April, 2014 / Author:

One man’s account of how rape affected his life

John Lennon was raped. At first he didn’t report it. He reported a theft by the same man to the police. Then he went back to report the rape. Then he wrote a book about it.

Lennon (no relation to the musician of the same name), a gay man from Ireland, describes his rape and touches on the court case in My Journey to Justice?. Newspaper articles, letters and photographs supplement his writing.

While it would have been interesting to hear about what happened in court, Lennon only mentions it briefly, focusing more on his brother’s imprisonment, his friend getting lost in Spain for days, and another friend’s murder leading to community outrage. It seems odd in a book about his experience about rape for Lennon to stray so far from that particular event, but it becomes clear that every aspect of his life is affected. In order to paint an accurate picture of how rape changed Lennon’s life, he needs to show different aspects of it.

At times the book can get confusing. There are many names and because it’s not written completely chronologically, it’s difficult to tell where in time the book is at some points. While frustrating, it doesn’t have a huge impact on the read of the book.

Overall My Journey to Justice? shows the impact of rape and the importance of speaking out about rape in order to get the needed support and to hold perpetrators accountable.


Interview with the author

Lennon took the time to answer a few questions OutWords had.

OW: How long did it take to write the book?

JL: I started one year after the rape and took a further two.

OW: What was the editing process like?

JL: I originally wrote three thousand pages and edited it dramatically to protect identities as I wrote about other rape victims.

OW: You didn’t focus much on the court case, but you wrote a lot about things not related to the rape. Why?

JL: I only wrote what I thought was relevant about the court case, as most of the three week trial was spent in a witness suite, drinking coffee. The reason I wrote about unrelated topics is because that’s what was going on in my life at the time and I think it is important to relay that I am a person first and foremost and a rape victim, no, a survivor, lastly.

OW: What do you hope the book will accomplish?

JL: My book has already accomplished what it was originally intended for. It has raised awareness of adult male rape, and at least one court case has been started as a reader reported his monster after reading my book.

OW: Looking back, is there anything you wish you had or had not said in the book?

JL: I think I made most of the points I wanted to and am happy with the content. However, life post-rape is a very strange place to be and I wish I could have demonstrated how life develops for a publicly-known rape survivor.

OW: Do you plan on writing any more books?

JL: Yes, I am currently writing my next book, a continuation of the last, and is called A Letter To My Father?

OW: Is there anything else you would like to say?

JL: There is life after rape. Any man who has experienced what I have, please, feel no shame or guilt. The notion of shame and guilt is reinforced by the media and the guarantee of anonymity. Remove the shame and guilt, then there will be no need for anonymity as this is not afforded to other victims of crime.

To all victims who may be suffering in silence: forget shame, forget guilt, go forth and report.

Lennon’s book can be found on Amazon.com. Pick up a copy and let us know what you think @OutWords.

– Meg Crane is the news, books and movies editor for OutWords magazine, and creator of Cockroach zine.

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