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Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child

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"But what about me?"
"Is it possible to go one day without dealing with the survivor's issues?"
"Will we ever make love again?"
"Will the survivor love me in the end?"
"How do I know if I should throw in the towel?"

Based on in-depth interviews and her workshops for partners across the country, Laura Davis offers practical advice and encouragement to all partners—girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, and lovers—trying to support the survivors in their lives while tending to their own needs along the way. She shows couples how to deepen compassion, improve communication, and develop an understanding of healing as a shared activity. Addressing partners' most important questions, Allies in Healing covers:

The Basics—answers common questions about sexual abuse. Allies in Healing—introduces key concepts of working and growing together. My Needs and Feelings—teaches partners to recognize, value, and express their own needs. Dealing with Crisis—includes strategies for handling suicidal feelings, regression, and hopelessness. Intimacy and Communication—offers practical advice on dealing with distancing, control, trust, and fighting. Sex—provides guidelines for coping with flashbacks, lack of desire, differences in sexual needs, and frustration. Family lssues—suggests a range of ideas for interacting with the survivor's family. Partners' Stories—explores the struggles, triumphs, and courage of eight partners.

368 pages, Paperback

Published September 11, 1991

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About the author

Laura Davis

13 books72 followers
In her 30+ year career as an author and writing teacher, Laura Davis has written seven non-fiction books that change peoples’ lives. Laura’s ground-breaking books have been translated into 11 languages and sold more than two million copies.

The Courage to Heal and The Courage to Heal Workbook paved the way for hundreds of thousands of women and men to heal from the trauma of sexual abuse. Becoming the Parent You Want to Be a rich resource guide, co-authored with parenting expert Janis Keyser, helps parents develop a vision for the families they want to create. And I Thought We'd Never Speak Again teaches the skills of reconciliation and peace building to the world, one relationship at a time.

Her forthcoming October 2021 memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story, tells the story of Laura’s dramatic and tumultuous relationship with her mother, Temme, from the time of Laura’s birth until her mother’s death. This story about “two souls who just wouldn’t quit each other” provides a no-holds-barred peek at the real Laura—the woman behind the teacher, the facilitator, and author.

If you pre-order The Burning Light of Two Stars today, you can claim a variety of great thank you gifts (like immediate access to the first five chapters of the book), as well as other bonuses—just hop over to Laura’s website and let her know you’ve bought the book: https://lauradavis.net/the-burning-li... and you can download your bonuses right away.

Laura’s love of words extends into her teaching life. She loves building communities of writers and teaches weekly writing workshops online and in Santa Cruz California. and leads transformative writing retreats in northern California, Bali, Peru, Italy, Spain, Vietnam and other international destinations. As the founder and moderator of a free online writing community, The Writer’s Journey Roadmap, Laura sends out evocative writing prompts by email every Tuesday.

To learn about Laura’s classes and retreats, subscribe to her weekly prompts, or receive a free e-book, free e-book, “Writing Towards Courage: A Thirty Day Practice,”

You can find Laura at: www.lauradavis.net.
Facebook: LauraDavis&TheWritersJourney
Instagram: laurasaridavis

Laura lives in Santa Cruz, California with her spouse Karyn and their new yellow lab puppy, Luna. She enjoys swimming, hiking, mahjong, making kombucha, motion theater, her grandchildren, and of course, writing.

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5 stars
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134 (33%)
3 stars
68 (17%)
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18 (4%)
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6 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews
Profile Image for H..
115 reviews
August 13, 2009
Under the very narrow condition of reading for my specific and non-personal purpose, Allies in Healing is a useful read. But I have to say flat out that much of my response is discomfort to Davis' consistent and subversive pushing of what is essentially false memory syndrome/recovered memory therapy. Over and over again, peppered throughout the interesting personal stories and questions of partners and their specific relationship pains, is the message that if a person feels queasy about child abuse, they likely were abused and have been repressing the memories. This is such a dangerous, pseudo-scientific contention that the idea of Allies in Healing being passed around as valid self-help for people truly in need is frightening. I must condemn it under such conditions (as is its marketed purpose). However, it was an interesting read for me in researching the emotional lives of fictional characters suffering the effects of childhood abuse. Davis has spent a lot of time talking about how survivors feel, in every possible relationship situation, and that is well depicted here for the reader who does not look within for science.
Profile Image for Songs and Sonnets.
11 reviews4 followers
October 8, 2011
This book has been a real life-saver to me as the partner of a sexual abuse survivor. It's full of practical advice and written in a question-and-answer format, making it easy to dip into and find what you need. Apart from the case studies at the end, I'd say one third of this book is information on sexual abuse and how survivors are affected, and the remaining two thirds are advice on how to cope as a partner. The book emphasises that partners have needs too and gives advice on how to communicate and meet those needs, set boundaries, and take care of yourself during times of crisis - as well as help your partner to the best of your ability. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Carl.
25 reviews3 followers
August 13, 2012
This book is of NO help to the spouse of a child sexual abuse survivor. It doesn't give you a path to normal healthy adult sexual relationship. It tells you your partner needs a "healing vacation from sex", apparently forever as all the case history's cited are of people still celibate in marriage.
604 reviews2 followers
September 25, 2015
This was a very useful and informative book. I am debating about entering into a long-term relationship with someone Who has suffered this. This book has made me realise that it is something I want to get involved in and would like to help the person on that journey towards healing. I found this book very insightful and there were some interesting facts in it.
Profile Image for Lily Rooke.
Author 3 books96 followers
April 26, 2023
Difficult to rate. Opinion from my partner: "I don't think I should read anything that takes the focus off the survivor. With the best will in the world, I don't care about these partners and their experiences, I care about you and what you need." As a survivor I found the parts I could relate to well done, but those I didn't resonate with frightened me, thinking my partner might assume they apply to me. Probably this book is good if you and your partner are at zero communication or you as the partner are in a crisis due to your partner's trauma. With that said, we both agreed the message to survivors at the beginning felt shaming and judgemental. From my partner again: "Of course it's about you, and it should be; I wasn't the one sexually abused."
Profile Image for Therese.
Author 2 books150 followers
July 21, 2022
Another book I saw recommended in an online discussion by experts of resources to help friends/family/partners of survivors of sexual trauma. As other reviewers have suggested, parts of this book's approach may be a bit out of date, but as a non-expert I found a lot of it very informative and helpful.
Profile Image for Angel Graham.
Author 1 book30 followers
September 19, 2012

This review is from: Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Was Sexually Abused as a Child (Paperback)
I am a survivor who is also an ally in healing. This book is quite good in helping you to help others. It is written by one of the authors of Courage in Healing.

If you love someone who has been abused sexually as a child, this is a good place to start. If you are a spouse, lover, partner to a survivor of abuse, this book will help to answer some of the questions you have.

For instance, Laura Davis helps you to know that you are not wrong for feeling that so much is often about the survivor and their abuse. Sometimes, you feel overwhelmed by it. Laura helps you to learn a little about how to help you and your partner so that you are not overwhelmed.

You learn how to take care of your desires, needs and more while helping your partner.

I recommend reading this book if you are trying to help someone who is a survivor
Profile Image for Kate.
36 reviews9 followers
July 17, 2009
Simple, concise, supportive.

It lends clear insight in how a persona can be supportive when a person they love is dealing with the trauma of being sexually abused and what they can expect (i.e. a lot of time spent talking about the trauma, how intimacy may be changed, etc.) and how to care for themselves and get their needs met as their loved one goes through this healing process.

My husband and I found it helpful and healing. It spoke to us both and we liked the parts which referred us to have deeper compassion for each other during this time...not to "turn" on each other out of the frustration of the situation. There were many wonderful suggestions.

It became a wonderful tool and is one reason I can publish an open review about books of this nature today.
Profile Image for Rochelle.
303 reviews10 followers
April 25, 2012
This book is a useful reference for survivors and their partners. It does give a lot of important resources at the back of the book as well. Laura Davis tackles the very emotionally charged issues around sexual abuse and its impact on adult relationships carefully and respectfully. It also challenges the common stereotypes that most abuse occurs with girls. This topic is never an easy one, and the book is organized as a "menu" so that you can target specifically an issue, or you can choose to read it front to back. There is a lot of information here. So, I would say use it as a resource, rather than a place to find out how the stories of the survivors and their partners documented here are a "fit" for someone you know or for your own experiences.
195 reviews36 followers
June 12, 2012
I highly highly highly suggest this book to anyone who knows anyone who has been sexually abused. While it is written for a romantic relationship, it is very relevant and can help with any type of relationship. It's written in a very easy to read question and answer format so you can skip the parts that aren't pertaining to your loved one's situation but I promise it will help you gain a deeper understanding into what they are going through as they work to heal from their past trauma and will thus help you help them. (And help you help yourself, as it can be exhausting...)
40 reviews
March 3, 2016
While some of the information is good in this book, it is written in a colloquial voice that can be a bit irritating. Unlike its companion book, it is written in a haphazard question and answer format. This may be convenient for some, since you can select which questions pertain to you, but it doesn't feel like a complete book due to the layout. There are multiple grammatical errors in this book that also make me question the validity of the author's perspective.
Profile Image for Stacy.
15 reviews
May 5, 2015
This was a book given to someone I know, he thought it might be good if i red it ? Not. Had me focused more on my past problems, then making me feel i was healing. To much hyper focusing on the issue, maybe I can't face mine entirely? I just cast my painful past upon the Lord, and I have felt better doing that then the out come of reading this book. I guess it's a good read for the drama queen's out there, marinading in there own tear-filled pity.
Profile Image for Kelley Frank.
Author 4 books7 followers
August 24, 2020
I read this book at first purely for research and character development. Later, I realized it helped me find tools to help friends recovering from childhood abuse and neglect.

This was a very helpful read for anyone looking to understand the survivor viewpoint and challenges faced by survivors and their significant others. There’s a lot of focus on repressed memories, which is a bit uncomfortable at times, but this should be a handy guide for anyone looking to traverse this fraught situation.
Profile Image for Kelly Ovans.
1 review
March 10, 2017
as being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse Laura Davis helped me understand how my partners, lovers and friends were dealing with my behaviours...anger, shame etc.
forgiving myself and seeing my abuser was healing. I was stuck in place or grave until i looked at my abuser and went meh i forgive you and you can't control/hurt me anymore.
Profile Image for Maren.
12 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2008
One of the most helpful books I have read. Partners and intimates of survivors need to read this. Strikes many sensitive spots, but damn me if I wasn't laughing, crying, and LEARNING from this book. Couldn't recommend it more.
2 reviews
January 2, 2014
over all it was a good book to help anyone in a relationship with a survivor. though I must say that parts of the book did get repetitive. I'd recommend it to anyone that wants to learn and has an open mind.
307 reviews21 followers
September 14, 2018
I love the setup of this, which is basically question and answer, followed by a bunch of personal stories. I found it intriguing and informative and easy to read, even when it wasn’t applicable to anyone in my personal life.
Also there are SO many recommended books at the end! A treasure trove!
21 reviews
April 22, 2020
Very helpful reading for anyone connected to someone who is in the circle of someone who has suffered from childhood sexual abuse. Many great insights from an author who has been there. Many good recommendations for helping a loved one. I will share this with family and friends.
Profile Image for Dwight Hurych.
22 reviews1 follower
October 28, 2019
Excellent treatment in Q&A to clarify what it may be like to be an adult survivor of child abuse.
Displaying 1 - 20 of 20 reviews

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