My most profound appreciation goes to the three young women whose life stories form the heart of this work. Their pseudonyms are Ada, Chloe, and Letitia. I met them while conducting a larger, combined quantitative- qualitative research study on the impacts of childhood/adolescent sexual abuse on women's self-concept and identity formation. The Women's Survivors' Project was funded by a faculty research grant from Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York. In addition, I would like to thank the women who participated in support groups for sex abuse survivors that I facilitated at the Women's Resource Center in State College, Pennsylvania. While I cannot acknowledge them in the usual way, by listing their names, I can conjure their truths and the lessons they have to teach in the stories that follow. In getting to know them and their struggles, I first became aware of how much victim/survivors have to teach us about courage and resistance to oppression. Their strengths and insights gave me both focus and determination in developing the research study from which these narratives were derived.
Joseph DeVitis and Linda Irwin, colleagues in the School of Education and Human Development at Binghamton University, encouraged me to develop a book proposal based on narratives from the Women's Survivors' Project that focused on issues in adolescent development. In so doing, they provided an opportunity that would not otherwise have existed. Due to their consistent support and encouragement, the basic outline for this book took shape. Their assistance in reviewing the manuscript ranged from identifying basic editing errors to providing substantive theoretical critiques. From the first proposal draft to the final manuscript revision, they guided me through the uncharted territory of academic publishing. This book would not have existed without their support.
Kathleen Barry and Michael Johnson of Penn State University contributed greatly to my understanding of the social dynamics within which sexual abuse occurs largely unchallenged by the powers-that-be. In the words of Audre Lorde, bell hooks, and Maria Lugones, I also came to understand how much my perceptions of sexist violence were limited to my largely unconscious understanding of whiteness. Too often over the years,