Top Ten Books for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Trafficking

There are so many resources for survivors of sexual abuse, secondary victims, and advocates which can’t be accessed on the web.

So, here are my top ten favorite books that deal with sexual assault and sex trafficking:

1. Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault by Justin and Lindsay Holcomb

Available for Kindle and in paperback.

I am so glad I own this book and I would highly recommend it to anyone, whether you’ve experienced abuse or not. 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 you healing through His grace.

2. Escaping the Devil’s Bedroom: Sex trafficking, global prostitution, and the gospel’s transforming power by Dawn Herzog Jewell

Available in paperback

Again, this is one I had to own. 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. What I especially liked about this book was the breadth: in 200 pages, she addresses prostitution (male and female), sex tourism, pornography, sex trafficking, strip clubs, transvestite abuse, and much more. The survivor stories are incredibly inspiring and the resources she shares are invaluable.

3. The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales

Available for Kindle and in hardback/paperback.

At one point, nearly the entire text of this book was available through Google Books. I used this book as a resource for a paper I wrote on modern day slavery for my master’s. I wanted to address the common ignorance which the Western world has of sex slavery and forced labor. This book was excellent, very eye-opening. Bales looks at various forms of slavery which are prominent in the States (and nearly everywhere else), including house slaves and sex slaves. Bales was thorough in his research and provides a wealth of information for his readers.

4. Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free by Tullian Tchividjian

Available for Kindle, in hardback , and in audio.

We don’t typically think of freedom as a result of suffering but it can be. Tchividijan addresses the pain of suffering (including betrayal, addictions, tragedy, and heartbreak) and offers a highly insightful perspective on how to build a healthy view of suffering and how to use the pain of suffering to become stronger individuals. The book ultimately shows that God was willing to suffer for you and is now willing to suffer with you. You need not face the pain of life alone.

I had the opportunity to hear Tchividijan speak and I would highly recommend any material that he has produced.

5. The Road of Lost Innocence: the True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam

Available for Kindle, in paper and hardback, and MP3 Audio.

Read the story of a survivor of trafficking in her own words. Somaly was born in Cambodia and was trafficked as a sex slave from a very young age. She managed to escape that life and has now dedicated her life to rescuing other victims. This book reads very much like a novel and I would suggest having tissues handy. The strength and love of this woman is inspiring.

6. Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are Not for Sale, a Memoir by Rachel Loyd

Available for Kindle and in hardback/paperback

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. This moving book is now a full length motion picture.

7. The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Dan B. Allender

Available for Kindle and in paperback.

If you experienced sexual abuse as a child, this book was written for you. Do you work with adults who were sexually abused as children? Do you have a family member or friend who survived a childhood of abuse? This book is for you. Allender carefully explores the dynamics of and the damage caused by sexual abuse upon both men and women. He also offers a section entitled, “Prerequisites for Growth” and encourages survivors to pursue healing and hope for their wounded heart. 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

Nominated for Best Book of 2012.

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. Unpinned: Breaking the Hold of Sexual Assault and Abuse  by Grant Watkins

It’s difficult to find a good book written by a male survivor of sexual abuse for male survivors of sexual abuse. I think this one is one of those rare pieces. Watkins tells the story of his rape and recovery and the lessons learned as he sought healing and closure.

10. Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military by Mic Hunter

Available for Kindle and in hardback.

Hunter shares first-person accounts of men and women survivors of abuse to shed greater light upon the problem of sexual abuse within the armed forces. Contrary to what civilians might expect, the military environment can actually increase the vulnerability of its soldiers, particularly minorities, homosexuals, and women. Hunter explores the reasons for this and offers some suggestions for what ought to be done to decrease the number of victims.


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