- Paperback: 170 pages
- Publisher: Sky Pilot Books; 2 edition (February 3, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0989463605
- ISBN-13: 978-0989463607
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,357,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse Paperback – February 3, 2014
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About the Author
Educator and author CAROLYN LEHMAN has spoken publicly on overcoming abuse for more than twenty years. Her children’s novel Promise Not to Tell received the Christopher Award for its sensitive portrayal of a young girl’s struggle to tell about molestation. Lehman lives on the north coast of California with her husband and partner in wilderness adventures, Peter.
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So for me, reading about these incredibly strong, interesting, and diverse men and women really helped me know what someone might be feeling and thinking but feel unable to express. I saw what people said and did for them that was helpful in their recovery, and it helped me feel more prepared to talk with my friends about sexual abuse and to support those who are recovering from it.
The book is written for teens on up, but doesn't talk down to you or oversimplify the feelings and issues involved, so it is a great resource for adults as well. The conversational style makes it a quick and simple read, so even people who don't enjoy reading would still get a lot out of this book.
I particularly liked the diversity shown. There are people from many races and ethnicities, men and women from different cultural and religious backgrounds, people who were abused at different ages and by different kinds of people in their lives. The diversity didn't feel like tokenism; I felt like we really got at some important kernal of humanity and shared experience which made every single entry an experience that anybody could relate to.
I recommend this book for survivors, those who work with children, teens, and young adults, and people like me who would like to help their friends or relatives in their recovery but aren't sure what support we might be able to offer that would be of value to our loved ones.
The author's website offers additional resources:
Each person's story evokes a wide range of emotions - compassion as well as respect for their strength, and contains wisdom and insight into healing.
This is both a healing book for survivors, like myself, and educational for allies. The very last story was about a group of college students who were a part of SAFE: Survivors and Allies For Education on Childhood Sexual Abuse and Incest at Smith College. It is so valuable to have groups like this and for young people to seek them out or be inspired to form groups. It is very valuable to have that peer to peer support in an environment among equals, while also learning about setting boundaries and respect.
I know this firsthand. When I was a teen and when I was in college I was dealing with my own personal healing process from my childhood abuse, while also working at doing well in school. After I graduated college, I lived in another college town while my husband was in grad school, and I became active with support groups, The dance/music/theater festivals, The Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center, I was invited to be on a speakers bureau, Women take back the night, The clothesline project, RAD, Darkness to light, Sexual assault/child abuse/crime victims rights awareness month, as well as domestic violence awareness month.
As a mom I find this book an important tool to be aware of the depth of the problem. I was heartbroken to see that many victims felt that they could not talk to anyone because no one would believe them. As parents we should give our kids the tools to speak up agaings thinks that are making them uncomfortable.
Finally, even if the book is heartwrenching at many times, it is hopeful as a whole, in the sense that it shows that is is possible to survive and live rich lives even after suffering abuse. Survivors show that they are marked by the abuse, but their lives are not defined by it. In every case, they all talk about the imporance of getting help.
This is a very important book.