Ruined: A Memoir
2017 Book of the Year for Christianity Today Women.
In her second memoir, Presbyterian pastor Ruth Everhart reflects on being sexually assaulted when she was a college student, the assault’s emotional aftermath, and its theological implications. Raised in an insulated Dutch community and the Christian Reformed Church, Everhart’s worldview was forever changed when two men broke into her apartment and raped her. She asks where God was during the brutality, where she was being punished for her sexual experiences, and how a God who wills everything could will something so terrible to happen. In addition to her theological analysis, Everhart is at her best when dismantling the sexism that surrounds rape. She recounts how she sucked in her stomach when asked to strip because, “that’s how thoroughly [she] had internalized the fact that a woman should make herself attractive to the eyes of a man.” She recalls her anger when the doctor who performed her rape kit referred to her rapist as a “clown.” She looks at why many people treat rape differently from other injuries and reminds readers that rape cannot make women less whole. Everhart also includes examples of how churches can provide support to rape survivors. This is a touching and empowering story of healing.