Another short e-book for your consideration. In Let’s Play House, Hannah introduces us to 6 survivors and/or childhood offenders in their own words.
In one sense, this book could be a bit difficult to read. There are stories told by people who offended as children, taking advantage of younger children. I recognize that not every survivor may be able to read that without becoming a tad overwhelmed. As always with any of our reviews, please be aware of your own limitations, and be careful out there!
On the other hand, the stories told in this book, taken as a whole, do teach us certain things about child abuse.
Within these 6 stories you see a wide variety of victims, and circumstances. There are poor minorities exposed to pornography at a very early age, there are children from wealthy families victimized by an adult, there are male and female victims, male and female offenders, those who have been successful adults, and those who have never truly reached healing. As I finished reading the different stories I couldn’t help but notice this fact, and be reminded that it doesn’t really matter who you are, there are other people just like you who are survivors. Of course, that also reminds us just how prevalent child sexual abuse is. It’s affecting all different ethnic and religious groups, at any economic level, whether there are two parents in the home, or a broken home. No one is truly safe.
One other thing that occurred to me as I read this, and excuse me if this veers a bit from a typical review, is that all the victims and offenders talked specifically about being introduced to sexuality before they were ready. Whether it was the availability of porn at mom’s boyfriends house, a peep hole discovered by young boys, or simply hearing parents having sex or having an adult purposely introduce sexual images and acts on a young child, each story talked specifically about not being ready to handle sexuality. Obviously, in 2011, I’m not sure that it’s really possible to completely prevent any child from seeing sexual images, or reading about sex, before they are ready. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most, if not all, children have seen and learned plenty by the time they are 9-10 years old, which seems to be the common age for this collection of stories. Yet, in many cases that doesn’t turn into the sort of sexual abuse that occurred in these stories. As I read back through them a second time, though, another interesting connection occurred to me. Not only were the children in these stories exposed to sexuality very early, but they were also left to deal with it on their own, with no adult to provide proper context. Granted in some cases because the adult who was supposed to provide context and explanation was the offender, but in others there simply was no room to go to a parent or other adult with what was happening.
I don’t know that I have all the answers to eliminating the sexual abuse of children, but this book did remind me of the importance of having adults involved in the life of a child. I don’t think in this day and age we can prevent any exposure to sexual images and sounds, but we can be sure that kids have a safe place to bring their questions, and their concerns. Maybe that’s really the best we can do.
What do you think?
Obviously, for a short e-book, Let’s Play House does provide quite a few perspectives, without ever wondering away from the simple stories. The stories are enough by themselves to stir many thoughts, and presenting them without comment allows us as readers to consider our own thoughts and experiences. I imagine it would make for a good group discussion too, so if you’ve read it leave a comment with what your thoughts were.