It took Julie Macfarlane a lifetime to say the words out loud—the words that finally broke the calm and traveled farther than she could have imagined. In this clear-eyed account, she confronts her own silence and deeply rooted trauma to chart a remarkable course from sexual abuse victim to agent of change.
Going Public merges the worlds of personal and professional, activism and scholarship. Drawing upon decades as a law professor, Macfarlane decodes the well-worn methods used by church, school, and state to silence survivors, from first reporting to cross-examination to non-disclosure agreements. At the same time, she lays bare the isolation and exhaustion of going public in her own life, as she takes her abuser to court, challenges her colleagues, and weathers a defamation lawsuit.
The result is far more than a memoir. It’s a courageous and essential blueprint for going toe-to-toe with the powers behind institutional abuse and protectionism. Macfarlane’s experiences bring her to the most important realization of her life: that no one but she can make the decision to stand up and speak about what happened to her.