Books to Help Heal
Sexual assault is a traumatizing act that can destroy a surviving victim’s feelings of self-worth and security. Like with other traumatic experiences, the residual side-effects can linger for years. No matter the case, recovery is a difficult process.
A constant goal of OffenderWatch Initiative is to provide relevant resources for those who have experienced previous traumas. While one focus is on preventing future crimes, the OffenderWatch Initiative also hopes to aid those who are on the path to recovery.
Here are a few books to read if you or a loved one are having difficulty recovering from such an experience:
Healing from Trauma: A Survivor's Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life by Jasmine Lee Cory
Often the first step to overcoming is understanding, but people experience distinct traumatic events whose side-effects manifest themselves distinctly. In Healing from Trauma, author Jasmine Lee Cory covers a vast array of topics and perspectives related to trauma recovery. Identifying side-effects, finding the right alternative therapies, and controlling post-traumatic thoughts and memories are just a few of the topics covered in this book.
The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step-by-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault by Aphrodite Matsakis, PhD
Aphrodite Matsakis is a renowned expert on trauma and the strain it can put on interpersonal relationships. She has written several books on the subject, including I Can’t Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors and Trust After Trauma: A Guide to Relationships for Survivors and Those Who Love Them. In 2003’s The Rape Recovery Handbook, Matsakis gently lays out a step-by-step recovery process for anyone who is healing from the trauma of sexual assault.
Lucky by Alice Sebold
ritten by Alice Sebold, bestselling author of The Lovely Bones, Lucky is a gripping memoir about the event that changed the course of the author’s life: As a college freshman, Sebold, 18, was raped in a tunnel in a park near her school’s campus. Investigating officials told her about a girl who was murdered in the same location, saying Sebold was, by comparison, lucky. Tackling such topics as addiction, violence, and justice, Lucky is an engaging insight from a unique storyteller.
Find Your Voice: The Life You Crave is a Conversation Away by Sahar Paz
memoir and part recovery guide, author Sahar Paz uses her personal experience with sexual assault as an anecdote to aid those who may be facing the same challenges. Paz combines her account of the recovery process with advice on cognitive behavioral techniques to help readers find their confidence and inner voice.
Water Paint by Joy McCullough
Blood Water Paint tells the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a 17th century Italian Baroque painter who was raped at the age of 18. In the male-dominated city of Rome, Gentileschi chose to go against the patriarchal society and stand trial against her attackers. She is now recognized for her accomplished career as a realist painter. Written in verse, this book uses a historical event to challenge systems that perpetuate inequality and oppression.
Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter Levine
Under suitable circumstances, the human body is able to heal itself. Waking the Tiger guides the reader through a series of exercises focused on bodily sensations and symptoms of trauma. This book poses the question, “Why are humans the only living beings seemingly affected by traumatic symptoms?,” and addresses the instinctual reactions the human brain and body have to traumatic experiences.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Victims of sexual assault are often haunted by feelings of isolation. Discussing such a personal violation with others can be difficult. In Speak, author Laurie Halse Anderson speaks through protagonist Melinda to empathize with victims who might feel like their voice does not matter. Melinda’s journey of self-discovery and vindication encourages readers to speak up for themselves, even if they feel like no one is listening.