A writer and teacher chronicles her terrifying experience with kidnapping and rape and how she survived the ensuing trauma.
Naughton’s first trip to Belize dazzled her. Not only did she fall in love with the country’s natural beauty, but also with a handsome native. Knowing she would go back, she prayed that God would send her “an experience of love so big, [she would] have to change [her] life to comprehend it.” That wish became reality but not in the way Naughton could have imagined. When she did not find her lover at the shop where he worked, she took a cab back to her beachside cabana. Naughton began to realize that all was not as it seemed when the driver told her that he had to find change for her cab fare. The next thing she knew, he was holding a knife to her chin and telling her he wanted all her money. For the next day and a half, Naughton was the prisoner of a troubled man who threatened her while revealing his own deep emotional wounds. Naughton began to steel herself for “X”—that is, the rape she knew was inevitable. Yet rather than hate the driver—whom she called “the jaguar man”—she found her heart opening to him. She writes that the love she felt was “particular to him, jaguar love, love of survival, miracle love, love born in snarls, love with teeth.” She did not report the incident to local authorities; instead, she chose to focus on her own healing. Her path eventually led her to a progressive church minister who helped her come to a profound spiritual revelation about the true nature of love and human connection. Naughton’s book is brief, but the power of its message to survivors of sexual assault about finding peace through compassion is undeniable.
A painful, provocative, and poetically cathartic memoir of survival.