Not Quite Healed: a book review

No one is more vulnerable than a child, which makes sexual molestation a heinous crime. Adult victims of childhood sexual abuse will have to overcome profound shame, confused emotions, and a fractured identity. They will have erected walls of protection which cut themselves off from meaningful relationships. Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe, have written this book for male survivors  of childhood sexual abuse. Not Quite Healed explores forty truths which abuse survivors have to face. As abuse survivors themselves, Murphey and Roe offer personal insights on what has helped them on to their journey to wholeness.  What you will not find in this book are quick fixes and easy answers. There is no formula for healing and Murphy and Roe see their own healing from abuse as a continual process. In these pages, they open up their wounds in hopes that it will help others begin their healing process.

This is  not an easy read. Murphey and Roe are honest about their journey, the abuse they suffered and their subsequent struggles. Murphey also blogs at menshatteringthesilence.blogspot.com and many of the stories in the book are from fellow survivors who have shared their story there. The raw emotional honesty of this book makes it a powerful read which offers real hope to strugglers. But this is not a feel-good-summer-read. Read this if you need this.

I was never the victim of sexual abuse so I read this book as an outsider wishing to gain some insight into this issue. As I read, I thought of people I grew up with who bore some of the telltale signs of abuse.  As someone who does not have direct experience, I thought the advice and insights that Murphey and Roe offer is helpful for co-strugglers.  They discuss the importance of facing your past, being honest with yourself about struggles (i.e. not saying, I’acted out’ but naming the sin), dealing with pornography and same-sex attraction resulting from confusion about sexual identity, the reality of flashbacks and recurring dreams and the lies abused people believe about themselves.  They also stress the importance of forgiveness.

While they admit that there is no quick fix, Murphey and Roe believe their is real hope for healing and wholeness and that the long, difficult road towards healing makes them stronger and more loving towards others. The abuse stole a part of their humanity. What they have learned is that honestly facing the reality of their past wounds enables them to live more fully in the present.

By opening up their own stories for others, Murphey and Roe bring healing to other survivors. I found their advice sensible, biblical and  sensitive. As an ‘outsider’ reading this book I gained some insights on how to be a safe person for survivors to share their story with (and break the cycle of shame). I give this book five stars and recommend it for men with sexual abuse in their past.

Thank you to Kregel Publications for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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