It seems there's always a news story covering the topic of sexual assault, rape, or rape culture. Crimes involving sexual assault are far too commonplace. Sexual assault happens in the workplace, on college campuses, in every industry from the Olympics to Hollywood, the music industry to the publishing industry, and, yes, among school aged children. As a country, we are appalled and horrified by the Sanduskys and the Nassars who prey on victims who initially trust them in positions of power above them, and later testify as survivors of sexual assault. And yet, these stories come and go, and sexual assault, rape, and child sexual abuse all continue to happen at an alarming rate.
Silence and shame largely empower the abuser to maintain their position of power over victims; thus, speaking out and handing shame back to the abuser are essential tasks survivors need to utilize early on in recovery in order to begin the healing process. Other key resources necessary for survivor recovery include: being heard and not blamed for being a survivor, having healthy boundaries, and gaining education about grooming and gaslighting among other key terms specific to survivors of sexual assault. I highly recommend a great, free resource on YouTube: subscribing to Trauma Recovery University for over 200 hours of free videos you can watch at your own pace and educate yourself on recovery as a sexual assault survivor:
Unfortunately, I know this all too well, because it happened to me, too. Which is one of the reasons I wrote my #OwnVoices young adult novel, The Packing House (read the first 3 chapters here), as a fictionalized version of my own survivor story, and am writing the sequel, Unpacking the Past, to complete the duology. It's why I have joined the Bristlecone Project, as a Male Survivor (see www.bristleconeproject.org). It's why I have joined the ranks of Survivor Knights, an organization that incorporates the arts as a pathway of recovery among the survivor community (see https://www.facebook.com/SurvivorKnights/).
It's also why I joined the project, Things We Haven't Said: Sexual Violence Survivors Speak Out, an anthology of 25 sexual assault survivors speaking out. I am also working on another survivor's anthology I've recently been invited to join, and will eventually develop a curriculum for survivors to use as a map to their own recovery. I myself have been walking out my recovery for the past 40 years, as my sexual assault occurred when I was four years old.
Clicking the link below the book cover above will take you to the Amazon Page. Click here to see my previous blog post on Things We Haven't Said being available, and the full list of sites from which you can purchase the anthology.
Here are a few highlights of the response so far regarding Things We Haven't Said:
Here's the link to our Kirkus Starred Review
Here's the link to an article featured on Publisher's Weekly
Here's the link to an interview featured on School Library Journal
Here's the link to an interview on Foreword Reviews
Here's the link to the 5 Star Review of TWHS on Foreword Reviews
Here's the YouTube link of our book panel presentation at The Strand Bookstore in NYC featuring our anthologist's editor: Erin Moulton, and fellow survivors: Barbara McClean, Maya Demri, myself, and Jane Cochrane. We had an amazing crowd and great questions.