Voices of courage

7 Jun

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Book Review

Book Title: “Voices of Courage

Author:  Michael Domitrz

Reviewed By; Wanjala Wafula

The Voices of courage has done exactly what it was meant to do: given a voice to survivors of sexual trauma. For survivors of sexual assault, healing is a process the first step of which is finding a voice. Voices of Courage has put words where there previously were none and done it with real women and men, with real stories to tell.

If you have never heard anyone speak about the lingering torment of rape, you will be rudely awakened by the personal stories in Voices of Courage. If you are a survivor and have never spoken to anyone, this may give you the courage to begin to deal with the pain it has caused, and give you some great suggestions for healing

Voices of Courage gives voice to the phenomenal courage of male and female survivors of sexual violence. Their telling of what was done to them is a wake up call to the brutality of perpetrators and depth of the trauma caused when sex is used as a weapon. But the gift of this book is so much more; it is the healing that comes from not keeping the perpetrators secret, and the power in knowing no one can take away your worth or ability to help others.

It is a wonderful collection of diverse victims stories, told crisply and directly, and each with a different message. Many voices speaking through poetry, journals, and stark description of terrible experiences but more important, recovery from them. In these terrible experiences, honestly told, lies a hidden grace—that of coming to new understandings and finding directions for recovery.

I have read many texts written both by scholars and by the victims of sexual violence attempting to understand this horrible event from a socio-scientific perspective. What those accounts tend to lack, and what this book does beautifully, is to simply and honestly convey real men and women of all ages telling real stories. The effect is not only humbling, but offers a rarely seen side of rape and sexual assault thus the human side. The body of literature on the subject of sexual assault is significantly improved by the publication of this noble volume

Voices of Courage increases awareness of the complex issue of sexual assault. It opens the eyes of everyone trying to understand the problem, solve the problem, or support a loved one who has been victimized. Most importantly, the book will help many to make the transition from victim to survivor status.

 This book is unique in that it focuses on the ultimate outcome that sexual assault can have on survivors—finding strength and knowledge that may never have been discovered or realized had the experience not  occurred. While doing that, the stories still manage to avoid minimizing the challenges implicit in healing from such an experience, which is an impressive balance to find. The book would be very helpful for those exploring how they can use their own experience of trauma to end violence in our society.

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