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Things We Haven't Said: Sexual Violence Survivors Speak Out

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  40 reviews
“There are days when I am less stardust than sawdust, less survivor than victim, but that does not mean that the reclamation of my own body is any less eternal.” –Jane Cochrane

“How to describe the feeling of not being believed? It is the feeling of disappearing.” –Stephanie Oakes

“I used to want to hurt you, to break you, to give you the sort of nightmares I still have so m
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 13th 2018 by Zest Books (first published February 27th 2018)
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Erin Moulton
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Honestly? As the editor I am totally and completely biased. I've had the privilege of editing this anthology. I've had the privilege of being a small part of this work that I think is incredibly powerful and incredibly important. But I have a few thoughts as you dive in.

1) This is tough stuff. There's no getting around that. But these survivors are here, talking, and frankly, they're incredible people with a lot of insight. Sometimes, the content can be uncomfortable, but the insights I've gain
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars
"The reason I wanted to share my story is because I believe that people should not suffer alone and should not feel like they are the only ones. You have a tribe out there, and even though you feel like you are the only one fighting, we are out there with you with our invisible swords."
-Aster Lee.

This is a collection of creative non-fiction (poetry, essays, diary entries, ect.), centered around the theme of sexual violence. These are survivors telling their stories.
At the end of every
Cody Roecker
Mar 20, 2016 marked it as to-read
This book is something I feel is very, very important.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a difficult read. I was worried about being triggered by some of the stories (it's has been years but it can happen). Fortunately that didn't happen but what did happen was how hearing these stories made me angry. Angry that anyone has to go through this.

The stories included were very candid and sometimes made me uncomfortable. They were more candid than I have ever been when I discuss my own abuse and made me feel that I haven't been honest enough at times. Honest with myself yes bu
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
25 adult survivors of sexual violence speak out about their experiences in short stories, poems, and letters. These are difficult to get through but are vitally important. I particularly appreciated the interviews with the authors that closed out each entry.
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a worthwhile book about sexual violence from 25 people telling their own stories of what happened to them. Each brief account is followed by some questions and answers, and then a brief summary of the person and what she (most are female) has done since and is doing now.

These stories are accounts of terrible tragedies imposed on innocent people, but in every case the targets survived and are now doing well although it's likely that most, if not all, still have nightmares about being abu
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book I would have ordinarily picked up - I worried it might be too heavy, too distressing, etc. However, I know the editor and it got really good reviews, so I gave it a shot, and I'm glad I did.
The book is really well put together, and has an overall hopeful tone. Each contributor has 3 sections. The first is a piece of narrative nonfiction, which may be an account of the rape/abuse, a poem, a healing moment later in life, a letter to their younger self, an F you letter to their a
Elizabeth Seals
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is an omnibus of people who have experienced sexual abuse/violence. The entries are divided into three parts: their written story, a Q&A with the editor, and where they are at today. I personally enjoyed it. The stories were heartbreaking and also eye-opening. What I really liked that the stories were from all different time periods. However, I do wish there would be more of a balance between the female survivors and the male survivor stories. ...more
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
I cannot say much about this because it is emotional. It is important, hard to read, heroic, heartbreaking and a must read!
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Difficult to read at times, but SO necessary and important.
Sahar Abdulaziz
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every child survivor of sexual violence has had to find their own means of coping with the aftermath of overpowering terror, suffocating fear, and excruciating trauma. The repercussions of sexual abuse–sexual assault–never go away. While some of the emotions connected with the attack[s] may temper over time, perhaps becoming compartmentalized or buried, it is also equally as true that those feelings never entirely disappear. Things We Haven’t Said, Sexual Violence Survivors Speak Out is a formid ...more
Ben Truong
Things We Haven't Said: Sexual Violence Survivors Speak Out is an anthology of poems, essays, letters, vignettes, and interviews written by a diverse group of impressive adults who survived sexual violence as children and adolescents. It is a collection of twenty-five entries from twenty-five different contributors. This collection gives voice to the survivors of sexual violence and to bravely tell their stories.

This anthology is an amazingly powerful and emotional wrenching collection of work.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I gotta be honest, I don't recall reserving this book from the library or how I knew about it, but when it became available, I picked it up and began immediately.

This is possibly the most courageous book I have ever read. 25 survivors of childhood sexual abuse share stories from their youth in whatever format they we're inclined. It is intense and disturbing. But powerful and empowering to those who speak up and to those who do not. There are stories, poems, letters to themselves, their familie
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
"In the powerful stories that comprise 'Things We Haven't Said,' written by individuals who have experienced sexual abuse, exploitation, assault, and violence, the reader is confronted with the paradox of the written word. These survivors 'speak out' after, for many, years of silence." - Sharon Lamb

Sensitively and beautifully well written, edited and composed. This is such an important book that needed to be brought together.
I especially enjoyed the format; having the written piece from each su
Mariah McKenzie
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pearls of wisdom, encouragement and love. These poems, essays and interviews each eloquently speak from experience, reaching out to young people encouraging them to speak up and empower themselves against the overwhelming pain, confusion and shame caused by childhood sexual abuse. These writings bridge a lonely gap, showing others who might be experiencing the same, that they are not alone. These writings say, "We've been there. We understand. We are here to say: You are worthy. You can and will ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
An important addition to any collection that gives nonfiction stories about sexual violence survivors that are their creative (but still nonfiction) stories then includes a short interview after each short story with the survivor that further explains, comments, or shares about the experience, healing, etc.

Important for health curricula, people who want to understand more about trauma and how to help stop it, and signs especially when those victims are as young as some of the ones sharing their
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Collection of short stories by people who have survived sexual assault in many different types and situations. Each is followed by a sort interview and a summary of where they are today. A very difficult read because of the topic. But because of format can be "chunked". Also has some hope to it because each person is a survivor even if they are still grappling with issues today. Also because of format you don't get to know the person as well as you do in a longer story like Polo Tate's or Chessy ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a work of bravery, honesty, and hope. I couldn’t read it quickly because each story was so impactful and heart breaking. After each experience was shared, the survivor then answered questions about their current life, showing that there is hope among the scars.
Books like this are a must to help our society see the detriment of sexual harassment and abuse and the long term impacts. It contributes to the breaking down of the communication stigma that exists around the topic.
Jennifer Paquette
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
This is not an easy read, but I feel like I'll be better prepared to support survivors of sexual violence after reading it. I believe that it does an adequate job of representing different forms/faces of sexual violence in children and adolescents and the multitude of feelings that can be associated with these behaviours.
Gina Catalano
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
"These crimes that happened to them do not define who they were and who they have become. They have struggled and they have survived. They are warriors. They are inspirations. They are breaking past the wall of things that haven’t been said."

To read the full review, visit
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-challenge
Compiling stories of sexual assault together, especially those of children, is a revolutionary act. It defies the myth that these cases are rare, that those who experience it are unusual. Thanks to the authors for bravely telling their stories together.
Sarah Hutch
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
very impactful and important.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this was impressive! That's all I will say...
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hard read. Worth getting through, though.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really, really good.

I appreciated the combination of essay or poem and interview. Sometimes the interview or explanatory piece at the end really isn't helpful and breaks up the flow of a work unnecessarily, but this time around I liked hearing more from the authors, especially when they had written a shorter piece.

I think this collection would almost certainly be triggering for those who have experienced sexual violence themselves. I found it difficult to get through in some places, but it was
I flew through this collection. I wish I could give half stars, because I'd give this. 2.5. The stories themselves are heartbreaking and beautiful. However, I wish there had been a better range. Yes, sexual violence is a gendered issue. But there was a noticable lack of male survivors' voices. There was also a flowing theme of familial grooming. That's my story, but it's not everyone's.

I find myself wondering how these essays were collected and the timing of it. It's a good idea, and an importan
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-have-read
This one speaks for itself. The subject is vile but a reality for woman who you may work with every day, the young girl who seems shy and distant. This could be the reality of someone you love. IT happens and only the small minded ones believe otherwise. IT changes your life forever even after you marry, have children of your own and have grandchildren. IT happened and that part of your life will make you different from every other person who has never had to survive it. Become knowledgeable wi ...more
Amy Julian
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of essays written by 25 survivors of sexual assault. In each essay, one survivor tells his/her story. The essays are followed by interview questions asked of each survivor and also by an update of where the survivor is now.

I am currently researching sexual assault and this book was an important must-read. Things We Haven't Said is difficult and heartbreaking to get through. I'm thankful to the survivors for telling their stories and hope that it brought them healing.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pretty powerful stuff. Many of these pieces are gut wrenching accounts, of sexual abuse and rape. Without the followup questions and comments, they might be too much. But the editor adds some post insights with each experience. Some poems, some diaries, some letters, some essays. Should be a must read for school teachers and counselors at least.
Kelsey Andrews
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be so incredibly comforting and validating. Hearing a wide variety of stories (some of which were similar to my own) as well as reading interviews with the writers gave me a sense of hope.
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Erin E. Moulton is the author of middle grade and young adult novels: "Flutter," "Tracing Stars," "Chasing the Milky Way" and "Keepers of the Labyrinth," as well as the editor of the YA anthology "Things We Haven’t Said: Sexual Violence Survivors Speak Out."

When she isn’t writing or editing, she can be found teaching writers of all ages, working at the library, or co-hosting the YA book-loving pod

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