Giving Voice to Sexual Abuse Survivors

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(10), 706–707. The reviewer notes that this volume (see record 1998-07035-000) makes a compelling argument for the inclusion of the assessment of sexual abuse in women diagnosed with serious mental illness at mental health settings. Presenting rich case studies, counseling “roadmaps,” paradigms for understanding abuse, historical analyses, reviews of the literature, and empirical research, the authors of these 17 chapters offer a satisfying range of information on the assessment and treatment of women with histories of trauma. Their collective goal–to recognize the impact of abuse and its role in diagnosis, treatment, and public policy–is strongly validated by the current research. Chapters are divided into five parts: theory and assessment, treatment, first-person accounts, policy and research, and special issues. The book also offers thoughtful explorations of the tensions inherent in treating abuse survivors. The book convincingly demonstrates how the mental health system fails women by neglecting to hear their stories of abuse. It also exposes the larger cultural contexts of victim blaming and the denial of the painful issues of incest, rape, and physical violence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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