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8/24/11

Will The Courageous - A Story About Sexual Abuse

Will is a typical six-year-old boy: he loves to tell "knock-knock" jokes, collect bugs, and play with other kids. On most school days, Will goes to Nana Winnie's until his mom returns from work. Will enjoys having his Nana as a babysitter. Recently, Nana's cousin Perry has come to visit and suddenly Will no longer wants to go there. He starts having nightmares, acting out in school and wetting his bed. Wills' parents are worried. What is wrong with Will? 

I choose this book because I've been through sexual abuse and it leaves a terrible mark on your soul. For me, it is having to deal with it alone and not being able to get the help I needed as a child and now as an adult. So if I can share about how to help anyone before this happens to them, or to help them heal, then this is healing for me too. 

Will The Courageous: A story about sexual abuse is a perfect starting point for a child to learn about behaviours that are not appropriate and for parents to discuss steps to take if their child is ever lured into such circumstances or how to notice signs of change in your child that would suggest they are being sexually abused.

How do I deal with it? I am not sure, but it's not something that debilitate me. I know it affects me, but the situations are far between when I remember and think of this scar. I have shed many tears about this, realizing that adults and children alike can do such terrible things to one another. Maybe one day I'll get into it and access that part of me that my mind has closed off to protect me.

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone and from anyone. It is usually the person you trust the most or someone around the people you trust and whom would never come under immediate suspicions. 

Will the Courageous tells of a little boy who is six years old, just like my son in first grade, who was sexually abused by a cousin of his babysitter. He would go to the babysitter after school until his mother would pick him up after work. 

The book tells that he loved being with Nana the babysitter and has being with her since he was a baby. He was one of the oldest kids there and was Nana's helper with the younger ones when necessary. 
Will was your typical boy, who enjoyed life as a child. 

Then it all changed when Nana's cousin came to stay with her for awhile. He started playing with the kids and soon Nana would leave the kids with him to run to the store or do an errand. 
The cousin whose name is Perry was fun at first and Will was glad to have an older person to be able to share silly jokes. But soon Perry began to seduce the kids with inappropriate tickle games. 
Will played along with the first game, but felt like something was wrong in the way it was done. 
After that he didn't want to play or be around Perry anymore but Perry would always make himself present wherever Will would be. Perry would meet will at the bus stop when he was dropped off at Nana's. This troubled Will to the point of being sick. 

One evening as Will got off the bus to go to Nana's, Perry was there waiting for him and told him that Nana was out running errands and had taken the other children with her. Will was troubled but wanted to used the bathroom really bad. He was hurrying to the bathroom when Perry accosted him and offered to help him with his zipper. Will declined but Perry insisted and then began to fondle Will's private parts. 
Will begged Perry to stop and he promised to stop if Will would touch him instead. He told Will it was a game and it would make him feel good. 
In fear Will did as he was told. 
Perry then told will never to say anything about their game because it was their special secret. 

Will began to spiral downward. He became physically ill, began to wet his bed, had nightmares and lashed out at school and home.  Everyone was concerned about Will but he was too afraid to tell.

One day after school, at the thought of returning to Nana's, Will broke down crying and could not be consoled. The school nurse called his parents. 
They were quite worried for Will and took him to the doctor to see if they could diagnose what was wrong.
The doctors helped will to break the silence about what Perry had done to him by having will share with a stuffed animal while the doctor listened. 

"Heather spoke to Will's parents and told them that Perry had sexually abused Will. She explained that Will might 'act out" at times because of the abuse and suggested that Will keep coming to the Advocacy Center for some special help. Why don't you take Will home now and keep reassuring him that Perry can't hurt him anymore. 

While reading this book. It made me cry because this is how it is in life and it doesn't have to be a stranger. It can be uncle John, or grandpa Gary or even the child's own parent or sibling! 
How do you protect your children? 
For me, I began discussing little details with my son before he began Kindergarten. I would remind him that his body was private and who was supposed to be touching and who wasn't and what to do if so and so happen. I also explained to him that people will try to get him not to talk by making him afraid with threats and telling lies but he should always trust his mommy and daddy to help him. 

Now that he is in first grade, I reinforce this by asking questions and reminding him that if someone ask to see his penis, he should tell them, no and that your private parts are yours to keep private. And if someone wants to show him theirs, it's the same answer and then he should let a teacher know what happened. 

Are we looking for the signs?
In the book. It's great that people noticed the signs in Will and how he had changed from the easy going little boy he was in just a few days or weeks.  These days with everyone running on exhaust, it's easy to miss the important changes happening to our family. We have to make the effort to connect and give individual time to our family, especially our children.

Have you spoken to your children or do you blush at the thought of mentioning the words vagina, penis and sex and sexual abuse? 

Let's prepare our children. Give them the power to defend themselves when we or another safe adult isn't around to protect them. 

This book is easy to read and understand without sharing too many explicit details so it's perfect for a child. 

The illustrations are expressive and interesting and the book is written very well. 

I would definitely recommend this book!

About the Author: 
Amy Barth is a thriver. Her background is in social work and she founded the nonprofit Safe Girls Strong Girls in 2005. 

SGSG is committed to breaking  the silence of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) and giving girls their voices back. One project of the SGSG is Camp CADI, a one-of-a-kind camp where girls can heal and just be girls again. 

Amy is the author of several books including 101 Tips For Survivors of Sexual Abuse: A Pocket Book of Wisdom. Amy lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and has three college-age daughters. 
Visit her at www.AmyJBarth.com 

About the Illustrator: 
Richa Kinra is the internationally published illustrator of several children's books, adult fiction books an spiritual poems. Her books include titles as Fuzz-ball goes to the Mall, Emilie is...Princess for a day, Debra Meets Her Best Friend In Kindergarten, Annabelle's Secret, Reena's Bollywood Dream, and others. 

She lives in India with her family, and says she received a lot of encouragement from her parents and friends who saw her artistic talent. 

Her hand painted works are primarily in watercolors, acrylic and oils, sometimes incorporating colored pencil, dry colors, pen & ink and /or collage. 



This was not a paid post and these opinions are solely my own and may vary from others. I received the above book for this review as part of a blog tour campaign with Parent Reviewers. See my disclosure.


About the author: Owner of JamericanSpice. Sharing my journey in the present, from the past or thoughts for my future. Mom of two who loves to travel and read and decipher people.
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1 comment :

  1. I think this is has touched far more people than it should have. It is a heart wrenching subject and any and everything that can be done should be done!

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