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Time to heal.

By Darlene Meeds

Saskatoon SAFE Communities Inc.

$12 (sc)

Sexual abuse is not racial or culturally specific. It's a crime that has been committed by people in all cultures throughout every generation. It has lasting effects on both the victims of the abuse and their families and causes physical and emotional wounds that can scar for life.

Entering the sexual abuse territory is like walking through a war zone or a minefield. There are no winners, only survivors. Sexual abuse is a real life crime that won't go away unless it is faced, dealt with, and stopped dead in it's tracks, because running away won't solve the problem and healing takes a long, long time.

"Sexual abuse must be stopped, and that's something that will only happen if we all work together to help the victims, the abusers and the families to rid our cultures of sexual abuse," said author Darlene Meeds.

In her latest book, A Time To Heal, Meeds is to be commended for having the courage to tackle this subject head on, with no holds barred.

She tells the story of Brenda, a 12-year-old girl from a First Nations family who has to find the courage to stop the cycle of sexual abuse within her own family, and how the family weathers the difficult storm that follows.

Brenda, a young Cree girl, illustrated in the book by Native artist Gary Natomagan, has a dark, painful secret in her life. It's a life that's been filled with guilt, shame and horrible nightmares since she was seven years old.

Small for her age, she had not been able to protect herself and her younger sisters from the sexual advances of their Uncle John, an alcoholic who had been physically and sexually abused at residential school.

When Brenda finally does find the courage to tell her family about her uncle's activities, no one will believe her except her grandmother.

It is only within the warm sanctuary of her grandmother's cabin that she finally finds someone who believes her, and let's her know that the abuse is not her fault.

It is also her grandmother who helps her to find the right path, talk to the authorities and join in a healing circle with a wise Elder and member from three generations of her family.

A Time to Heal is the story of Brenda's journey to reclaim herself, her own happiness and sense of self worth by finding the courage to say "no." It's also about how Brenda comes to understand that she has a right to be angry and has an important responsibility to release that anger in a positive manner.

Cultural, emotional and legal issues are solidly addressed in this book.

Meeds, a mother of two who has worked as an environmental health officer and health educator for the last 14 years, has also included a helpful teachers guide and information package at the end of the book. This makes A Time To Heal an even more valuable addition to the arsenal in the ongoing battle to help protect children and stop sexual abuse.
COPYRIGHT 1998 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Wind Speaker
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1998
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