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Breaking the Chains of Abuse: A Practical Guide

Lion Hudson plc
RRP $21.95

Breaking the Chains of Abuse is more than a self-help book about abuse. It is a dichotomy of listed practical solutions, as well as a collection of moving insights for any reader; either victim, carer, or even the curious.

It illustrates the chronic struggles for the victim, (and those who journey with them), in the aftermath of sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Beset with dot points and several titled paragraphs in almost every page, the book has the author’s life story woven throughout it.

It is not a book promising successful outcomes. The tone is too sober and realistic for that. Instead, the writer bravely shows how she has faced the ongoing challenges of recurring fear, depression and self-hurt which are symptomatic consequences of abuse. Notably, she shows there is no correlation between the so-called “mildness” of any abuse, and its resulting devastation upon the victim. The length of time of abuse, or its criminal seriousness, are no true measures of impact. The author herself is the victim of sexual, physical and emotional abuse during her childhood.

Yet Breaking the Chains of Abuse is not depressing or morbid. It is an easily digestible variety of text, quotes, hints, and examples of survival strategies and activities, providing the reader with an unhindered panorama of a victim’s plight. Her own Christian faith barely rates a mention, but she stresses the need for living with a Higher Power.

She begins with the theme of “chain breaking” — the steps which can be taken to restore order and control in the victim’s life — affording informed choices to be made. This is how the book also ends. Her introduction could easily be her final sentences. “Most of all I hope this book will lead to that empowerment — to your chains being broken. Writing, drawing, painting, hugging, and talking to my creatures, (her stuffed toys), did that for me.”

Reviewed by Bruce Raymond, an Intern Minister at Bulimba Uniting Church