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Can We Really Change Ourselves and Our Communities?

Redeem the Silence; an Unintended Journey
By Sherrill Nielsen, MA, MFT

Rape tore apart my well-planned life and shattered my Christian family. Now, as a therapist with years of professional experience and personal process behind me, I’ve written as a survivor to a survivor, and to her family and faith community. Because survivors of sexual violations do not and can not just “get over it” by themselves, my book offers a challenge: generate hope after trauma by simply opening a conversation. After all, at least one out of three women (not including men and children) in our country will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. It’s time to Redeem the Silence.

Healthy recovery, never mediated by a survivor’s experience being shushed, downplayed or ignored, happens according to compassionate response. Since I’ve noticed that we often make a collective decision to remain ignorant about sexual violence, I’m asking for the gift of awareness. My book is clear about the stages of healing and the impact for good each of us can have upon a survivor. I’ve written because I know that kept under wraps sexual violations results in fearfulness, relationship fractures, depression, and trauma for everyone—even communities. Loved ones and kindred who embrace a survivor’s pain as sacred pain will bring redemption. Compassionate openness will change a heart, a relationship, an entire community.

Redeem The Silence - An Unintended Journey by Sherrill Nielsen

Now, at last, the excuse of ignorance is broken by Redeem the Silence. In this book I show how it feels to be the victim of violence that cuts much deeper than the body. Based on a simple decision to discern pain and talk about what happened, I offer authentic ways to help survivors and their communities move through sexual trauma. My book clarifies what we can do to change things for the walking wounded. Chock full of practical tips, therapeutic expertise, and insightful spiritual perspective, Redeem the Silence will make a difference for survivors and those who care about them. I challenge passive, post- modernistic thinking and patronizing responses toward sexual violence to break the cycle of hurt to be the healing in God’s grace.

I believe that God uses the suffering and pain in our lives to get our attention and draw us closer to Him. In the Problem of Pain C. S. Lewis writes, “God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks to us in our conscience, but SHOUTS to us in our pain; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Simplicity and practicality characterize my book. One pastor of a very large church told me it was both the best and hardest book he had ever read. Survivors are the ones it speaks to the most. One former client has read it at least three times and is always referring to her fellow group survivors.

An excellent Twelve Step principle is to take what you like and leave the rest. As you read this book, that principle is a good guideline. Just pick out what shouts out to you, that you are hungry to hear. It will be different for everyone, just at the Unintended Journey is different for everyone.



  1. This comment is being posted by me as the person who sent it in wanted to make sure it was confidential:

    I have never watched the “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” show. I am not a fan of reality TV. The show has been canceled because Mama June has renewed a friendship (?) with a man who was convicted of molesting her older daughter Anna and sent to prison. Anna was 8 when the crimes were committed against her. At 18 Anna is struggling with trying to heal. Her mother wants her to just forget about it. Keep quiet about it. Anna can’t. She is in the healing process and part of that healing process is talking about what happened and being able to grieve the loss of her childhood.
    The commentator asked Mama if she believed her daughter and her reply was “I believe something happened.” Wow. He went to prison for something? Even though her daughter was a victim at 8 years old her mother NEVER bothered to find out what he did to her child. A man who was actually convicted of that crime!
    In watching these excerpts Mama June seems to see herself as her daughter’s victim. Her daughter told and she has lost her reality show. Anna has lost her family. She has been abandoned by her mother for a relationship with a convicted child molester and she has allowed him around her other children. Mama June still does not seem to get it. Its like there is a deadness inside of her. An inability to understand why the viewers turned on her. Mama is clearly in denial. She appears callously insensitive to the pain and suffering of her daughter.
    This may look like an extreme case but what about the child who tells about being molested and is not believed? They never get their day in court and when they are older and the memories start flashing they are told to get over it. Don’t bring it up. And yet they have no choice except to deal with it. Molestation and rape are ugly crimes and they are rampant in our society because no one wants to hear it. This is what molesters and rapists count on. They can move freely through our society…hunting for victims. The perpetrator is not the only one victimizing the victim, the family has unwitting joined him by demanding the victim go silent. This devalues the victim. They are and feel abandoned by their families. Often healing requires the grieving of the lost idealized family. I believe that as humans we have the need to move towards wholeness and health. The abuse victim with proper help can have a productive and meaningful life…….Tomilu Stuart LMFT

  2. I do apologize. I just now found several comments. I did not know my webmaster changed the comment process.

    This is so well written Tomilu. It can be a posted comment anonymously if you wish. If not, fine.

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