THIS BOOK IS FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT to understand child sexual abuse in new ways. Based on interviews, the book shows what child sexual abuse means to child and adult survivors, perpetrators, and mothers of survivors. The realities are harsh, but dealing with harsh realities leads to hope and recovery.
The book also describes how survivors recover from child sexual abuse, describes treatment and prevention programs, and makes recommendations for polices and education programs.
Above all, this book is for survivors and their families so that they can understand the harsh realities in their own lives, find goodness and hope within themselves and in trustworthy other people, and go on to rich and fulfilling lives.
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By Jerry Travis
Apr 8, 2010
Why is child sexual abuse so prevalent in our society? How can a single person abuse, quite literally, hundreds of children over a 40-year period before getting caught? What is it about our culture that makes it possible for perpetrators of this crime, which causes so much damage to the very fabric of our civilization, to flourish? The answers in this book will surprise you. Many people, by holding to deep-rooted traditions on the subject, actually contribute to an environment that protects perpetrators, all the while believing that they are doing "their part" to prevent it. Isn't it time for this subject to be brought out into the open, so that humanity may take a giant leap forward? Many people's attitudes towards child sexual abuse are like those of an alcoholic's codependent. You don't have to look very far to see examples of abuse, even within your own extended family. Within the extended families of my wife and myself, I know of four definite cases of child sexual... More > abuse, and suspect there may be others. Two of these cases were repeated many times against the same children over a period of years. If you don't know of any cases within your own extended family, you most likely know of such cases among your friends. How is it that something that's so prevalent in our society, has become so unspeakable? Indeed, murder is much more openly spoken of and one might argue is even treated more lightly. This places a child who becomes victimized by a sexual abuser into quite a dilemma. Suddenly, they've been shoved into a "space" where they feel they've violated multiple social taboos, taboos so severe it's as if they've become involved with something even worse than murder. It's impossible for a child (or even an adult in many cases) to cope with this, without suffering severe trauma. They simply don't have the mental, emotional or physical resources to do so. And they don't have reliable information on the subject either, because it is so taboo. Though coerced into these situations, the child is there when the violation(s) occur. They realize they've become involved in a sexual encounter, which is socially taboo in our society even among adults, but especially for children. If a family member or close friend of the family is involved (which is usually the case), they've also become involved in incest, an even worse taboo. And if the same sex is involved, they've become involved in homosexuality. A child would probably feel more at ease to let someone know what has happened to them, if they had become involved in a murder. Perpetrators typically understand the power these taboos give them, and turn it against their victims. Jane Gilgun disbands many traditional myths about abuse in her book, "Shame, Blame, and Child Sexual Abuse". She is an expert in the area and has been publishing articles on the subject since at least 1988 (see "Scholarly Publications" at the end of the book). She holds a Ph.D., teaches at the University of Minnesota and is a licensed social worker. Her book is based on decades of real life experience with survivors of childhood sexual abuse, as well as the perpetrators of those crimes. She is eminently qualified to write this book. The book is relatively easy to read, designed for the average reader (as opposed to scholarly writings on the subject). It provides a thorough examination of child sexual abuse and all its ramifications, complete with prevention strategies, identification "earmarks" for both victims and perpetrators, and suggested therapies for when abuse does occur. References to additional materials are found at the end of most of the latter chapters of the book, specific to the topic of the chapter. Criticisms? There always has to be criticisms, or people won't believe a "glowing review". In reading the book, I found more typos than I would have cared for. About halfway through I started making notes on my Kindle, and hope I can get these back to the author for a future revision. However, it's easy to figure out her intent, it's just a bit of a nuisance. And I did have to look up just a few of the words she used, an easy task using the built-in dictionary on the Kindle. Other than that, the book is an excellent treatise on the subject of child sexual abuse, and should be required reading for every person on the planet. That may sound extreme, but it would certainly help spell out the demise of this hideous social ill. Information is power. 11/28/2009 I've since been informed that Jane Gilgun has uploaded an updated version of her book, taking care of those pesky typos. So I now heartily endorse this book, without any reservations whatsoever. It will also be coming out as a printed book in early 2010 (paperback or hardcover, I don't know which). 4/7/2010 This book is now in print and can be ordered from either Amazon.com or Lulu.com.< Less
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