“I Will Survive” has been the anthem for many a lady (and man) since the 70s for many moments of survival. Now Gloria Gaynor, the legendary singer of the empowering anthem is releasing a book of inspirational stories about surviving titled, We Will Survive.
Gaynor, along with her manager Stephanie Gold and co-author Sue Carswell, received multiple submissions of different women’s stories of survival. Of those submissions they chose 40 to publish, one of which is Gaynor’s own story.
Readers will find the story of a woman who was encamped in Aushwitz, a woman’s story of surviving breast cancer, another woman’s story of being abused and abandoned by her mother, another of a 9/11 mother, surviving divorce, and many others.
The legendary singer shares that she grew up with a single mother and six siblings and Gaynor said, “therein lay the crux of my problems.”
Gaynor then shared that when her family moved into a new apartment, she found an aunt and uncle figure in a childless couple, John and Mary, whom she often visited. While Mary was at the hospital to give birth to the couple’s first child, John invited Gaynor to their apartment and into the bedroom. He lifted her onto the bed and took off her underwear and began to molest her. When Gaynor told him she would tell her mother, John put her underwear back on her and sent her home. Gaynor didn’t tell her mother because she knew her mother’s reaction would leave her motherless as well.
When Gaynor was twelve, she was sexually molested by her stepfather. Again, she didn’t tell her mother.
In an excerpt from her book Gaynor said, “The incidents with my stepfather and John, as well as my reactions to them, set the tone for my future relationships with men and became par for the course. I ended up being rejected, disrespected, and neglected in every relationship, from puberty up to and including my marriage. When I was eighteen, I was naïve enough to trust the cousin of an ex-boyfriend. I allowed him to take me to visit his girlfriend—only to find that not only was she not home, there was no one there at all. He raped me. ‘Don’t even think of screaming,’ he threatened. ‘No one else is here, no one will hear you, and you will only piss me off. So, act like you like it!”’
The songstress also explains how the song, “I Will Survive” became her mantra. She hoped it would encourage and inspire others the way it had her. After years of being in a marriage she no longer wanted to be a part of, she pulled from the song and realized that she would indeed survive after her marriage ended. And she did.
Gaynor hopes “these stories will provide inspiration, encouragement, and empowerment to you—no matter what challenges you might be facing. If the remarkable people in these stories can survive as I did, I know you can too!”