Falling Sparrow: Overcoming the Ghosts of Sexual Abuse
"It’s not so much that I live in the past, as that the past lives in me": Those are the painfully honest words of a young Sparrow who feared she would never fly again. Her past refused to die. As author Greta Sheppard listened to her story and saw her posture of despair, she thought of the words of Jesus: "You are of more value than many sparrows." The feathers in her young, fragile wings were yanked away early in life by her father.
There are remarkable similarities between sparrows and humans. Although the sparrow fears humans, its worst predator is one of its own, the sparrowhawk. He waits until dusk and darkness to take advantage of the smaller sparrow’s isolation in the nest. The sparrowhawk attacks the innocent bird by removing its feathers, one by one, leaving the little bird stripped and distressed--even dead.
Human children, like sparrows, share the danger of predators too. In like manner, the child's main predator is one of its own kind: another human who will sexually abuse the young victim, often under the cover of darkness. He leaves it emotionally dead, bereft of virgin innocence; its pure, child-like trust blatantly betrayed.
They, as so many of us do, suffered many losses, just like the sparrow who loses its feathers to the attacking sparrowhawk. Sexual abuse victims lose essential feathers from their wings:
The feather of Truth
The feather of Trust
The feather of Innocence
The feather of Dignity
The feather of Value
The feather of Acceptance
The feather of Destiny
We were born to fly, but sexual abuse breaks our wings.
Falling Sparrow is a book of hope and encouragement for such victims--let go of the secret and let the healing begin:
Broken wings can be mended.
Damaged wings can be restored.
Some feathers do return.
There is life after abuse.
The Sparrow will fly again... higher than it's ever flown before.
- Greta Sheppard, July 2011
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