HUSH—Moving from Silence to Healing after Childhood Sexual Abuse

Book Review by Don Hooser
 
The introduction to HUSH states this: “In 2000, researchers at the National Center for Victims of Crime estimated that one in every three girls and one in every six boys are sexually abused by the time they turn eighteen!”
 
These nightmares are horribly tragic!  The hearts of these children are usually scarred for life, often undermining future relationships.
 
The abusers use various tactics—manipulation, shame, intimidation, fear, confusion—to get their victims to “hush”—to keep silent about “our little secret” so they can continue their control and abuse.
 
The author of HUSH, Nicole Braddock Bromley, was born in 1980 and lives with her husband, Matthew, and two sons in Columbus, Ohio.  As a girl, Nicole was sexually abused for years by her stepfather.  She finally mustered the courage at age 14 to break her silence and it was to her mother.  Thankfully, her mother believed her, notified the police, and the two went into hiding.  The stepfather denied everything to the police, but when he committed suicide a week later, the police knew the charges were “substantiated.”
 
At age 15 at a church camp, Nicole surprised herself by courageously opening up to a large gathering of teens and staff members, telling her story and urging anyone who has been molested to break the silence and get help.  The responses she received proved she had greatly helped quite a number of teens.  So she made a firm decision—at that age of 15—that her life’s mission would be to tell her story and the lessons learned to as many people as possible.
 
And she has stayed with that mission ever since.  She is the founder and director of an organization that is bringing healing change into the lives of sexual abuse.  As a full-time professional speaker, she has presented her messages of hope and inspiration, including her keynote program “Our Little Secret,” to thousands of students and others around the country—at colleges, high schools, churches, conferences, etc.  For more info, visit www.OneVOICEEnterprises.com.  “VOICE” stands for “Victory Over Impossible CircumstancEs.”
 
Nicole emphasizes four major steps in moving from darkness to light, from fear and depression to peace and joy, from mental bondage to blossoming, from silence to healing:
 
1.  Break the silence.  Get help for yourself and do what you can to stop the perpetrator from abusing anyone else.  “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent” (Acts 18:9).  Jesus said “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
2.  Accept the truth that the abuse was not your fault!  The abuser was guilty and you were innocent.  (An abuser tries to convince the victim that it’s largely her fault so she’ll be too ashamed to open up to someone who can help.)
 
3.  Forgive the abuser and don’t harbor hate or vengeance.  Nicole does a great job of explaining what the Bible teaches about forgiveness.  She explains how it is possible to forgive and the mental and spiritual blessings that result from forgiving.  See Mark 11:25; Romans 12:19; Colossians 3:13.
 
4.  Resolve to make a positive difference in the lives of others.  You can bring about good from all the past badness if you pass along the lessons learned to others.  The best way to heal yourself is to help heal others.  This is one way to make “all things work together for good “ (Romans 8:28).  Jesus said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35, Good News Bible).  In this way, you can experience “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning” (Isaiah 61:3).  God comforts us so we can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
 
In HUSH, Nicole supports many of her points with relevant Bible scriptures.  As a Bible student myself, I’m highly pleased that Nicole is a serious student of God’s Word, and quite impressed with how she appropriately and accurately makes the connections with pertinent scriptures.  In this way, the truth of what Nicole is saying is supported by the Highest Authority.
 
The author accurately puts the ultimate blame where it belongs—on Satan the devil.  Jesus said Satan is “a murderer” and “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).  He wants to destroy everyone he can.
 
Nicole also reminds us that ultimate healing and wholeness comes from God by a relationship of love, obedience, trust, and submission toward Jesus Christ.
 
I read quite a number of reviews of this book.  Many of the reviewers said they had read several books on this subject but this one they considered to be the most helpful and valuable.
 
If you were a victim of sexual abuse, please don’t rely merely on reading my book review.  Please read the book.  And this book recommends other books and valuable websites.
 
HUSH was published in 2007 by Moody Publishers.  Now there is a workbook to accompany HUSH titled SOAR.  And Nicole has written a follow-up book that was published in 2009:  Breathe: Finding Freedom to Thrive in Relationships After Childhood Sexual Abuse.