Books and Films

Resources that may be of help to survivors and their partners

Note: This list is intended to offer help and support to survivors and their partners. It is in no way meant to serve as a replacement for the work of therapy nor is it an endorsement of any particular resource.


Books for Healing and Education

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD) by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, (2007, The Guildford Press). The authors offer a very clear and useful guide to mindfulness in dealing with chronic depression. This book is a worthy guide to learning to use mindfulness to sidestep mental habits that lead to chronic unhappiness. Included is a CD of guided meditations narrated by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This book is highly recommended and useful to anyone wanting to learn mindfulness.

The Tricky Part: A boy's story of sexual trespass, a man's journey to forgiveness by Martin Moran (2005, Beacon Press: Boston) A powerful and truthfully told story of sexual abuse in childhood, and one man's successful struggle to reclaim his life in the aftermath of abuse. In an article for Shepherd's Fall 2005 newsletter, Martin Moran wrote: "The work of hiding the facts, the truth, of sex abuse is enormous. It becomes a full time, lifetime job. I understand why it kills people. The hiding is not only exhausting; it can also rob the world of the greatest treasure you have to offer. Your authentic self." His story is about his winding, complicated journey to hope and grace.

Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Dr. Susan Forward (Bantam Books, New York) A powerful and hard-hitting book for adults who have experienced the emotional crippling associated with physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of their parents. Both instructive and hopeful, this book sends a message of validation, liberation and empowerment for survivors of painful childhood experiences.

Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse by Carolyn Lehman (2005, Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Nine survivors of childhood sexual abuse—teens and adults—speak frankly about the abuse they experienced and the ways they've found to heal. The book offers other survivors hope: the young men and women profiled not only survived, but also thrived. Their hard work and courage made them strong at heart.


A Freed Woman's Dance by Doris Cope (2008, Bennett&Hastings Publishing, Seattle) Local Seatle author, Doris Cope, writes her memoir of courage, struggle, and resilience. Out of her very personal and compelling story of neglect and abuse, Cope has found her way to heaing and has embarked on a journey to help other survivors find freedom and empowerment.




Books for Survivors


The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis (1988, Harper Row, New York) This classic book serves as a comprehensive guide, offering encouragement to women survivors with the message that, although the effects of child sexual abuse are long-term and severe, healing is possible.

The Courage to Heal Workbook: A Guide for Women and Men Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse  (for men and women), by Laura Davis (1990, Harper Row, New York)
In this book, which may be used independently or as a companion to Courage to Heal, Laura Davis offers an inspiring and in-depth workbook that speaks to both male and female survivors of sexual abuse.

Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its Aftereffects in Women by E.Sue Blume (190 John Wiley & Sons, New York) The author provides a thorough explanation of abuse, traces the effects of abuse into adulthood, and identifies common coping necessary to live life in the aftermath of abuse.

Outgrowing the Pain: A Book for and About Adults Abused As Children by Eliana Gil (1983, Launch, San Francisco) In this small book, Eliana Gil simply describes the beginning process of acknowledgment of abuse and the necessary steps of healing.

Life After Trauma: A Workbook for Healing by Dena Rosenbloom PhD and Mary Beth Williams, PhD (1999, The Guildford Press, New York) This supportive workbook helps survivors of trauma rebuild their lives. This book is filled with activities and techniques to help guide the survivor toward developing inner resources for coping, self-understanding and self-care.

Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, M.D. (1997, Basic Books,New York) Judith Herman discusses the broader topic of trauma from domestic abuse to political terror and describes the stages of healing necessary to heal trauma.

Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships by Patrick Carnes (2005, Health Communications, Deerfield Beach, FL) Patrick Carnes explains how exploitive relationships can create trauma bonds which act as chains to link a victim to someone who is dangerous to them. The author also explains how these relationships become so powerful and provides steps to safely extricate oneself from these relationships.




Books for Survivors and Partners

Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child by Laura Davis (1991, Harper Perennial, New York) Laura Davis offers supportive and practical advice to partners of abuse survivors who are endeavoring to support the survivor while tending to their own needs.

Ghosts in the Bedroom: A Guide for the Partners of Incest Survivors by Ken Graber (1991, Health Communications, Deerfield Beach, FL) Author Ken Graber provides comfort and guidance for partners, the often forgotten victims in the dynamic of sexual abuse, to aid in the process of recovery and healing.

The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Wendy Maltz (1991, Harper Collins, New York) Wendy Maltz, a nationally recognized psychotherapist and expert on sexual healing, offers an encouraging and hope-filled book that is useful in helping survivors achieve the loving and safe sexual life they so richly deserve.

Don't Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes, (1991, Bantam, New York)
Carnes based the information in this book on his groundbreaking study of over 1,000 sex addicts to shed light on the problem of sex additions and to bring practical and hopeful suggestions to those wishing to recover.

Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes, (1983, Compcare, Minneapolis) In this classic book, the author clearly describes the problem of sexual addiction, offering hope to those who have previously had no hope and insight to those who want to learn how and why this addiction occurs.




Books For and About Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse




Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse by Mic Hunter (1990, Lexington Books, New York) Mic Hunter examines the physical and emotional impact of abuse on male victims and the factors affecting recovery.

Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse by Mike Lew (2004, Harper Collins, New York) This was the first book written specifically for male sexual abuse survivors and examines the changing cultural attitudes toward survivors of incest and other sexual trauma. This valuable resource offers compassionate and practical advice supported by personal anecdotes and stories of male survivors.

Leaping Upon the Mountains: Men Proclaiming Victory over Sexual Child Abuse by Mike Lew (1999, Small Wonder Books, Berkeley, CA) This book focuses on the reality of recovery. Its information comes directly from the experts—male survivors. Leaping Upon the Mountains contains powerful and moving contributions from hundreds of men of all ages and backgrounds throughout the U.S. and 45 other countries. This book is about the successes. Its contributors speak eloquently and persuasively to the reality of recovery.


Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse by R.B. Gartner (2005, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ) Dr. Gartner's book provides empowerment action steps to help individuals move from victim to survivor. This book also provides support to loved ones, partners, and spouses.

Speaking Our Truth: Voices of Courage and Healing for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Neal King (1995, Harper Perennial, New York) This book gives voice to the men whose stories fill the book and brings encouragement to all survivors.

Wounded Boys Heroic Men: A Man's Guide to Recovering from Child Abuse by Daniel Jay Sonkin (1998, Adams Media Corp, Holbrook, MA) Dr. Sonkin carefully analyzes feeling, attitudes, and behavior patterns necessary to allow healing.





Books on Keeping Kids Safe


Out Of Harm's Way: A Parent's Guide to Protecting Young Children from Sexual Abuse

An overview by a psychologist who studies child sexual abuse, with realistic recommendations for parents and caregivers.


It's MY Body: A Book to Teach Young Children How to Resist Uncomfortable Touch (Children's safety series & abuse prevention)

A book to help preschool children learn safe boundaries, as well as how to distinguish between "good" and "bad" touches, and how to respond appropriately to unwanted touches.


It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families 

This book speaks to elementary-school children's interest in how things work, while giving them a healthy understanding of their bodies.

It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health 

 A resource for tweens, teens, and their parents. Includes a chapter on internet safety and resources to help kids make responsible decisions and stay healthy.






Stories of Silence, a documentary film by Ethan Delevan (2007). The Seattle filmmaker documents the journey of male survivors in three stages: victim, survivor, voice. This film tells the very real story of the possibilities of hope and healing in the aftermath of abuse. Stories of Silence presents another way to understand the reality of sexual abuse in our culture. Now we know it is real and pervasive, but we have yet to understand how it has changed our relationships with each other and how we can reclaim our emotional health. Stories of Silence is a bold and positive step in that direction.

Twist of Faith, an academy award nominated documentary film by director Kirby Dick (2005). The story of Tony Comes conveys the deep emotional trauma of sexual abuse by priests in a way that is impossible for audiences to ignore. He concludes, "One of my sincere hopes is that this film has a profound impact on people's understanding of this tragedy. If the film helps to encourage the Catholic Church to reach out to survivors and change the way it deals with this issue, perhaps 20 years from now we won't be learning about another generation of people who have experienced the same kind of suffering that Tony has lived through his entire life."

Locked, a film by director Juli C. Lasselle. A film about two sisters who have been impacted by the terrible legacy of incest. Set in a small town in Northern California, this intense film explores the aftereffects of sexual abuse on adult survivors, their friends, and loved ones when two sisters come together for a weekend celebration and find themselves confronting the truth of their past.

Frontline - Hand of God Producer Joe Cultrera tells the very personal story of his brother's sexual abuse in this PBS documentary (2007). In recent decades more than 10,000 children were reportedly sexually abused by Catholic priests in the United States. In "Hand of God" filmmaker Joe Cultrera explores just one of those cases, that of his own brother, Paul. "Hand of God" is a story of faith betrayed and how Paul and the rest of the Cultrera family fought back against a scandal that continues to afflict scores of churches in the country.

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