Reading about rape is hard to do. It requires that you face the suffering caused by an unthinkable act: violence by a friend. Friends aren't supposed to hurt friends; they certainly aren't supposed to rape them. But they do. And when it happens, a woman's world is shattered. This book is about how violence by an acquaintance can shatter a woman's world and how, with the help of friends, families, faith communities, and pastoral caregivers, she can heal.
Recently a colleague asked me if this was a hard book to write. It was. It was hard on my sense of safety in the world, and it was hard on my relationships with men. Although this book is about rape, I did not write it so that I could learn about rape itself; I no more want to stand in the face of evil than anyone does. I wrote about rape because there is life after rape. Women who have been raped somehow find the courage to wake in the morning, put their feet on the ground, and make it through the day. In these stories of survival there is hope. That is why I wrote this book, and I believe that is why you are reading it. If you are a pastoral caregiver or other interested professional, this work will inform you of the unique needs of the acquaintance rape survivor, enable you to accompany her in the long task of rebuilding her world, and make a difference in how accessible and how safe you are to her. If you are a caring friend or family member of a survivor, learning about the effects of rape can help you understand her lonely experience and how you might help. If you are a survivor of acquaintance rape or another form of sexualized violence, I pray this book offers you the voice and hope you seek. Reading and speaking the words can make a difference.