"HOPE AND HEALING: A Survivor's Faith-Based Perspective on Recovering from Sexual Abuse," by Wendy Jessen, $16.99, 196 pages (nf)
As a 3-year-old girl on a Sunbeam questionnaire, Wendy Jessen, author of "Hope and Healing: A Survivor's Faith-Based Perspective on Recovering from Sexual Abuse," wrote, "I don't want to grow up because it will hurt." Underneath this unusual answer hid a mountain of darkness and hurt — Jessen was being sexually abused. The abuse continued through her childhood and into her tween years.
As a teen and adult, Jessen continued to struggle with the effects of the abuse including anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, feelings of unworthiness, believing herself to be unlovable, and struggling to feel close to God. While she found excellent mental health professionals and church leaders to help her progress, she did not find many gospel-centered resources for healing from sexual abuse. "Hope and Healing" is the book she wishes had been available to her.
"Hope and Healing" combines academic research with gospel principles and insights from scripture and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to offer encouragement and hope to survivors of sexual abuse. Topics covered include protecting children from sexual abuse, understanding God's love for all his children within the context of agency and abuse, intimacy in marriage, healing destructive emotions, and more.
Because of the subject matter, it was a difficult book to read at times, but it was compelling and well-written.Comment on this story
Jessen is a survivor, an author, a wife and a mother. While "Hope and Healing" is her first book, she has written over 600 articles and book reviews for FamilyShare and the Deseret News. She also blogs on her website, Finding Hope and Healing at survivorshopeandhealing.wordpress.com, a resource for survivors of sexual abuse seeking healing through the Savior's Atonement. She and her husband live in southern Utah with their six children.
"Hope and Healing" contains general, nongraphic descriptions of sexual abuse and sexual assault.