Monday, January 10, 2022
Alisa Zipursky

For those of you who may not know, I am in the midst of writing Healing Honestly the book! Coming in spring of 2023 from Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Healing Honestly will offer survivor-to-survivor support for people who’ve experienced CSA looking to reduce self-blame and self-shame. And I need your help! It is so important that this book contains a huge variety of survivors’ voices, experiences and wisdom! 

I would love participation from anyone who identifies as a childhood sexual abuse survivor (it’s totally cool if you don’t love that term or feel like you fully embody it— I use it to simply things on my end, not because I care about some specific definition of sexual harm). I welcome people of all gender identities, ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations and ethnicities from all across the world to participate! It can be anonymous too!

How to participate:

  1. Look at the list below and decide which prompts speak to you. It can be one prompt or multiple prompts! Whatever you like!

  2. Write up your response(s), 1-4 sentences per prompt is great! Make sure you let me know which prompt you’re responding to

  3. Include in your response what first name you’d like to be referred to as, it can be any first name you’d like.

  4. Email your response to HealingHonestlyTheBook@gmail.com and I will reply as soon as I can but it may be a few weeks as a heads up!

  5. I will 100% notify you if the quote is to be used in the book and ask again for your consent to use your words. If you’ve changed your mind you have the opportunity to tell me!

If any of this feels unpleasant or not aligned with your healing, please do not push yourself! The top priority is for you to do whatever is best for your healing, always! I’ve organized the prompts by the chapters of the book! If you’re interested in participating but have questions please shoot me an email at HealingHonestlyTheBook@gmail.com.

Prompts about not feeling like a “real” survivor:

1. Do you ever feel like you aren’t a “real” survivor? What do those voices that say that sound like in your head? My goal is to show that it is totally normal and common for survivors to feel like there’s some “real” survivor out there and because of xyz reason they don’t feel like they’re it. I want to show the variety of reasons the world gives us to feel that way!

Prompts about not remembering the CSA clearly:

2. For people who do not remember their CSA clearly/have body memories of the CSA: In what ways have you been able to find healing (whatever healing means to you!) while not remembering the CSA perfectly? My goal is to show that healing means different things to each of us, and we do not have to force ourselves to remember things in order to heal.

3. Have you ever had a bad experience with a therapist when it comes to your CSA and how much you remember? What was that experience like for you? What impact did it have for you and your healing? My goal is to show that the medical field still has a long way to go in learning about traumatic memory and how to support survivors in their healing.

4. Have you learned how to live with a certain level of “doubt” when it comes to CSA and our traumatic memories? My goal is to show that having some doubts is a totally normal experience when dealing with CSA and it doesn’t mean we aren’t real survivors!

5. Do you ever feel torn about whether you’d like to remember your CSA clearly or not? My goal is to show that it’s normal to have a variety of emotions, sometimes even conflicting ideas, about whether we want to remember more than we do or whether we would prefer not to.

Prompts about health:

6. Have you found ways to feel more in your own body or more connected to your body? For example, I’ve found taking care of my house plants and boxing have helped me to feel more connected to my body in a positive healing way. My goal is to show all the variety of different ways survivors find ways to feel connected  or at home with their bodies.

7. Have you had an experience with a doctor/therapist or other healthcare professional missing the mark when it comes to the mind/body connection? Have you had an experience where they missed the ways our history of trauma may be impacting our health? My goal is to dive into the complicated ways our mind/body/spirits are connected and how often medical professionals and therapists don’t understand the complex ways trauma impacts our health.

8. Have you ever learned something about the way your trauma impacts your health that you found useful? If yes, what did it feel like for you to make that connection? My goal is to demonstrate that sometimes learning about the trauma/health connections can be empowering, sometimes it can be frustrating, and everything in between!

9. Have you ever felt like your body was betraying you or working against you? My goal is to demonstrate that trauma creates really complicated relationships for us with our bodies whether it’s reliving our trauma in our bodies, not feeling in control of our bodies, etc.

Prompts about friendship:

10. Without trying to find some BS silver lining in our abuse, are there any specific things that you, as a survivor, bring to your friendships? I am wondering if there are any skills that we’ve developed as survivors that can be applied to our friendships, like maybe demonstrating to our friends ways to have healthy boundaries? My goal is to challenge the way many of us think that we have “too many needs” to be good friends and demonstrate that not only is that not true, but that sometimes we can bring some important things to the table specifically because of what we’ve learned in our healing journey.

11. Have you ever had to “dump” or “release” a friendship as a result of the healing work you’ve done? If yes, what was that like for you? My goal is to demonstrate that sometimes in our healing journeys there are friendships we cannot take with us and that it is totally okay to need to let go of those friendships, even though it can be so painful to do so sometimes.

Prompts about family:

12. In your community, whatever community that may be, was there a general thinking that CSA didn’t happen in that community and that it was a problem in other communities? If yes, what community do you come from? For example, I come from a wealthy Jewish American community where people definitely thought CSA didn’t happen in our community. My goal is to show that every community tells themselves that CSA doesn’t happen in their community and I want to show that it’s a common lie communities tell themselves!

13. Have you found healing in building your own family, whether it be a chosen family, in parenting, etc? What has that been like for you? What has been healing about it? My goal is to demonstrate all the different ways we are able to build a family in a way that is aligned with our safety and needs and how we can be what we needed when we were younger.

14. Have you had the experience of being dependent on the person who caused you harm? (example: dependent financially, legally, for housing, food etc). What were you dependent on them for? My goal is for people to know that it’s totally normal for us to have been dependent on the people who harmed us for important life things and to allow for that complexity to be true.

15. Can you react or consider the quote, “When I protect myself I protect my family, because I am a part of my family.” So often we are treated like we are “ruining” our families by living our truths, but in reality, whether our family members acknowledge it, by healing ourselves we are healing our families because we are members of our family. Does this quote remind you of anything in your own life? Would you like to share anything about how by healing yourself you are healing your family (whether your family acknowledges that or not)? My goal is to demonstrate that we are being good family members by focusing on our own healing, even if it doesn’t feel that way.

Prompts about work life:

16. Have you ever found a workplace/academic environment re-traumatizing for you? (I have!) What was that experience like for you? How did it make you feel and impact the ways you’ve thought of what “success” or “productivity” mean? My goal is to show that many of us are retraumatized in our workplaces and it is common and not our fault that it happens but when it does happen it can really fuck with our sense of being “good” “productive” “successful” people!

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