Monday, July 28, 2014

Touching His Robe: Reaching Past the Shame and Anger of Abuse

Touching His Robe by Leslie G. Nelson is a must-read for survivors of trauma, particularly the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. Let me first say that this sort of crime has occurred throughout history; it is not endemic to our own corrupt times as many think. I once read from an old manual for parents written by a priest in which the author enjoined mothers to have the greatest vigilance about whom they chose to care for their small children. The priest said that if they knew what he had heard in confessions they would never leave their children at all. The problem is that today, because of the easy availability of pornography on the internet, persons with such a weakness are probably more likely to transgress the laws of God and of nature than in the past, having built an almost incurable obsession. At any rate, we are speaking of a disease from which children must be protected. And, if having failed to protect them, we must be grateful for those like Mrs. Nelson who are able to articulate, through their love for Christ, both the their agony and their pilgrimage to wholeness.

In reading Touching His Robe what struck me the most is the recurring tendency in the victims to struggle with the overwhelming urge to commit suicide. More than anything else, this made me understand the damage done to their psyches as small children, when  not only their bodies but their souls were violated by a person whom they trusted. Part of the mystery of each person is the mystery of their sexuality, and when that mystery is violated, then there is no other mystery but that of death. This became clearer to me more than ever while reading the book.

While the subject is a bitter one, Mrs. Nelson infuses the book with hope which comes directly from her love for her Savior. Touching His Robe is full of the wisdom the author has gleaned from her own experience and from working with other victims. It comes from her life of prayer and her pondering of the Scriptures. There are many practical suggestions and resources offered for those suffering from the trauma perpetrated upon them when they were too young to process it. It shows the support which can come from the ecclesial community when a member of the Body of Christ is enduring torment. What is offered in Mrs. Nelson's book is the best of pastoral and psychological counseling, helpful in its brevity and frankness. Every parish library should have a copy of it. There are no words of praise lavish enough to express the admiration I feel for persons such as Mrs. Nelson who have the courage to speak out about their journey towards healing

(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.) Share

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