourself in Derek’s journey .<br/>
This was an amazing story. It wowed me from the beginning. I truly loved it despite the angst, which is something I normally don’t enjoy reading. The author did a good job of mixing the dark parts of the story with romance and humor.
Without a doubt this is one of the best books I’ve regarding the rape of a man. It didn’t shy away from the scary parts nor did it gloss over any of the necessary healing.
The books starts with Derek Sawyer in a relationship with Tim. Not a happy relationship. I would even call Tim emotionally abusive with his jealousy and poor treatment of Derek. His assholiness becomes even more obvious toward the end of the book. Derek meets Russ after buying a cabin on the lake. There is an attraction between the two men right away but neither act on it because of Derek’s relationship.
Derek’s life is changed when he accompanies his childhood friend and co-worker, Victor, on a business trip. After too much booze Victor rapes Derek. The description of the act is straightforward and not at all titillating. And the aftermath of the assault is explored on every single level. Nothing is glossed over. Derek isn’t magically cured just because he meets the right man and finds true love. Just like in real life, he isn’t instantly fixed.
I loved how Fessenden did a slow burn on Derek and Russ’s relationship. It never felt forced or unrealistic. Russ does everything perfectly but he isn’t portrayed as an angel. He has his flaws but loving Derek isn’t one of them.
The plot and pacing of this story was spot on. And the action scenes were well written.
And the characters, oh my God, the characters were so well-drawn. Not just the main characters, but also the supporting ones such as Russ’s family. Now they were hilarious.
This book, or audio, is so very highly recommended.
K.C. Kelly did an okay job here. He wasn’t the worst narrator I’ve listened to, but I’ve certainly heard much better. There wasn’t much inflection in his voice nor was there much difference between the characters voices. Thankfully, Fessenden’s stellar words made it easy to distinguish between the two men and their POVs.
Kelly’s narration didn’t ruin the story but it didn’t add much either.
What did you like best about this story?
I liked that Jamie went all out on the rape scene and didn't make it off the page as in some books. He doesn't pull punches or sugar coat the drama in the story. As a survivor, I can relate to Derek and appreciate Russ.
Have you listened to any of K.C. Kelly’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No. I haven't. I admit at first I thought it was just so-so. There isn't much infliction among the characters and all the view switching at the first of the book was very hard to follow. He redeemed himself at the end where there were more inner thoughts and just narration. He became very powerful in evoking the emotions Derek seemed to feel. That's why I changed the rating that had been a three throughout the book to a 4
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Yes. The Christmas scene where Derek was alone I cried.
Any additional comments?
I enjoyed this story, though it is a tough read/listen. I give the author a high five for dealing with a touchy subject. Just because a person is big and strong doesn't make him or her invincible. Being intoxicated is not a yes. I appreciate that Jamie brought forth so much emotion in the story. I will say there were scenes like Russ's vacation at the nude farm that had me scratching my head and wondering why it was there. <br/>I do think in this particular story with the front having so many switches in view things were a bit jarring and hard to follow. <br/><br/>If you like a darker story, drama, angst, touchy subjects, and a story of two men forming a relationship through tough times. thisis for you. <br/>Warning if you have triggers and rape is one of them this may not be for you.
I was unable to stop once I started reading. wonderful love story with all gentry
0 of 1 people found this review helpful