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Synopsis

Without Consent was conceived to meet the needs of the 32 million American women who have been sexually abused as children, this powerfully compassionate work avoids the typical cliche solutions of so many "self-help" books. Written in a clear, concise manner, this book is of immeasurable benefit to victims and their families as well as mental health professionals.

The authors contend that it is the immobilizing effects of fear and shame which prevent most victims from ever telling anyone about their experiences. Although many of these women outwardly appear to suffer no ill effects from their childhood experiences, closer study has shown that the majority of them still bear serious emotional scars.

The authors promote a balanced approach to confronting and resolving issues resulting from childhood sexual abuse. They define the problems resulting from abuse, outline individual exercises for recovering, describe support systems to be utilized, and delineate when the involvement of a competent professional therapist is needed. Without Consent offers victims a proven workable framework for overcoming childhood sexual abuse one-day-at-a-time.

The authors effectively explain the manner in which a person's thinking is influenced by abuse and the resulting "core beliefs" that sexual abuse victims share. They describe the everyday emotional effects that adults struggle with as a result of childhood abuse. They show specific ways in which former victims keep themselves powerless or "out of control." Finally, they reveal the many ways in which intimate relationships are effected by abuses of the past.

With sensitivity and wisdom, obviously born of their own personal and professional experiences, they assist victims in realizing that they are not alone, shameful, defective, or crazy. They offer effective techniques or "tools" to alter core beliefs, change self-defeating emotional patterns, develop habits for healthy power and control, and strategies for cultivating trust, intimacy, and healthy sexual relationships.

The theme which dominates the pages of Without Consent is that for the victims of childhood sexual abuse, not only is there hope, but "'life can be lived with joy and fulfillment."

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