It took me over a decade to write You Can Help. Much of that time was spent researching and interviewing a wide range of survivors who had experienced either sexual abuse or assault or both. It was often very difficult to read these personal stories as each one, regardless of circumstances, is horrendous in its own way.
Despite of all they had lost, these brave women and men were willing to disclose the most hurtful, private part of their lives with a stranger in the service of helping others. The motivation for their generosity is that they all wished to share how they were helped in recovery so that loved ones would be empowered to help other victims ~ profound examples of the second commandment: love your neighbor as yourself.
Quite unexpectedly, it was through their courageous stories that I came to a certain pride in being part of a club we would all give almost anything not to be a part of. Accounts of lives riddled with pain and despair gradually being transformed through hard work and the help of loved ones filled my in inbox. And though for most, the symptoms of the trauma continue at times to disrupt, the scales are clearly weighted on the side of wholeness rather than brokenness.
This is good news for victims of sexual crimes. It is clear evidence that none of us has to be defined by our losses, no matter how grievous they are. It is also good news for all those on the sidelines who have witnessed the ramifications of these crimes on the lives of their loved ones. Because the bottom line is that healing is indeed possible and that the more social support the victims receive the better their chances are to join the ranks of overcomers.
There are so many inspiring survivor stories about COURAGE and I welcome yours.