Jessica Stern

Readers Respond to “Denial”

(The letters are posted with permission from the letter writers.)

Aug 3, 2010

Thank you for writing your book. I am on every page (continual sexual assault by teenage brothers) and each page describes me. I wondered why I was such an insightful therapist, knowing and feeling things, giving credit to God for giving me insight.

I wondered why I would go numb in some areas of my life, knowing things, or not knowing things, getting lost, etc. And you answered the question others have asked me “Why didn’t you stop it?” I had no answer. You answered the question “Why can’t I scream or yell if I’m in trouble?” Now I know. I have so many other facets of my life that go unanswered, and you have helped me so much on this path of knowing that I was abused, even though my mom said it was my fault that I was a girl, and even though others took advantage of me over the years.

I skip moments and go into hiding mentally, at times, but each day brings new answers and new hope. I think I am even beginning to understand my anger at things that aren’t fair, my anger at the polarization in politics … all of those things are beginning to make sense. Because violence scares me and nobody protected me as a child/teenager.

Terrorism … it was in my home. I was afraid to go to my home, after school, because I knew what was going to happen to me. I was so frightened when my brother returned home after a date because I knew what was going to happen. Pages and pages of fearful things and I wonder why I had no words to describe what you described in your book.

You gave me a key to go further.

** 4 of 7

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