The Yellow House


The victims of domestic abuse are overwhelmingly women, and women tend to experience more severe forms of violence than anyone else. The Yellow House by Paulette Rivait clearly reflects that real- ity. She reminds us that although this is her story, it might well be one that is repeated time and time again in the lives of young girls and women every- where. Hers is set in southwestern Ontario. It begins in her childhood. It begins with her father who is raising his family in a “yellow house” in an ordinary neighbourhood. The people around him see him ev- ery day as a good natured fellow. They see him cut- ting the grass, firing up the barbecue, washing his car, and they see him greet the mailman. But behind the doors of his house another man emerges in the silence and darkness. Two young daughters become his victims, and there is no one to stop the abuse. It continues in their lives until they depart and move out and get married and have their own families. But the sexual abuse turns to the physical violence of husbands who find nothing but fault in these two daughters. The narrative work of Paulette Rivait soars with grace as she tells us how she grapples with and finds a way out of this terrible and tragic life. For her there is hope, optimism, a future that is far better than decades of violence


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I am the oldest daughter in a family of eight, born in Ottawa Ontario in 1946, living most of my life in Windsor ,Ontario. I married and had four children, also raised in Windsor. I have college education and my career began at WCLSS (Windsor Community Living Support Services). I went on to work at the APPD (Association for People With Physical Disabilities). While my life predominately revolved around work and home, I slowly recognized that I needed to express myself in a personal way. That way was writing. Over the years, I wrote poetry, created short stories, and completed a murder mystery novel. Some of my poetry has been featured in various publications, here in Windsor and in British Columbia, where I lived between 2006 and 2011.

After raising my children, getting divorced when I was in my thirties, and remaining “mostly single” through the ensuing years, writing expressed my sorrows, my fears, and my captivity in what I saw as a cruel world. I self-published an autobiography, entitled: Last of the Tyrants, copyright 2005, a book that helped assuage the aftermath of what happened to me and three other siblings, at the hands of our father when we were quite young. My first memory of sexual abuse oc- curred when I was four years old.

When Marty Gervais scrutinized my writing as a whole, he recognized that I was not even aware of why my writing contained “a lot of violence and abuse.” Through his guidance, I completed the book: The Yellow House. When I penned poems for my children on the back of their kindergarten portraits, little did I know that the synopsis of my life would one day help create a writer who has determi- nation and a purpose.

My purpose is to share my story with others and help them see that they are not in any way responsible for the abuses they may have experienced in their lives, and that they are not the only ones who have lived through having sexual abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse perpetrated on them. It should not be kept secret. Reach out…

Additional information

Weight 6 oz
Dimensions 6 × 9 × .25 in

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