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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Assume Nothing

Assume Nothing

A Story of Intimate Violence

Tanya Selvaratnam

Henry Holt and Co.

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Selvaratnam uses her abuse at the hands of former NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to expose the prevalence of intimate partner violence—offering steps to recognize, expose, and end it.

When Tanya Selvaratnam met Eric Schneiderman, they fell quickly and effortlessly in love—fueling each other’s growing political ambition. But their power dynamic soon took a dark turn, as Schneiderman criticized Selvaratnam and began to try to control her, even telling her that he would have to kill her if they broke up. Sex turned frighteningly violent. At a friend's urging, she opened up to a domestic violence expert, who confirmed what Selvaratnam, on some level, already knew: she was in an abusive relationship. Eric’s behavior mapped a pattern: entrap, isolate, demean, control, abuse. Selvaratnam considered avenues for protection—an ethics complaint, a civil claim, going to the police. But her abuser was the top law enforcement officer in the state. She feared he would be tipped off, and that he would crush her.

Selvaratnam’s story is harrowing, but not as rare as you might think. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. A combination of memoir, reporting, and research, Assume Nothing is an urgent, timely examination of a frightening subgroup of abuse of power. It tells Selvaratnam’s incredible story, while offering tools and solutions for a problem tha… More…

Selvaratnam uses her abuse at the hands of former NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to expose the prevalence of intimate partner violence—offering steps to recognize, expose, and end it.

When Tanya Selvaratnam met Eric Schneiderman, they fell quickly and effortlessly in love—fueling each other’s growing political ambition. But their power dynamic soon took a dark turn, as Schneiderman criticized Selvaratnam and began to try to control her, even telling her that he would have to kill her if they broke up. Sex turned frighteningly violent. At a friend's urging, she opened up to a domestic violence expert, who confirmed what Selvaratnam, on some level, already knew: she was in an abusive relationship. Eric’s behavior mapped a pattern: entrap, isolate, demean, control, abuse. Selvaratnam considered avenues for protection—an ethics complaint, a civil claim, going to the police. But her abuser was the top law enforcement officer in the state. She feared he would be tipped off, and that he would crush her.

Selvaratnam’s story is harrowing, but not as rare as you might think. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. A combination of memoir, reporting, and research, Assume Nothing is an urgent, timely examination of a frightening subgroup of abuse of power. It tells Selvaratnam’s incredible story, while offering tools and solutions for a problem that persists, dangerously, behind the closed bedroom doors of people we know and love.

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Tanya Selvaratnam

Tanya Selvaratnam is the author of The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Vogue, CNN, McSweeney’s, and Artsy among others. She is also an Emmy-nominated and Webby-winning producer, who has most recently collaborated with The Shed, Planned Parenthood, Catherine Gund’s Aubin Pictures, and GLAMOUR Women of the Year.