A searing memoir of sexual assault and recovery
Wide Open begins with the start of a promising relationship. As D. M. Ditson falls in love, she is forced to confront her past: a fundamentalist Christian upbringing, family secrets, and a series of men who sexually assaulted her when she was between the ages of eighteen and twenty five. One of the assaults was so devastating that it left her showering in her sleep, trying in vain to wash the darkness away.
D. M. Ditson's story is a raw and emotional account of how she became so vulnerable to assault, of the depths to which she fell, and of her excruciating recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“This incredibly brave and powerful memoir is written in prose both luminous and stark. I read it in one gulp, in awe of the author’s willingness to surrender to her experience of trauma and of her generosity in sharing her journey with her readers. Wide Open will take you to the farthest reaches of what it means to be human.”
– Alison Pick, Man Booker nominated author of Strangers With The Same Dream and Far To Go
“The narrator of this gripping memoir is on a journey to self-understanding. Why does she pick men who mistreat her? Why does she sometimes attack the men she loves? Why are her attitudes towards sex so
confusing even to herself? She – and the reader – need to understand. Delving into her past, she examines the legacy of her family’s fundamentalism and comes to recognize the ways in which her early experiences may have compromised her judgement, blighted her sense of boundaries, and coloured her responses to a horrific sexual assault suffered in young adulthood… In the last few years, Canadians have finally begun to acknowledge the pervasiveness of rape culture, but seldom has this problem been addressed from the point of view of someone who was raised as a conservative Christian. Written in vivid scenes, rich in dialogue and drama, and unfailingly honest, Wide Open tackles a significant subject in a voice that has rarely been heard.”
– Susan Olding, author of Pathologies: A Life in Essays and juror for the John V. Hicks
prize awarded to Wide Open
“The exploration of the family’s connection to fundamentalism (“maximum Christian” as the author describes it) offers plenty of discovery – in self, in family, in faith (or lack of it) – and the way the writer sees the rest of the world.”
– Ted Barris, author of 18 bestselling non-fiction books, including The Great Escape: A Canadian Story and juror for the John V. Hicks prize awarded to Wide Open
“D. M. Ditson’s book is a courageous and powerful exploration of the insidiousness of sexual assault and rape. Approximately 460,000 girls and women are sexually assaulted in Canada every year. This book is an important glimpse into the world of one survivor of sexual assault. It has the potential to help us support survivors and reduce sexual violence.”
– Pamela Cross, feminist lawyer and co-chair of the Ontario Violence Against Women Roundtable
“In light of the worldwide #metoo movement as well as growing efforts to address post-traumatic stress disorder and its effects on people, D. M. Ditson’s Wide Open is a timely, important and necessary read.”
– Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Regina