Child abuse is a difficult topic to approach for many of us, but the reality is that it is far too widespread. For too many children, it also goes undetected, underestimated or ignored. Their abuser may be a relative, a neighbor, an authority figure, a friend. Whether physical, sexual or emotional, abuse in childhood has been linked to mental illness, maladaptive social relationships, addiction, and, sadly, further cycles of abuse. For this reason alone, a discussion is imperative and courageous.
For those of us fortunate enough to have not experienced such trauma, it can be hard to imagine, much less understand, the lifelong challenges many victims of childhood abuse face. One way to begin building a bridge is to hear their stories. Some of these stories offer surprising and powerful messages of profound hope and inspiration. Just as a cancer survivor or recovered addict can find hard-won happiness in a new life, so too can the survivors of childhood abuse. Yet, even those who continue to struggle have much to offer us in perspective.
Here we have an assortment of literature, ranging from deeply personal memoirs to nail-biting thrillers to coming-of-age stories to historical novels. Whether fiction or nonfiction, these books offer a glimpse into the damaged and delicate past, the struggle to overcome it, and the many paths toward transformation and renewal.