A new children’s book, A Secret Safe to Tell, was written to help children understand that it’s okay to tell someone when they have been hurt or inappropriately touched by someone who instructs them not to tell.
The book illustrates the story of a young girl whose adult friend makes her feel special and loved, and then confuses her with his touches and “games.” Believing she has done something wrong, the girl is afraid to tell anyone about what her friend did, and she feels very alone with her shame and worry. When she’s finally able to share her secret, she experiences relief.
Author Naomi Hunter explains her motivation for writing the book:
Struggling and desperate to demystify the darkness and secrets embedded in my childhood, I felt isolated, full of fear and shame. My dream grew into creating a resource that could empower victims of all ages from childhood sexual abuse (CSA), break the guilt and disgust we carry, unite our journey with hope and gentle nurturing whilst educating and protecting our future generations from this horrific experience. I am deeply passionate about reducing the frightening statistics around CSA and empowering everyone to do their part. This is an issue that can be eradicated, it is preventable. We need to encourage parents and educators that it is safe to talk to their kids, provide them with the tools to protect themselves. It is vital that we act to spare our children from a lifetime of flashbacks, of a negative self-image and worth, from the disassociation from their beautiful bodies and the horrific nightmares that plague one’s existence resulting from CSA.
Hunter closes the book with encouragement for children who may feel afraid to talk to someone about the abuse they experienced. She also includes a list of resources available to children in Australia, such as the toll free Kids Help Line.
When GoodTherapy.org Founder and CEO Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, reviewed the book, he was impressed with its simplicity, delicacy, and honesty:
A Secret Safe to Tell is so very well done, both in the beauty of its illustrations and the important message it shares with children and adults. In simple terms that children can understand, this book eloquently expresses what it’s like for a child burdened by sexual abuse. Informative for children and adults, this book has the potential to help protect children preemptively, make it okay for a child to seek help, and to provide hope. I highly recommend this book to all parents.
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