Former Chestnut Hill Local writer Joel Hoffman is co-editor of a recently released collection of personal stories written by survivors of child sexual abuse.
The anthology entitled, “The Survivors Project: Telling the Truth About Life After Sexual Abuse,” is comprised of more than 50 personal essays from survivors. The goal of the book is to educate, encourage and heal those affected by sexual abuse by sharing their stories and recovery processes.
Nina Hoffman, Joel’s wife and co-editor of the book, said in a preview in Philadelphia Weekly that the stories came from survivors who “would no longer suffer in silence.”
“For many of us, writing is all we have when we feel our voice isn’t strong enough – which is exactly why this project needed to happen,” Hoffman said.
The stories are raw, graphic and often difficult to read. Hoffman believes that facing these traumatic experiences – as a writer and reader – is a necessary step towards healing.
“Reading these essays won’t be easy; writing them certainly wasn’t,” she said. “But that is what healing looks like. It is hell. And it needs to happen if you want to be happy.”
Hoffman views the book as a conduit to preventing sexual abuse in the future by breaking down the negative stigmas that surround it and facing its effects head-on.
“The more we talk about the effects of sexual abuse, the more we can prevent it,” Hoffman said. “Survivors need more opportunities to fight back against the culture of shame and secrecy that stole their voices. We can’t let it stop here. We have to seize this moment and make sure that no one has to suffer in silence anymore.”
“The Survivors Project: Telling the Truth About Life After Sexual Abuse” is available as an e-book at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A6Z5FR2