1. Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault by Justin and Lindsay Holcomb
This book is so important. It includes basic information about sexual assault as well as six survivor stories which address the most common feelings experienced by male and female survivors (despair, anger, denial, distorted self-image, etc.). Each survivor’s story ends with hope; it’s so encouraging to read their stories and see the healing they’ve received. Finally, the book addresses what the Bible says about sexual assault, illustrating how God desires to take away our disgrace and bring healing through His grace.
This book is intensely heartbreaking and hopeful all at once. Dawn Jewell spent a year traveling the globe, meeting survivors of sex trafficking and forced prostitution from nearly every continent and recording their stories. She also interviewed those people who are working to rescue and rehabilitate sex slaves. The survivor stories are incredibly inspiring and the resources she shares are really great.
3. The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales
Bales looks at various forms of slavery which are prominent in the States (and nearly everywhere else across the globe), including house slaves and sex slaves. This is not light reading by any means but it is expertly researched and incredibly educational.
4. The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis
This is one of the books upon which our local support group curriculum is based. It’s written by a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and her counselor. While it is written specifically for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, it has plenty of material that can be helpful to survivors of all varieties of sexual violence. A companion workbook is also available.
5. On the Threshold of Hop: Opening the Door to Healing for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Dr. Diane Langberg
I have not yet read this particular title but it has come highly recommended by someone I trust; survivors have told him that it was the book most instrumental in their healing so I wanted to include it here. On the Threshold of Hope also has a companion workbook.
Rachel was a teenage victim of commercial sexual exploitation. She fought to become free and, with help from a local church community, she found a way to escape from her pimp. Now, she tells her story and unveils the misrepresented world of pimps and prostitutes.
7. The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Dan B. Allender
Allender explores the dynamics of and the damage caused by sexual abuse upon both men and women. He writes to encourage survivors to pursue healing and hope. There is also a companion workbook, available in paperback and for Kindle.
8. I Said No! A Kid-to-Kid Guide to Keeping your Private Parts Private by Kimberly and Zack King
Kimberly wrote this book after her young son, Zack, had a very frightening experience at a sleepover. Co-authoring the book with his mum was a healing tool for Zack. Using her son’s own words, Kimberly created a picture book to help children understand how to escape potentially threatening sexual scenarios. The language and illustrations are kid-friendly.
9. God Made All of Me by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb
You might recognize the authors’ names from the top of the page – they are husband and wife authors of Rid of My Disgrace (and Is it My Fault: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence). This book is kid-friendly but also filled with great information for parents. It is an easy way to talk to children about how their bodies are special and private. I have also recommended it to adults who want to have something short but validating to read as they process their childhood abuse.
10. The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
For a much more in-depth understanding of how trauma affects the brain – and the body as a whole – this is a must read. It came recommended to me by Thomas Edward, founder of Healing Broken Men. We were both speakers at The Courage Conference in 2016 and, after he spoke, I approached him and basically asked: “What can I read to help me understand how my own body might be reacting to past trauma without me even realizing it?” This book has been beneficial to me personally and professionally. Van der Kolk’s writing is sometimes more academic in tone but you can easily approach it one chapter at a time (or even pick out the chapters which seem the most relevant to you).
11. Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky
This book may be especially helpful to advocates and the families/close friends of victims, particularly parents of victimized children. It is filled with great information and practical advice.
12. The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide for Churches and Ministries by Boz Tchividjian and Shira M. Berkovits
Predators target the vulnerable and faith communities are full of vulnerable people – children, in particular. In this easy-to-navigate book, Tchividjian and Berkovits offer the practical steps and professional expertise that churches and religious organizations need in order to safeguard against abuse. I have known Boz for about a year now – and just received my own copy of this guide – and he is one of the finest advocates I have had the pleasure of knowing.
“This handbook, authored and edited by a multidisciplinary team of child abuse experts, is designed to help churches and faith communities formulate policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministries, school, and church. By walking through a wide range of scenarios, this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse policies and guide them through each step they should take to address the safety of children under their care. Covering vitally important topics including the warning signs of abuse, how to respond to abuse allegations and care for victims, and the legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries, working through this book will guide churches and Christian ministries in creating and implementing policies to protect children in a Christian environment from child abuse” (Amazon description).
13. The Courage Coach: A Practical, Friendly Guide on How to Heal from Abuse by Ashley Easter
I had the great honor of assisting Ashley by editing some of the early drafts of this terrific little book and I am so pleased to see it’s available for everyone to read! This book is brand new as of July 2017 and is an educational, empathetic, and affirming safe space for survivors. Ashley is the founder of The Courage Conference (read about my personal experience with the conference here) and you can follow her blog here.
14. Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders by Anna Salter
Salter’s book is invaluable. “What motivates sexual abusers? Why are so few caught? Drawing on the stories of abusers, Anna C. Salter shows that sexual predators use sophisticated deception techniques and rely on misconceptions surrounding them to evade discovery. Arguing that even the most knowledgeable among us can be fooled, Salter dispels the myths about sexual predators and gives us the tools to protect our families and ourselves” (Amazon description). Salter has also written Transforming Trauma, a book written for professional practitioners who work with adult survivors of childhood abuse.
What books have helped you in your own healing and understanding of abuse?