Sarah Beaulieu takes on a topic with her book Breaking the Silence Habit: A Practical Guide to Uncomfortable Conversations in the #MeToo Workplace that means a great deal in our current national dialogue. The negative effects of sexual harassment and violence, particularly manifested in the work place, are substantial though we’ve yet to determine the full extent of their influence. This is the purview of individual survivors and voices like Beaulieu’s who approach the topic with the thoughtfulness and sensitivity it deserves. She faces the relevant issues head on over the course of three distinct pars in this book and gives readers, individuals and organizations alike, a viable framework for contending with what is one of the defining issues of our time. 


It is notable that, no matter if she confesses her own personal history or stands at a remove from commenting on other situations, Beaulieu brings the same sensitivity and probing nature to bear on this text. Her long reflection and personal experiences with the issue give her an unique perspective on Breaking the Silence Habit that’s far different from the usual commentators on the issue. The calm and collected tone of her prose is consistent throughout the book and her systematic application of logic to the topic at hand avoids the personal and, instead, advocates for a larger and broad-based good engagement can accomplish. 

She assembles her case in convincing ways. The initial setting of the stage the first part provides transitions well into the second and third parts without any notable speed bumps; there’s an internal consistency to Beaulieu’s logic that you cannot deny. She writes in a way that eschews self indulgence and sideshows; there’s a resolute focus in evidence from the first that serves notice Beaulieu isn’t here to play around but, rather, address the subject with the seriousness and consideration it deserves.

She never writes “down” to her audience but, instead, speaks to them with clear and measured intelligence throughout the course of the book. Her understanding that something other than pure malevolence drives male attitudes is an important component of what makes this book work; she isn’t here to rail against the foibles of the male gender but, rather, to achieve a level of understanding that transcends those distinctions. Her personal experiences and those drawn from her professional life reinforce those points for the reader. 


Sarah Beaulieu has written an important book with Breaking the Silence Habit: A Practical Guide to Uncomfortable Conversations in the #MeToo Workplace and I believe it will reach a wide audience. It carries message free from the rancor that many survivors, casting all judgment aside, are entitled to carry and exhibits what is possible for those who are willing to pursue a different path. Breaking the Silence Habit: A Practical Guide to Uncomfortable Conversations in the #MeToo Workplace reaches towards something greater and more productive than a mere accounting of failure; it aspires, as it should, towards mutual understanding and reconciliation that elevates lives and spirits rather than dragging them down.

Garth Thomas