Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jerry Sandusky Sentencing - Author Jeanne McElvaney Offers Insight Into The Long Term Effects On Victims

Jeanne McElvaney is the author of 'Spirit Unbroken: Abby's Story', an insightful journey into the world of childhood sexual abuse and dissociated trauma memories. McElvaney believes the life-changing, long term effects must be considered if justice is to be served

As Jerry Sandusky is sentenced for his crimes, it is important to remember the long-term effects of his sexual molestation. For most of us, the memories may fade. Not so for the survivors of his abuse.

"Ongoing research makes it clear," stated author Jeanne McElvaney, "survivors of sexual abuse will more likely experience depression, addictions, sleep and eating disorders, and diminished socioeconomic potential. They have an increased chance of suicide. Their immune function is affected. Low self esteem, intimacy, and relationship instability are legacies of sexual abuse. Survivors often face issues related to anger, guilt, loss, trust, and personal power."

In the traditions of Sandra Butler and Louise Armstrong before her, Ms. McElvaney serves as a voice for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Her book, 'Spirit Unbroken: Abby's Story' is a gripping and powerful novel that turns the world upside down, as readers witness innocence celebrated and violated. The book has been called a 'tremendous contribution to childhood trauma literature.' The novel is currently listed as a Finalist by Readers Favorite in the Women's Fiction category.

"I wrote 'Spirit Unbroken: Abby's Story' because I wanted to take the reader on a journey of insight," McElvaney continued, "so they could understand dissociated trauma memories - how they pull a person out of everyday reality so that person can survive the moment. I wanted readers to know how our minds work to protect us, but also leave us with memories we can't recall even though they continue driving our choices, feelings, and beliefs."

Sexual abuse is a crime most often kept hidden by secrecy and silence.

* “ In the United States, society’s historical attitude about the sexual victimization of children can generally be summed up in one word: denial.” (Kenneth Lanning, Former Supervisory Special Agent, FBI).

* “ Childhood molestation is one of the most under-reported crimes – only 1-10% are ever disclosed.” (FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin).

"Shame and guilt keep us from stepping forward," continued McElvaney, "if outright threats don’t. Until parents recognize that caring, dedicated, nice, hard-working pillars of the community can also be abusers, they provide a shield for the molesters and make it almost impossible for children to tell their truth and believe it will be heard."

McElvaney says, “If a child finds the courage to tell their secret, I would have every adult remember this statistic: children are telling the truth 99.5% of the time.” (TAALK)

The comfortable and prevailing belief that the typical child molester is someone we don’t know is slowly changing. The truth is, those who sexually abuse our youth look and act like the people we know. Though we would like to believe these incidents are rare and far between, McElvaney believes this case will help people realize, perpetrators are active over many years.

* “ The typical offender begins molesting by the age of 15 and molests an average of 117 youngsters.”  (Dr. Gene Abel, National Institute of Mental Health Study)

* “ 77.9% of convicted sex offenders are sent back to prison within two years.” (California Department of Corrections)

A recent reviewer and therapist stated 'Spirit Unbroken: Abby's Story' is "a resource as much as it is a novel. Dry, academic explanations of this condition are unable to touch the complex, nostalgic, and deeply moving way this author has been able to take the reader directly into the depths of this state of mind."

Jeanne McElvaney is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at 'Spirit Unbroken: Abby's Story' is available at online bookstores. More information on all of Jeanne McElvaney's books is available at her website.


Jeanne McElvaney is an author of women’s empowerment novels. She has done extensive research in childhood sexual abuse and is a survivor herself. Her blog, “Sexual Abuse Insights”, supports survivors in healing.


Jeanne McElvaney