In "Saved From Silence," Amanda breaks her silence and tells us her story about her abusive childhood. She and her brother were physically abused by her father, and she was also sexually abused. Amanda’s abuse began at an early age. Her father manipulated her into believing that she had very little self-worth. When she went to her mother about the sexual abuse, she was devastated when her mother didn’t believe her. This made her believe that no one else would believe her as well.
Amanda’s story is painful to read. It is sad to see an innocent soul being forced to endure what she went through. She really gained my admiration with the steps that she took to help herself. Both Amanda and her brother went through a great deal of trauma. It angered me to see that her mother was ineffective in dealing with their abuse. I am so grateful to her for sharing her story. She will help so many people on their paths to healing. For children of sexual abuse, it is hard to gain a strong self-esteem when you are dealing with a parent that puts their own sexual needs before the welfare of their child. If our parents don’t show us love and respect, it is hard to expect it from others. I am really glad that Amanda found a strong support system with her husband, his family and an aunt.
Amanda worked hard to get away from her family. She married a wonderful man, who I believe helped her to believe in her self. When she began experiencing depression, her doctor convinced her to seek therapy. Fortunately, she found a very good therapist who understood her issues. Like many survivors of abuse, Amanda tried to maintain a relationship with her mother, in spite of her unwillingness to accept what happened. As Amanda goes through her therapy and begins healing, she learns about how her abuse has affected her as an adult. This includes gaining an understanding of Disassociative Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Amanda’s ability to persevere and talk about what happened with friends and relatives also helps her with her healing and to do what she needs to do for herself.
I think that survivors of abuse will find similarities in their experiences as compared to Amanda’s. Every story is different, but the feeling of shames, worthlessness and the fear that you will not be believed is common. Amanda also mentioned seeing something evil in her father’s eyes while he was abusing her. For myself, I refer to this as "the creature." I have spoken to other people have also reported seeing the same thing in their abuser’s eyes. I think that these similarities will help other people know that they are not alone.
In addition to her story, Amanda also offers sobering statistics about the prevalence of abuse and resources to help other find help. I really think that "Saved From Silence" by Amanda Richardson is a must-read for survivors of abuse, their loved ones and health professionals. I hold a tremendous amount of admiration for Amanda’s willingness to share her story so that others can be helped.
Saved From Silence: My Journey Back from a Childhood of Abuse
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (3/09)