I Thrive


“I remember that I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to be there. Inside, something was screaming that something had to happen that would take me away from there. But I had no arguments to counter his logic. I had no one to run to, nowhere to go. So I subjected myself to his sexual abuse. Again…”

If you have been a victim of child sexual abuse, quite often you feel like you are alone. This book tells you how to break the silence and it offers you hope. The hope that you can heal from child sexual abuse. That you are not a victim for life, but are able to regain mastery of your own life. It’s not an easy road to follow, but remember: you’ve already survived the worst. The memories that haunt you today belong in the past. This book helps you put them there.

I wrote ‘I thrive!’ with other survivors in mind. I wanted to provide a helpful resource for them to understand themselves and their experiences better. I was very surprised when I got an e-mail from an educator of social workers that she wanted to use the book at college level. Since then I’ve also come to understand that it’s used by therapists in understanding child sexual abuse better. In the Netherlands it’s now used at two prestigious colleges (Rotterdam and Amsterdam) to help educate the social workers of tomorrow.

In part 1 of the book I tell of my experiences. As a child I was abused from age 12 through 19, by a friend of the family. In the short term, his grooming emotionally seperated me from my family. The long term effects were even more devastating. I write about what I’ve come to understand about the mechanics of survival. About what sexual abuse teaches you about yourself and how to unlearn this. About how to heal and why. About going through the hell of your childhood and coming out the other end, stronger than you were before.

In the second part I take a look at a few of the more common types of therapy that are used to help heal from child sexual abuse. I give my take on the pro’s and con’s of each of these types of therapy, but I also give you some guidelines on how to choose the type of therapy thats right for you.

In part three the focus is on the social environment of the survivor. What are the effects of child sexual abuse on the people around you? How do partners and friends, parents and other family cope with their own sense of grief, guilt and shame. But also, how do they deal with the often erratic behavior that can be the result of a childhood filled with sexual abuse and trauma.

What other people have said about this book:

‘This is an important book. It speaks clearly, engagingly, and understandably about the ordinarily unspeakable. The author is highly perceptive, intelligent, kind, and open. She has provided with this book a significant tool to help a very large portion of the English- and Dutch-speaking world, both men and women, girls and boys.’
Vincent J. Felitti, MD, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program

‘This book is well written, a beautiful combination of practical knowledge, scientific information and personal experiences’
Lou Repetur, senior project manager/advisor on the comittee for domestic and sexual violence at ‘Movisie’ the Netherlands center for social development.

‘In just the first chapter, this book gives more insight into the process of grooming than I’ve seen in any other book. The rest of the book is equally as informative. My students tell me it reads like a novel, but at the same time it gives the reader a very real grasp of the devastating effects of child sexual abuse.’
Marianne Quax, professor of social studies, including the minor: domestic violence and child sexual abuse, at Rotterdam college.


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