Edited by: Erin Moutlon

Publisher: Zest Books

ISBN: 13: 978-1942186342

Can you live within your own world; bury the atrocities done to you by people you were supposed to trust? Can you verbalize or relate the rapes and violations done to your body to anyone that can protect you from further harm or do you keep silent? Why? Within this anthology you will hear many voices of victims of sexual abuse and violence. As a young child you grow closer to adults but when some force sexual demands on an innocent and confused young child, sometimes the victims has a hard time coping, becomes afraid, depressed and has trouble coping with many situations. Some told their parents only to speak to deaf ears or protesting their denials of what in their hearts they knew was true.

Recovering from sexual abuse can take years. Some stories are told in the first person as if the writer is reliving the experiences first hand through his/her words. Hoping to find solace in the arms of someone safe, they often become jaded, scared and what you will read and hear within their voices will bring tears to your eyes as it did mine.

Imagine your mother’s boyfriend using you for his own pleasure and your mother disbelieving you. Imagine her sticking with this man and pushing you aside. How do you survive? You as one writer relates you excel in school and hope that you can soar. But, sometimes you will learn that several resorted to drugs or alcohol to escape even further or blocked out the aggressions being inflicted on them.

Following each story there is an in-depth interview with the writer that focuses on questions such as: How long did the recovery period take? Did you run into any barriers? Is everything okay now?
Each story is more heartfelt than the next but they all basically focus on the trust that was lost and the betrayals of so many that were supposed to protect each of them. From fathers that used some of these young girls, to mothers that manipulated some, to a Deacon that preyed on the innocence of young girls who thought his kindness and gestures were done in the spirit of love and understanding. Some even addressed their words to themselves in letters as if they were making up to themselves for not stopping what was done to them and yet divorcing themselves from the harsh realties of their abusive encounters by writing it as if it were to someone else.

One writer related these exact words: You’ve just been through something so horrific words cannot describe it, and I know you are not going to tell anyone for a long time. Your body has been through a trauma that very few people can understand.” Can you imagine what this young person has enveloped within her mind and cannot feel safe to share? So many stories that deal with exactly this fear of not being able to get justice and relate their experiences to anyone that they feel will listen.

At the close of all of these stories we learn more about each author now. Some hid their injuries from a childhood sexual predator’s assault for many years and then became involved in poor choices as an adult. Others soared, formed many organizations and groups that would help others cope with what they endured. Some are even authors on the New York Times Best Seller list. Treatment programs are available and these are some of the groups formed: Voices and Faces Project in the U.S. and Canada CASA (court appointed special advocates for children) a wonderful resource to know about. The story that really broke my heart was written to the author’s own diary relating things in a timeline that will shock readers. What happens when your own cousin inflicts pain and abuse on you? What happens when you cringe every time you hear his name or know he’s coming to your house? What happens when you finally fight back against him and against the bullies in your school? YOU WIN!

Unfortunately the writer won’t attend family gatherings if he is there and the sad part is no one has brought him to justice.

What about the teacher that saw two young girls that had just met for the first time and became friends drawing pictures that told many stories? Why didn’t this teacher realize what the drawings depicted? Why didn’t he report the abuse or question them? Back then when this happened teachers were not required to report abuse as they are today and which as an educator I did many times. Perhaps if he was more proactive and realized that something was wrong he could have safe these two young girls from further abuse.

On page 92 Where To Find Help is listed if you are in immediate danger. Statistics are horrifying when you read how many incidents there are each year or each day. Pages 93-95 spell it all out. It includes the definition of who are the Perpetrators and How Does Victimization Affect Health?

This book is a definite must read for everyone especially middle school children, high school and young adults to know that they need to speak out, find someone to trust and not keep silent. As you read these stories you will learn why some might have recovered, why others still might need time and why some realized that staying silent let the guilty party go free. THINGS WE HAVEN’T SAID: HAVE NOW BEEN SPOKEN!