With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we’re taking some time to talk about all the different ways sexual assault can affect one’s life, and what we can do to help survivors heal. We all know the sobering statistics — it’s likely that you know someone who has experienced sexual assault. Or maybe you’re a survivor yourself. It can feel overwhelming and scary to think about, but it’s important to have conversations about sexual assault so that, as a society, we can come to a better understanding as to how to prevent sexual assault and how to most compassionately care for survivors.
There are many different outlets that can hep you cope with sexual assault. Many people find refuge in organizations like the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), which was created specifically to provide support for survivors. Others work directly with a therapist or counselor, and many do a combination of both. One thing that can be an excellent therapeutic supplement to whatever road chosen is finding solace in reading.
There is a TON of literature out there on sexual assault, which is great, but that means there’s a lot to sift through. For some, it might be incredibly triggering to read stories of assault, but others might find comfort in this literature.
Depending on your taste, a self-help book could be the right thing for you, but for others, healing poetry or memoirs might be easier to connect with. Whatever you choose, there are many books that can help you find peace after experiencing assault.
Here are 10 books you might find helpful when coping with sexual assault.
1The Body Keeps the Score
Written by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD, this book combines the author’s background in medicine and science with the very moving stories stories of his patients’ survival.
Alice Sebold’s memoir reveals how her life was completely changed after she was brutally raped and beaten near her college campus. It recounts her recovery, growth, the reactions from her friends and family that were less than helpful, and ultimately how she contributed to her attacker’s capture and conviction.
Bestiary is Donika Kelly’s powerful debut collection; it was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award and was the winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. The book explores the myriad gendered experiences and doesn’t shy away from the violence women live through.
4After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events
Poet and editor Tom Lomdardo brought together 115 poets from across the world with messages of recovery through all of life’s heart-breaking events, including grief, war, exile, abuse, divorce, addition, injury, illness, bigotry, and loss of innocence. The purpose is truly to help the reader find healing, comfort and guidance through life’s most challenging moments.