Friday, November 6, 2009

Tolson 4 TEARS Reviews "No Secrets, No Lies"

No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal From Sexual Abuse by Robin D. Stone
The author of is a survivor of sexual assault. She has been an editor for Essence magazine, The New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Detroit Free Press, and Family Circle. She also teaches journalism at New York University. This impressive writing experience is evident in her clear, concise, compassionate, and culturally enlightening work: No Secrets, No Lies. Throughout the book, Stone offers "Fast Facts" in the margin, adding relevant material to the readers' knowledge. For example, Stone states, "Blacks are sexually victimized in childhood at the same rate as Whites. In one survey, they reported being more severely abused with greater force." Stone cites her sources in an extensive "notes" section. She also offers a valuable resource list and index.
The title of the first chapter is: "Was It Sexual Abuse?" No matter the gender, race, religion, socio-economic class, or ethnicity, victims of sexual abuse will experience the devastating ramifications. Victims suffer initially with the abuse, then again with each result that limits our human potential. Stone tells the reader: "in addition to the trauma of sexual violation, survivors must also deal with the trauma of being born and raised in a racist and sexist culture." And therein lies the roots of our troubled society. 
Stone offers case examples in each chapter. We read about Kim, who says, "I'm always afraid that people will leave if they see the real me." The "real me" is the child who was molested by her stepfather until she was nineteen; even as a young woman, he slapped her for resisting. Kim's mother kicked Kim out of the house, leaving Kim to fend for herself with friends. Kim learns that a relative had sexually abused her mother. This addresses the frightening fact that perpetration is all too often generational. 
The author incorporates the limitations placed upon Black survivors. "When Blacks seek help from White institutions [they] find little sympathy or understanding." Stone encourages counseling: "We have historically turned to our own support systems...sister circles...but for many of us the problems associated with being sexually abused run far too deep for untrained experts to help us tackle them in a meaningful way." Stone tells the reader: "...experts have developed multicultural approaches to therapy that incorporate the values, customs, and traditions of non-Whites." In chapter four, Stone suggests methods to finding "African-Centered Healing." cultural starting point for the study of African people." Stone then shares Rhonda Wells-Wilbon's Aya Model: Ten Steps Toward Healing" for a culturally sensitive method.

Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
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