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Breaking the Silence on Child Abuse

By Robert Stevens
July 2019 | Review by Gladys Nash
  • Publisher: DayOne Publications
  • ISBN: 978-1-8462-5606-6
  • Pages: 160
  • Price: £7.00
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Book Review

As a boarder in a cathedral school, Robert Stevens was abused by several of the masters. In this book he gives a very brief account, without explicit detail, of what happened. It was then some decades before he began to address the damage done to his development and personality.

He speaks of injury to the personality and failure to develop mature emotions; a sense of hopelessness, abandonment and shame; feeling different from others; withdrawal yet need for company; the strain on his marriage. Adult survivors are fragile and fearful and Stevens was no exception.

Do we consider that there is not much hope for someone who has been serially abused? Read the book and you will see that, through a right understanding of sound doctrine and gentle application of the Scriptures, this is not so.

Stevens, an art teacher who became a pastor, suffered bouts of chronic fatigue leading to negativity and vulnerability. A chapter from his wife Sue describes their difficulties and misunderstandings at this time, and the wonderful restoration of their relationship as they became completely honest with each other, working, learning, and praying together.

Final chapters give helpful advice to supporters and churches, and give pause for thought about the way we support needy people. Do we try to control, judge, give false hope and platitudes? Or is there compassion, sincerity, patience and a willingness to simply walk with the person through the encouragements and setbacks?

This wonderfully honest account is recommended to anyone seeking to help and support needy people, and would be instructive reading for church leaders. It gives a firm biblical base with no glib, easy answers offered. A workbook to accompany it is available.

Gladys Nash

Northampton

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