“Do you see now? Read it in my eyes, Stanley. There’s more than one kind of ‘dead’ in this world.” – Black Katherine, When Rabbit Howls
It’s only one of many quotes from this book that have given me chills while reading it. I’ve been asked why I even bothered to finish this novel when I found it so hard to read I had to set it down and take a break after each chapter. When Rabbit Howls is the haunting and tragic autobiography written by The Troops For Truddi Chase.
Yes. You read that right. The Troops.
Truddi Chase was a multiple. She lived with 92 different personalities… in one body. This reality is enough to frighten a lot of people, especially those for whom multiplicity is a difficult concept to grasp. Truddi’s Troops aren’t the horror between these pages though. It’s the heart-wrenching abuse that split a 2 year old child into pieces.
As rare as it may seem, I’ve known people who are multiple. Beautiful people, and brilliant. I’m not a professional, but from what I’ve gathered multiplicity is most often born from the broken fragments of victims who need an escape from a traumatizing reality in order to survive it. It’s probably one of the most creative defense mechanisms I’ve ever seen or read about, and certainly a phenomenon in its own right.
Truddi’s past and her painful battle against it is what hurts to read. From the fragile age of a toddler, she was sexually abused by her stepfather in ways that were incredibly cruel and heartless. The nightmare for her last until she was sixteen years old, when she left home and never turned back. Just reading small “flicks” of memories the brave woman recounts within these pages was enough to make multiplicity make sense in my eyes.
Yet the question still remains, why do I force myself to finish her story?
The answer is simple: because I believe in hearing the truth, no matter how painful it can be. Truddi’s courage to tell her story saved many lives since its publication in 1987. By talking about things that were real, but labeled taboo, she was able to free others from the fear that they were alone in their struggle. Her story gave others hope that they weren’t the only ones, and that life can get better.
Several years ago I took an interest in the psychology of abuse victims because I wanted answers to things that made me feel alone, and, for lack of a better word, crazy. I wanted to know that someone else had been there; that there was sense behind the things that didn’t make sense, and ultimately healing for those who have been wounded in a fight they never wanted to stand and take arms in.
I’ve alluded to my own experiences with abuse a couple times in blogs, and other writings. When I feel brave enough, I’ve shared bits and pieces with others through conversation, but it isn’t easy. Putting the past on paper isn’t easy, which is why Truddi’s attempt is so honorable, and deserves to be read.
Though Truddi died March 10, 2010, she was and still remains a role model for people who can relate to what she’s endured, and encourages them to have faith in themselves, in who they are and help them realize they aren’t the one at fault.
I wish I could’ve found the interview of her on the Oprah Winfrey show back in 1990. During my research I heard about it over and over again, but for some reason I can’t find a single copy of it anywhere.
I did, however, find a couple of short articles and interviews that I’ll leave you with in case you’re interested in reading more:
Typically I give a book a rating when I write about it. In this case, I won’t do that. Instead, I simply suggest this book to anyone brave enough to see just what kind of impact abuse can have on a person. If you’re someone who has been abused in some way or form, know this book will likely hold its share of triggers. Be ready if you read it, but remember that while Truddi’s story may have started with tragedy, it didn’t end that way. Yours doesn’t have to either.