Jay Exum, J.D.
Former Assistant United States Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
No person of even modest good will would argue with the idea that the sexual abuse of children is among the worst horrors that exists in our culture, and that any meaningful concept of justice must deal with such conduct with the gravity it deserves. A great deal of good writing has gone into making those kinds of arguments and to raising consciousness about how much more prevalent these crimes are than anyone likes to acknowledge.
Denial picks up where so much of that writing leaves off. It is the story of how sexual abuse plays out over the course of a life. For a victim of childhood sexual abuse, the criminal act is only the first episode in long story in which trauma is often compounded with shame and silence, the harms of which can manifest themselves in myriad ways as the survivor tries to learn to cope on his or her own with something that no one is really prepared to face alone. Denial tells the story of how this happened in one life and does so honestly, without either soft-selling things that are dark and difficult or exploiting extremely emotional content for cheap sympathy.
Chances are that there is someone in your life who is a victim of sexual abuse who has never told you so (and may never have told anyone). My hope is that Denial helps crack the door of silence so that more victims get the support they need before the harm that was done to them compounds.
As someone who has dedicated his life to leading victims of sexual abuse and addiction to restoration and wholeness in Jesus Christ, I found Denial to be a powerful and transformational work, both for exemplifying the profound effects of sexual abuse on body, mind and spirit, and for providing a unique, 360 perspective. This story radically challenged my own thinking about therapeutic intervention and convicted me that we are not doing nearly enough to support sexual abuse victims in their recovery.
All of our judges agreed that not only is Denial a compelling read, it's also an important contribution to society. Our eyes have been opened, our anger stirred and our hearts softened.
Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church
This book gives life and perspective to the discussion of abuse.
Reading about the deep lifelong consequences victims encounter helps shape the way I work with and counsel those living through their own shame and denial.
Sexual Abuse Survivor
I have to admit, I was a bit wary in approaching Denial. I knew, as did my wife, that doing so would make me relive the horrific experiences I lived through as a young boy. Sexual abuse at any age robs you of your dignity, your trust, your innocence. Being molested at a young age--when you're trying to figure out who you are, what you can be, and whom to emulate to get there--is bad enough, but when the pedophile turns out to be a family friend or a respected member of the community, it's devastating. I'm talking lifelong devastation.
Denial reaches many of the emotional, mental and spiritual stages a victim goes through as a result of sexual abuse. The shame reaches into your spirit and darkens your soul. Denial defines how secretive victims become in trying to cope with the pain, and how their secrets affect their relationships through every stage of life. Nanette captures this pain and the many ways in which family, friends and colleagues are impacted.
Professional counseling is essential to putting the pieces of these broken lives back together.
If you know someone who was sexually abused, or is a friend or family member of someone who went through such pain, read this book.
Denial will give you a much better understanding of the life sentence we all receive as a result of such a horrific violation of innocence.