Allegations of sexual misconduct by people with power is a story that continues to consume headlines. Not the least of these is the continued exposure the media is giving to the epidemic of crimes committed by priests in the Catholic Church, and how these horrific crimes against children have been covered up and denied for decades. While the stories of the abusers and those who have chosen to protect the perpetrators have been the main story line, the impact of these stories on the abused are often lost in the noise. Author Nanette Kirsch bravely tackles this painful and sensitive topic in the new book DENIAL: Abuse, Addiction and a Life Derailed, based on the true story of her friend “David,” one of the victims listed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. Often using his own words, Nanette shares his gritty story of innocence lost through repeated targeting and abuse.
Nanette explains, “I agreed to write DENIAL after learning of the pain that my friend had been spent his entire adult life trying to hide. His family and I want to inspire survivors of childhood sexual abuse to break its spiritual stronghold and embrace an abundant life of healing, wholeness, redemption and peace.” David, a married father of five and millionaire entrepreneur, was the picture of success, building businesses, giving generously to causes he believed in, and bringing life to everyone he encountered. Yet underneath this boisterous, carefree shell hid the lingering effects of childhood sexual abuse. At the young age of 12 in the state of Pennsylvania, a priest, known for his exploitation of innocents, lured David into a secretive double life that ultimately consumed him. David’s roller-coaster journey points to larger truths that provide guidance, encouragement and healing to other victims, as well as to their loved ones. First – denial of childhood sexual abuse creates a stronghold over the lives of survivors. Second – there is a crucial connection between abuse and the distorted thoughts and compulsive behaviors many survivors grapple with in adulthood, including: substance abuse; sexual addiction; verbal, emotional or physical abuse in relationships; depression; and far too often, suicide. DENIAL also exposes the three main lies that are sowed in the hearts of many sexual abuse survivors: It’s my fault, intimacy is the enemy, and God abandoned me. Nanette wrote the book at the request of David’s family, who gave her complete access to his journals, calendars, documents, letters, depositions and other artifacts. Writing the book challenged Nanette to answer lingering questions from the effects of sexual abuse she suffered in high school. “My hope is that DENIAL can help victims and their families heal. To feel hope. To know they are not alone,” Nanette shares. “David’s story is restoring his family, to the point that several of his children are pursuing careers as victim’s advocates. We need to empower each other to also stand up and hold abusers, especially those who abuse their power in the name of religion, accountable for their actions. https://denialbook.com/