I just finished reading the Vanity Fair article about Teri Hatcher‘s “Desperate Secret”: her sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle, starting when she was 5 years old. Having read many tabloid and even journalistic attempts to convey the life-long torment and shame that sexual abuse saddles women with, I was fully expecting to be disappointed and even angered by endless euphemisms and incorrect statistics. I was pleasantly surprised to find neither, despite my misgivings of the sub-title and the cover photo of Teri looking a little scared and a lot vulnerable, wrapping a white sweater around herself and wearing white panties. Her's is a rare success story of sorts -- she testified at the trail of her abuser 35 years later, helping to convict him of abusing a 14 year-old girl from her home town in the Bay Area who had commited suicide.
The story was well-written and unsensational, painting as accurate a portrait of a survivor as I’ve read in a long time. You can read an extended excerpt of the article here.
I’m not a huge fan of Ms. Hatcher, although I enjoy her as the hapless Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives, and from the little I’ve seen of her in “real life”, she seems genuinely down-to-earth and thankful for a second chance as an actress over 40. Her about-to-be-published book, Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Lifeis a call for women not to settle for less.
She says, "It explains how to set better priorities, how not to be afraid of what you want and how to treat yourself better. How to avoid eating burnt toast, which is what, metaphorically, I watched my mother do.” Good advice if you ask me.