Okay, so this isn’t going to be best seller and it probably won’t ever actually be physically published… but it should be. This is an ebook written by one of my best friends, Angela, that she “published” on her blog yesterday. It’s located here.
The book, Your Body is Special, is a family discussion book about sex, your body, and how to protect yourself. It’s designed with children in mind, and I’m sure Angela’s end vision had friendly pictures and a beautiful layout and just all sorts of wonderful things. The book is divided into very short topics followed by parent-oriented content on how to talk to your kids and ideas for doing that. It’s a wonderful book, and full of great insight and hope.
A good portion of the book deals with sexual abuse and how to protect yourself. It dispels many of the myths and even provides ideas for people who are supporting victims, which I would hope everyone would read. The data regarding sexual abuse and assault is overwhelming. I guarantee that you know someone who has been a victim, and I guarantee you that almost to a person, each of those victims has seen the abuse continue at the hands of a well-meaning but otherwise ill-informed friend trying “to help.”
I don’t want to focus on the preface too much because Angela didn’t write it, but I felt like that set the tone of the book. This isn’t a book of happy things, though Angela and I would both emphasize that we make a serious mistake when talking about sex as something dirty and shameful. It’s a book of safety and hope. It’s a book of healing. It’s a book of missed opportunities blooming into potential. The preface emphasizes that.
Angela has posted all of the content online at her blog. It is lacking the pictures, but you can work through the book easily enough and see her goals. I’m half-tempted to post this as a kickstarter and just see what happens. Since she’s my most faithful reader, maybe I should encourage her to just forget that last part so that maybe it can be a surprise…. 🙂 And the thing is, she has all the resources she needs to do this. She’s a graphic designer, I’m an editor, we both have several illustrator friends (and several who are wildly talented!). I’m still working on her to get to drive for publishing this. I’d certainly donate my services for free to something I feel is so important.
It’s hard to rate a book like this, so no rating. All I will say is that parent or not, this is important information we should all know. Essential information. If you don’t have kids, you still need to know how to approach children and help them. We all interact with other people, and the staggering number of victims suggests that you will encounter at least one victim every day. You never know when that person will need that help. You just don’t. For so many it stays deep and hidden and painful and shameful and festering until one day, it just doesn’t. I’ve seen it in my own encounters with humanity, and I’ve certainly witnessed plenty of failures and hurt caused by not know what to do.
To emphasize the single most important lesson, should someone ever come to you and ask for help, the only words you need to say to them are: “I believe you.” And look them in the eye when you say that. And then shut up and let them grieve, because that will be the first thing that happens when someone finally believes them. Finally. Finally all the years of pain and emotion and hurt and guilt and whatever else will just burst when they finally see someone who is going to listen AND believe them.
Ah… Love this book. Go read it. It’ll take you 15 minutes. Maybe 20. And it might just save a life.