9 Books By Sexual Assault Survivors That Empower You To Heal From Trauma

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Sexual assault and rape happen. They are, regrettably, more common than most people think. And there are very few people qualified to offer emotional assistance to victims, and most certainly no victim knows how to deal with it.

In these intensively traumatic events, people definitely need the support and comprehension only someone who has gone through the same experience has. Support that can help them find the strength to overcome it.

While support groups are certainly a choice, victims, understandably, tend to prefer to refrain from social contact and forming new acquaintances during their initial phases of recovery. Thankfully, some sexual assault victims lend their knowledge for dealing with trauma in book form. Written so their stories might help others heal knowing there’s still life after traumatic experiences.

#1 Speak Up Child and Be Saved by Tyrone Short

For young girls who lose their innocence in violation, this book is designed to encourage victims to speak up. Within the pages of Tyrone Short’s book, Speak Up Child and Be Saved, readers will find a book depicting what it means when a young girl loses her innocence, which is very precious, and when it’s taken against her will, more than just her innocence can be lost. Innocence lost without justice gained is a double jeopardy leading to further loss. “Many people in society have been victims of this crime. Many of them are living in silence and want to speak up. I believe that this book can provide them the motivation and courage to speak up,” says Short. Today’s society is filled with these unheard victims. The ‘Me Too Movement’ continues to expose many for their inappropriate behavior, but these victims may feel what happened to them goes a lot deeper. This book is designed to reach them.

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#2 Trumping the Rape Culture and Sexual Assault by Alexandra Allred

Trumping the Rape Culture & Sexual Assault is not a tactical how-to flip or disarm an assailant but a practical guide to situational awareness, using your voice but also understanding the rape & assault culture. We need to debunk the myths, believe we are both STRONG and IMPORTANT enough to stand up for ourselves and each other.

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#3 Maximize Your Super Powers by Dr. Capri Cruz

For two years a young Capri Cruz was sexually abused and imprisoned by her own grandfather. In ‘Maximize Your Super Powers’ learn from a woman who overcame abuse in the foster care system as a child, homelessness, domestic and sexual violence at the hands of her protectors before the age of 40 to later become a renowned life coach, Phd and international speaker. Learn how to tap into the dynamic powers within ourselves to create the miracles other people don’t believe are possible.

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#4 The Shape of A Hundred Hips

The Shape of a Hundred Hips is a memoir that juxtaposes dance and sexual assault recovery that takes the reader into the living room, bedroom, and dance class. It promotes the idea that people can gain insight and take greater control of their lives through intentional movement and artistic connection.

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#5 Find Your Voice: The Life You Crave is a Conversation Away

Life after sexual assault is a confusing array of emotions. From shame to anger to fear and anxiety, a survivor’s inner-voice writes a narrative about what happened, why it happened, and who she is because of it. It is in this space a survivor defines herself as the victim or Shero of her story.

The pages of *Find Your Voice *offer deeply personal stories and a cognitive behavior guide from Sahar Paz, a survivor of sexual abuse who lost and found her voice. Each story is followed by a reflection guide based on cognitive behavior that equips the reader with emotional intelligence tools so they can find the healthy voice within, fueling their spoken voice with courage, joy, and confidence.

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#6 Light Shines in the Darkness: My Healing Journey Through Sexual Abuse by Lucille F. Sider

Clinical psychologist and clergywoman Lucille F. Sider adds her voice to the chorus of women in the #WhyIDidntReport and #MeToo movements. This is Lucille’s story of resilience and hope as a survivor of sexual abuse. She explains the challenges of finding her way out of a fear-based spirituality into one that is full of grace, hope and forgiveness.

The unique richness of her book is that she wrote it to spark healing discussion. As she describes her experiences in these pages, she also steps back and offers helpful analysis as both a psychologist and a clergywoman. At the end of the book, she includes a complete study guide with questions for reflection for individuals, small groups and classes.

“The book is arranged to be a valuable tool in the hands of persons in the helping professions, such as clergy, social workers, psychologists,” writes the Rev. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita and Ambassador of The Wesleyan Church. “This writing is so powerful, yet gentle, that people will be able to add their own words to combat the pain. Lucille’s credentials enhance the power of the story.

Truly a book for these days!” In Light Shines in the Darkness, Lucille F. Sider shares her unique story of sexual abuse and severe mental illness, including depression and PTSD. She describes her legal battle in fighting for justice and her ongoing persistence in finding ways to remain stable.

She calls these her mental health and spiritual practices and they include: counseling, medication, meditation, healthy diet, exercise, daily prayer and church attendance. In sharing her story, Lucille now is helping others along their journeys from sexual abuse to stability—to find their own hope and their own light that shines through the darkness.

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#7 Mind Over Mood, Second Edition: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think

While this book is not specifically for sexual assault survivors, it helps you in the recovery of the PTSD that comes along with the assault. It explains things in a very clear manner and gives you exercises to gain insight into your own thinking habits. I personally used this in conjunction with therapy to help treat my PTSD from sexual assault, as it was suggested by my therapist. When you are ready to move past the negative thought patterns that often occur in the aftermath of sexual assault, this book can help you on that journey.

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#8 After Silence: Rape and My Journey Back by Nancy Venable Raine

This helped me tremendously and I gave it to my family and friends.

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#9 Grief Day By Day by Jan Warner

It’s important for sexual assault survivors to grieve what happened to them in order for there to be inner healing. They’ve experienced a heavy violation of their identities, so they deserve to have as many resources at hand as they try to reclaim who they are. Grief Day By Day acts as a guide through that process with daily quotes and exercises that are designed to make the reader react inwardly. By normalizing healthy and productive grief, this book opens up doors that allow sexual assault survivors to pace through their own stages of healing, step by step.

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#9+ The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step-by-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault by Aphrodite T. Matsakis

Survivors of sexual assault are often left with posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety and sometimes substance abuse. This book explores the reality of life after sexual assault and serves as a practical guideline for sexual assault survivors to adopt coping techniques and help them to heal from the trauma. Why Sal? – Sal has over 25 years of experience as an actively licensed psychologist in Florida, New Jersey, Nevada and New York. His long-standing experience treating addiction and mental health issues offers some unique insight for your piece. The Ambrosia name also comes with credibility with five Joint Commission-accredited addiction treatment facilities across the country.

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Contributors to this article
Fran Liu from SmartFinancial

Alexandra Allred from N/A

Dr. Capri Cruz from Maximize Your Super Powers With Dr. Cruz

Patricia Cumbie from PatriciaCumbie

Sahar Paz from Own Your Voice Strategy

Susan Stitt from Front Edge Publishing

Kat Kaye from Kat Kaye Studio

Catherine Fahy Green from Drink PR

Shiwon Oh from Fueled

Sal Raichbach from Ambrosia Treatment Center


  1. You might want this for your book list: Goodreads and Midwest Book Review both gave it an excellent rating.

    I have recently published a book on incest which is memoir and self-help for survivors and those who care about them. I describe what I did for myself, as survivor, psychotherapist and energy healer to make my life wonderful by looking inside and clearing out the pain. I tell how others can do that too. “Inside Incest, Psychotherapy and Energy Healing Transform this Therapist and a Guide for Survivors,” is the title.
    Madeline A. Garner is my pen name. Linda Blaser is my real name.
    Thank you for consideration.

  2. Another great book I would also recommend reading is ‘I Want to Go Home – Reclaiming Power After Sexual Assault’ by Renee Marie Simpson. It’s a true story of a young woman whose trust and self-worth was taken from her one night by her best friends boyfriend, through an unforgivable and traumatic act of sexual abuse. She chooses to sail back home to Australia from Europe with no sailing experience. The vividness with which this book is written makes you feel you are on the journey with the author as she battles and overcomes each obstacle experienced, both on the boat and in her mind. It is not smooth sailing but incredibly relatable! During the long trip ‘home’ she must face many more challenges and near-death experiences; such as a neglectful captain, a cyclone in the middle of the ocean and almost starving. Through all this anguish, it leaves her no choice but to face the truth of what happened to her – she was raped. But unlike other books about recovering from sexual assault, the author delicately interweaves her experience in a way that focuses on the journey to becoming empowered instead of the trauma which leaves one feeling motivated not overwhelmed or triggered. This book is written with so much clarity, honesty and self-reflection. A gentle first step for anyone starting to come to grips with the damage that past traumas exact upon the self, who want to begin the process of understanding and healing, to begin to look at collecting oneself and feeling whole again. It’s also adventurous, exciting, uplifting and very difficult to put down. An important read to witness how someone else can turn their trauma and fear into power. Her story is honest, raw, and unfortunately very much needed that can help anyone open the door to resilience, adventure, introspection, empowerment, healing and excitement! I couldn’t put this book down.

  3. I am a male survivor of both rape and of sexual molestation by two female executives during job interviews in my 20’s. I am still healing and haven’t had a sexual encounter in 34-years. I have never married, and I feel uncomfortable being touched by anyone. I am 60-years old and from an upper-class White family. The women who assaulted me were two White woman; the rapist was a Latina who I thought respected me.

    In my effort to speak through the turmoil brought about by the #MeToo Movement, I shared my experiences with officer colleagues at the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) in 2019. For this, I was accused of sexual harassment and was banned from Party activities after 40-years of service and ten years as an officer of the Party. I do not hold all members or executives of the Party as responsible only a few people were involved in the edict to have me banned. I recently learned that there were executives in the Party who encouraged me to write a complaint form about about the abuse I received for telling my story. I don’t know if I will be believed or receive grace from those on the Conduct Code Committee. I was first molested at age 8-years, then harassed and invited to have sex with both a baby sitter and as also alluded to by a woman sixteen years older than me when I was 15-years old.

    Men are also raped and molested, and the perpetrators are often enough women. This is an important reality to understand and accept. Believing that only women are victims of rape is not a reflection of reality or a sound understanding of the problems in our community, whether brought about my men or women. To heal, we must understand both the beauty and the devilishness of of others in our global community; we must approach life with an open mind and a willingness to hear and know things which might be upsetting to hear. We must be strong.

    My name is Barry Neil Peterson. I am from Minneapolis, Minnesota and have been an unpaid and per diem paid community activist and leader. People generally know me as “Barry,” as I prefer one-on-one relationships and to treat others with respect and humanity. Orphans in Uganda and Kenya know me as “Uncle Barry,” and recently sung the Happy Birthday song to me last Sunday in March 2022. Other former orphans, who I have taken in as precious family members from Ghana and Uganda, call my Dad and Grandpa. Given the abuse I experienced, having a family seemed out of the question. Women who I have known told me that they would not consider me relationship material because I cannot feel comfortable with physical affection.

    My reason for coming to this page today was to research manuals to assist others through their recuperation. I have known friends and acquaintances from all around the planet, and one of my acquaintances was the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. The friend of a dear friend of mine was 2001 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kofi Annan of Ghana and Switzerland. Kofi was the UN Secretary General from 1997-2006; he was a graduate of my alma mater, Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where a building and program is named after him. He attended MIT and worked as a World Health Organization (WHO) member for many years in the UN before being elected by the United Nations General Assembly to serve at the helm of that body of citizens from all nations. An acquaintance of mine, Arvonne Fraser (deceased) was UN Ambassador for Women’s Rights (1993-1994).

    I care to serve, heal and enjoy life. I adapt; I encourage; I serve.

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