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Your Experience Is Valid | 9 Books About Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can be isolating. The authors tell stories only those who’ve been sexually assaulted can relate to, and feel less alone in the end.

A lot of the pain from sexual assault can come from after it happens. The memories, fears, and a social stigma against talking about what happened can become extremely isolating for the victim. These books can become a powerful friend in the life after sexual assault of any kind. They’re written by people who’ve been through the same cycles and throws of suffering, and can be a calming way to realise you’re not alone.

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#1 Want by Julie Peters

Want by Julie Peters
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Julie Peter from JuliePeters.

Want is Julie’s story of getting through the devastation of sexual assault to living a full life. In this book, she shares how to implement the eight steps Julie took back to recovery. Survive, feel, rage, forgive, pleasure, eat, sex, and love. We have plenty of stories about the helplessness, frustration, and vengeful feelings that can come up after trauma.

Culturally, we have started a conversation about these experiences, and we’re all confused about what this all means for our relationships with each other. We badly need stories of hope, healing, and recovery. Survivors of assault, if you’ve been thinking to yourself, “I thought it was just me,” Julie is here to show you that you are not alone.

Your loved ones may not know how to support you, but they can learn more about your experiences and how to walk alongside you through this book, just as you can learn how to recover from the trauma you’ve experienced. Want offers a window into one person’s experience of recovery―plus the happy ending we all need to know is possible after trauma.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#2 The Violence of Care by Sameena Mulla

The Violence of Care by Sameena Mulla
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Alberto Navarrete from Frisco Maids.

This is a cold book, is not sugar-coated with anything, it talks about statistics, social studies and how people handle a horrific event like that. Any woman or man victim of sexual assault should read this to not despair and feel alone, it’s a thing that happens, you need to cope with it.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#3 Life, Reinvented by Erin Carpenter

Life, Reinvented by Erin Carpenter
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Alberto Navarrete from Frisco Maids.

It is not another book about dealing with trauma, it is a full researched guide on what to do after such a life-changing event. You reinvent your life, you need to start a healing process that is long and not easy, so have this guide along the way.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#4 The Secret History of Twin Peaks: A Novel by Mark Frost

The Secret History of Twin Peaks: A Novel by Mark Frost
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Alberto Navarrete from Frisco Maids.

Twin Peaks is a history of sexual abuse that if you are a survivor could feel connected to its message. The dark and scary is all there but in a great weird package. Frost made the now-iconic tv show, another great getaway on sexual behavior and the importance of how to deal with survivors.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#5 Writing and Madness in a Time of Terror by Afarin Majidi

Writing and Madness in a Time of Terror by Afarin Majidi
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Afarin Majidi from Lily O’Delia.

This book is an incendiary look at how we, as a society, groom young girls to become victims of sexual assault. While the writer’s background as an immigrant also informs the multiple rapes she overcomes, she could be any American woman. What’s most shocking is that she survives, even when teachers and family refuse to help.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#6 Light Shines in the Darkness by Lucille F. Sider

Light Shines in the Darkness by Lucille F. Sider
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Susan Stitt from Front Edge Publishing.

Clinical psychologist and clergywoman Lucille F. Sider adds her voice to the chorus of women in the #WhyIDidntReport and #MeToo movements. This is Lucille’s story of resilience and hope as a survivor of sexual abuse. She explains the challenges of finding her way out of a fear-based spirituality into one that is full of grace, hope and forgiveness. The unique richness of her book is that she wrote it to spark healing discussion. As she describes her experiences in these pages, she also steps back and offers helpful analysis as both a psychologist and a clergywoman. At the end of the book, she includes a complete study guide with questions for reflection for individuals, small groups and classes.

“The book is arranged to be a valuable tool in the hands of persons in the helping professions, such as clergy, social workers, psychologists,” writes the Rev. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita and Ambassador of The Wesleyan Church. “This writing is so powerful, yet gentle, that people will be able to add their own words to combat the pain. Lucille’s credentials enhance the power of the story. Truly a book for these days!”

Lucille was just 6 years old when she was abused both physically and sexually by a hired man on the family’s farm. Lucille’s inner conflict about these experiences, propelled her into a childhood of guilt and shame. While Lucille was an outstanding student, singer and athlete, she lived with an underlying fear, loneliness and mild depression. A second sexual abuse by her brother-in-law, when she was just 15 years old, added to Lucille’s fears. When she tried to tell her parents about this, their response was only to pray for her—so, she kept these painful events secret for years. Many years later, her brother in law was arrested for molesting a 15-year-old girl. Lucille and others, including his own daughter, testified against him and he was incarcerated.

Raised in a conservative household and faith, Lucille went to college and seminary to search for a theology that was full of grace and forgiveness. She found this especially at Yale Divinity School, though she always lived with a mild depression. Her struggle to understand both her faith andpsyche led her to earn a PhD from Northwestern University in psychology and religion. She became a clinical psychologist and pastoral counselor and later the Executive Director of The Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center in Evanston, Illinois.

At age 50, when her husband suddenly divorced her, Lucille was cast into darkness and despair which resulted in major depression. Lucille became dysfunctional and had to step down as Executive Director of her counseling center. Years of therapy led her to new ways of offering and sharing her gifts, which included writing stories and ministering to seniors, especially those suffering from dementia.

In Light Shines in the Darkness, Lucille F. Sider shares her unique story of sexual abuse and severe mental illness, including depression and PTSD. She describes her legal battle in fighting for justice and her ongoing persistence in finding ways to remain stable. She calls these her mental health and spiritual practices and they include: counseling, medication, meditation, healthy diet, exercise, daily prayer and church attendance. In sharing her story, Lucille now is helping others along their journeys from sexual abuse to stability—to find their own hope and their own light that shines through the darkness.

“Timely, compelling and courageous, this autobiography lays bare the trauma of both child and adolescent abuse,” writes Carol Schreck, Professor Emerita of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Palmer Theological Seminary. “This book deserves to be read by any adult who, living in a culture where 80 percent of females have experienced some form of sexual abuse by the age of 18, are no longer content to keep their proverbial head in the sand.”

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#7 Good Sexual Citizenship by Ellen Friedrichs

Good Sexual Citizenship by Ellen Friedrichs
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Julia Feldman from Giving the Talk.

The book is manual that can help people dismantle sexual hostility with empathy. It addresses the historical forces that shaped how we view sexual assault and the culture that continues to sustain it. The book tries to help readers dismantle a lot of the dangerous messages they learned about sex learned about sexuality and then help build up something a lot better.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#8 You Can Help By Rebecca Street

You Can Help By Rebecca Street
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Melanie Musson from InsuranceProviders.

You Can Help is the book to read if someone you love is a survivor of sexual assault. Reading the author’s own story of assault gives insight into the emotions and trauma a survivor feels. But it doesn’t stop with helping the reader empathize, it also provides practical suggestions for helping your friend or family through their recovery.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

#9 Protecting Your Child from Predators by Dr. Beth Robinson

Protecting Your Child from Predators by Dr. Beth Robinson
Who recommended this book?
This was recommended by Dr. Beth Robinson from Kids Call Me Doc.

This book is based on the case files of Dr. Beth Robinson, whose counseling focuses on abused children and who is often an expert witness in legal proceedings. With scenarios from her practice and practical advice, Protecting Your Child from Predators gives parents wisdom in avoiding dangerous situations and how to equip children with a warrior heart that protects them even when parents aren’t present.

Before buying a book make sure to compare price and outlet, we have included links below to several large book outlets for different regions in the world:

Contributors to this article
Julie Peter from JuliePeters

Alberto Navarrete from Frisco Maids

Afarin Majidi from Lily O’Delia

Susan Stitt from Front Edge Publishing

Julia Feldman from Giving the Talk

Melanie Musson from InsuranceProviders

Dr. Beth Robinson from Kids Call Me Doc

Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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