Title: Shattered Reality
Author: Kimberly Cheryl
Published: August 18, 2008
# of Pages: 210
My Rating: 4/5
In the spring of 2007, Kimberly Cheryl received the phone call that would change her life forever – her brother-in-law called to inform her that a family member had witnessed the sexual assault of Cheryl’s daughter… by another family member – an older, well-respected uncle of the child’s.
Shattered Reality is Cheryl’s story of how their entire family came together to cope with the shocking knowledge that her precious daughter had been dealing with sexual abuse for over five years without ever telling a soul. The book is her first-hand account of how she as a mother handled the knowledge that someone she loved so much and looked up to harmed her daughter in one of the worst possible ways. The book is Cheryl’s gift to families struggling with these same issues in their own lives – she wrote it to let others know that they are not alone, and that there are resources out there and ways to cope with abuse and come out victorious as a family.
As I was reading Shattered Reality, I found myself completely shocked at what Cheryl’s daughter went through – there aren’t really any details given, but it is evident that she put up with abuse by one of her favorite family members for many, many years, and was completely terrified to do anything about it or tell anyone. I just kept thinking how lonely she must have felt during that time. Unfortunately (in my opinion), the book doesn’t focus as much on the daughter as it does on Ms. Cheryl and how the abuse affected her.
It definitely affected her in a huge way – she felt helpless, she felt like an awful mother, she literally could feel her daughter’s pain along with her, etc. Also, she was ostracized by most of her family once word got out that she and her daughter planned to prosecute the uncle/abuser. But personally I would have liked a little more discussion of how her daughter healed, what that process was like for her, what kinds of emotions she was going through, etc. Instead, it was focused almost entirely on Ms. Cheryl’s healing process. Which is totally fine – the book is meant as a resource for other parents dealing with the same situation – it’s just not exactly what I would be most interested in; I’d rather read about Ms. Cheryl’s daughter than Cheryl herself.
The biggest strength of Shattered Reality, in my opinion, is the last 50 or so pages. In this section, Cheryl provides an extensive list of resources for kids and teenagers who have been abused and for their parents. A few examples include statistics on sexual abuse, the importance of education/prevention for both kids and parents, signs that indicate your child may be dealing with abuse, information about PTSD, and several hotlines/help centers in the country that help families pick up the pieces. There’s TONS more in addition to those few. It’s written in a light, conversational style – easy to get through and the information is not difficult to understand and put into action if necessary. I think the book is worth having around the house for this resource section alone.
I’d definitely recommend the book for people who’ve experienced similar situations, and as a resource for families with young children and/or teenagers. It wasn’t my favorite book ever, but Shattered Reality is ultimately an uplifting story with the added bonus of being a great resource in the subject of sexual abuse.