Every troubled relationship has at its core a problem one or both partners experienced when they were children. Truly what happens when you’re a child makes an enormous difference in your ability to have a healthy relationship as an adult.
One of the most troubling things that can happen to a child is a betrayal when she or he experiences sexual mistreatment by someone in a position of trust. Even more troubling is that nobody wants to talk about the problem.
Many people have reported to me that, as children, they did tell somebody, somebody who should have been able to help. Instead, this trusted adult told the child to never talk about it again.
And so they don’t talk about it. But the problem doesn’t go away, and in fact many of those people who were abused become perpetrators of inappropriate sexual behavior themselves.
Dr. Loren Due’s new book, Shhhh… Don’t Say a Word About This! brings this problem out of the shadows. As someone who has “lived through it all,” healed and committed himself to helping others heal, he brings incredible compassion to his explanations of why the problem persists and what can be done to help break the cycle that allows this abuse to continue.
He does talk about it — and in a way that is very new to me. Full disclosure: Dr. Due is black male evangelical Christian minister and I am a white female Jewish psychotherapist and student of spirituality. We come from very different cultures. We are both committed to doing what we can to end the cycle of sexual abuse but we approach the problem from very different directions.
Some of the problems he addresses as sexual perversions such as homosexuality and sex outside of marriage I consider normal variations of the human experience.
Dr. Due believes that healing comes only from full commitment to God. The book is liberally illustrated with biblical references and stories to help the reader understand that the human frailties that lead to these problems have been with us forever.
He explains, “The stories in the Bible are not just ideas, nor are they fables. They are true accounts of real people in real life situations that closely mirror our lives in modern society.”
Although his approach to healing is very different than mine, it is probably very appropriate for many problems of people who are part of a Christian community.
However, I think the real strength of this book, and the most important reason for recommending, it is Dr. Dew’s compassionate and understanding explanations of how such horrible things have been allowed to continue.
Through this understanding, both perpetrators and victims of sexual abuse can be encouraged to seek help by whatever path, psychotherapy or faith-based, is appropriate for them.
If you are a victim or a perpetrator or someone who is in a relationship that’s been affected in any way by sexual abuse, and especially if you are a member of a Christian community, read this book. And do start to talk about it!
Is this you? “I don’t need therapy, but I could use some advice about…”
[tags]Relationship Advice, Relationships, Sexual Abuse, Christian Healing, Christian Marriage Counseling, Book Review[/tags]