No one knows for sure how many survivors of childhood sexual abuse there are, because sexual abuse is one of North America's most underreported crimes. The most frequently cited estimates are that about one out of every three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused in some way before they turn eighteen. Half of all rape victims are children. No matter how you look at the statistics, there are a lot of survivors. In this book you will meet us, facetoface.
If you have experienced sexual abuse or assault, this book is for you. You will find out how other teens and adults are healing from abuse and what might work for you, too.
If you have not been abused, this book may give you insight into the survivors in your own life. You will see the important roles that friends and family members have in these stories. You may get ideas about what you can do to make the world safer for kids.
Most teens and children who are sexually violated experience abuse in isolation. They cope the best they can. In these interviews, you'll see a variety of ways kids try to deal with sexual abuse and the often overwhelming emotions that come with it.
Before healing can start, the abuse had to stop. Some of the survivors in this book fought back or made other choices that ended the abuse. Sooner or later they broke out of isolation. They all told someonea sister, a friend, a police officer, a counselor.
As you'll see in these interviews, what happens next is not a onesizefitsall process. People are different. They are hurt in different ways and they heal differently, too.
Still, the resilient survivors in this book have these things in common:
- They toldagain and again if they had toand got help.
- They listened to their own feelings and decided what worked for them and what didn't.
- Over time, they connected with other peoplefamily members, therapists, other survivors, friendsand received emotional support and practical help.
- They gave healing the time and attention it deserves.
- They took action and made choices that made their lives better.
- They never gave up on themselves.…
… Sexual abuse is heartbreaking. It can cut to the very core of who we are and who we will become. But you and those you know can heal. Like the survivors in this book, you can become strong at the heart.
Read the full introduction and the interviews in Strong at the Heart