The courage to be me: A story of courage, self-compassion and hope after sexual abuse Paperback – 24 Mar. 2014
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Top reviews from United Kingdom
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As said in a few reviews, the fact this book is heavily illustrated, helps abuse survivors to read small bits and I believe this helps me to retain more information too. The first time I read it, I read all the words, looked at the pictures, but didn't actually take anything in as I think I wasn't in the right frame of mind at the time. A few weeks on, I'm reading it again and really relating to the other ladies described in the book.
As well as being grateful to my counsellor for recommending this book to me, I not only recommend other people buy this book (or even borrow a friend's copy), I also recommend checking out Nina's Youtube channel. There was one video about children being abusers that really shocked me but also opened my eyes.
Finally, I do have one little negative about the book. I think it would have been good to have at least one male abuse survivor, as it doesn't really give details on how a man might cope with their experience of being abused or raped.
This book however goes deeper than that, it gets to a part of your brain that you can not easily reach, because all the elements of you can understand, they can "see" and "hear" the words and the pictures. Many would have been much younger when they were abused and the way this book is made, it felt like it was talking directly to those younger damaged elements of myself.
When I first read Nina's chapter 2 - I'm not mad - I was moved by how she just "got it", right in front of me were my own feelings and fears that I dared never speak of, that I held in me because I thought it was only me who felt that way... suddenly it wasn't just me anymore and that is why this book is so special.
Different stories and experiences are presented in short, manageable chapters; each through the eyes of a different woman and kept personal and intimate. The introduction creates vital safe space and helped me understand how I was processing the information and where I needed to take breaks for reflection - the cats were inspired! Unusually, neither science nor emotion was dismissed, but both displayed hand in hand, giving a holistic approach that can reach more women and their needs.
Each chapter was relatable in some way and I found myself crying, smiling and even laughing at different points as I saw my own journey, hopes and fears reflected in this work. It gave me the space and a point of reference to really stop and look at my own progression and areas of need, and something that I can present to friends and colleagues to help explain the little bubble I live in!
Even if this subject matter doesn't seem "personal" to you, this book can play a vital role in challenging stereotypes and myths, and helping society change its outlook on support and sexual abuse. A thoroughly recommended read!
It might be lighthearted, but it does not make light of the issue. A lot of thoughfulness and care has gone into writing this, and the way the different illustrators are brought together gives the book much depth and character.
I am not a survivor of sexual abuse, but nevertheless I had a lot to learn from this compassionate and important book.
I really would recommend it to anyone who wants to think more broadly than their own immediate issues.
Top reviews from other countries
It has become an invaluable tool in my therapy sessions.