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Recommended Books

The following book resources are listed alphabetically by author.  The summaries are offered as personal opinions.

Barshinger, C. E., LaRowe, L. E., & Tapia, A. T. (1995). Haunted marriage: Overcoming the ghosts of your spouse’s childhood abuse. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Barshinger, a therapist, equips husbands to appropriately respond to their wives, explores how people might overcome the sins of their fathers, and identifies with the plight of the husband in its tone and examples.  The content combined insights from clinical practice and research of 17 documented resources.

From their psychological perspective, Barshinger et al. (1995) gave guidance to the husband for the need of individuation while at the same time guarding against individualism.  From their spiritual perspective, the authors warned of the inadvertent ease by which healing can be idolized in a therapeutic age.  Barshinger et al. stated, “Being happy is not the goal of therapy or of life.  Being healed and restored in our relationships with God, others and ourselves is. . . . We are healed to live.  We do not live to be healed” (p. 44).

I highly recommend Haunted Marriage.

Cameron, G. (1994). What about me?: A guide for men helping female partners with childhood sexual abuse. Carp, ON: Creative Bound Inc.

Cameron, the husband of a childhood sexual abuse survivor, offers insights into the behavior of a survivor that are consistent with symptoms identified in scholarly works. However, his work offered no documentation of scholarly research and recorded only the dynamics within his own marriage.  In contrast to the work of Barshinger et al. (1995) which challenged husbands to commit to the healing process, Cameron’s work contained a chapter guiding husbands through the decision of whether or not to remain married.

Davis, L. (1991). Allies in healing: When the person you love was sexually abused as a child. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.

This book appears on almost any list of sources addressing sexual abuse. Written in a question-answer format, the book is an easy reference guide. Many answers emphasized what husbands should do for their wives.  I found the book to be very informative but I did not feel that it was always supportive.  Davis did not always identify with the husbands’ needs as they work through their secondary trauma.

DeMuth, M. (2013). Not marked:  Finding hope & healing after sexual abuse.  Rockwall, TX:  Uncaged Publishing.

DeMuth writes of her own abuse and journey towards healing.  Included in the book is a chapter of the affects of her childhood sexual abuse on their marriage.  She addresses fears and the sexual struggle.

Life principles that DeMuth offers include:  stop comparing the worst in you with the best in others, and how God made you is how He heals you.  Her husband, Patrick, writes a response at the end of each chapter.

Gil, E. (1992). Outgrowing the pain together: A book for spouses and partners of adults abused as children. New York: Dell Publishing.

Gil offers prescriptive instruction and emphasizes that the husband assume an assertive role in the relationship. The author addresses problem areas such as anger, touching, power and control, and sexuality. The prescriptive approach included various techniques to be employed while communicating: making lists, creating signals to indicate stress, and so forth. Gil’s work assumed more ease in communication than some other authors on this same topic.

Hansen, P. A. (1991). Survivors and partners: Healing the relationships of sexual abuse survivors. Longmont, CO: Heron Hill Publishing.

Hansen, like Barshinger, addresses the husbands by informing husbands of the impact of CSA but also gives attention to the trauma faced by the husband and the need for self-care.  Hansen wrote from the perspective of a therapist, husband of a survivor, and a survivor himself.  His self-disclosure, reaching into the heart and mind of husbands, spoke of the difficulty he had in understanding why his wife’s awareness and understanding of the abuse was not enough to restore their stability and move on with their lives.

Rather than simply telling a husband what to do, Hansen explained what was going on inside of his wife and what was going on inside of him. The process of healing, which brought awareness to Hansen of his own CSA, confirmed the notion that “Psychologically, men and women with certain types of dysfunctions that complement each other consistently find one another and fall in love” (Barshinger et al., 1995, pp. 49-50; Oz, 2001). Bass and Davis (1992) echoed the theme from Hansen and Barshinger stating, “People unconsciously pick a mate where your meeting point is where you both need to grow” (p. 387).

Heitritter, L., & Vought, J. (2006). Helping victims of sexual abuse: A sensitive biblical guide for counselors, victims, and families. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House.

The book is true to its title and focuses on the abuse survivor without addressing the needs of the husbands of survivors. The content offers understanding of the initial and long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, presents the ultimate betrayal of incest, and offers advice for guiding the survivor through their sense of powerlessness and overcoming guilt and shame. The chapter on discovering self-identity addresses the identity of the survivor but fails to encourage self-awareness in the husband.