Thursday, June 8, 2017

Books I Found Helpful For Healing After Abuse

I was sexually abused around 1963 by two teenaged boys in my neighborhood when I was four years old.  My mother, who was also sexually abused as a child by someone in her neighborhood, struggled with depression and rotated in and out of mental hospitals until Ronald Reagan cut the budget for most of them.  She was too wrapped up in her pain to notice that I was gone.  And it was the days when people were much more relaxed about allowing their children to roam the neighborhood unsupervised.

I did not understand what the boys did to me, but I knew it was bad because I had at least been told that these were my private parts.  I knew, whatever it was they did to me, they weren't supposed to do it to me.

When I was six I told my mother what the boys did to me.

She said, "That's were babies come from," but she didn't do anything.

Her nonchalant response gave me the message that what happened to me was not significant.

This is a short book list

Begin by coming to terms with abuse.

Ellen Bass and Louise Thornton, Eds, I Never Told Anyone:  Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, 1991.

Dorais, Michel, Don't Tell: The Sexual Abuse of Boys. 2009.

Angelou, Maya, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, 1969.

Bauschard, Louise, Voices Set Free: Battered Women Speak From Prison, 1986.

This book is authored by a pioneer in the domestic violence movement who discovered that some of the women she worked with served time in prison for killing the husband who tried to kill them.  As she looked into women serving time in prison, she discovered how many of them suffered from various forms of abuse through much of their lives.  In other words, our judicial system was punishing deeply wounded women who had not had proper support for healing.

Mohammed, Mildred,  Sacred Silent:  The Mildred Mohammed Story, 2010.

Remember the DC sniper who was black Muslim John Mohammed and his youthful and naive accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo.  The media covered the fact that this pair were black Muslims killing white people.  Mildred Mohammed knew better.  She knew that she was the target.  She had suffered severe emotional and financial abuse while married to her former husband.  When she left him, he committed the act most guaranteed to hurt her -- he took their children and fled to a Caribbean Island.  Broken hearted and alone, she retreated to a domestic violence shelter to heal.  Eventually she got her children back and moved from the Pacific Northwest to the environs of Washington DC to be as far from her abusive husband as she could be.  Eventually what she knew would happen happened.  The DC sniper's car turned up outside of her house.  She survived to start a not-for-profit, After The Trauma, to help domestic violence survivors and write this book.

Mam, Somaly, 

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