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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Every time I pick up a memoir of child sexual abuse like Shattered by the Darkness, I recognize the victim I was, and which, like Dr. Gregory Williams, I still am and always will be. The only real difference between the author and myself is our gender…and that will be the case for female victims of childhood abuse who read Shattered by the Darkness. Many victims who dare to tell their story in a book do it for the same reason as Dr. Williams: to encourage others to open up, to face that past head on, as that is truly tantamount to healing and moving on. But opening up to others is the hardest part of having been a victim: the “horrible twins” of guilt and shame keep our mouths closed and our story buried in the darkness deep within us.
Throughout his memoir, Dr. Williams talks of “the darkness.” Initially, the darkness is his father who abuses him, almost daily, from the time he is only 4 years old. The details the author supplies are graphic and very ugly, and even though this reviewer has suffered similarly, I was still shocked by what Dr. Williams revealed. I was even more appalled by the degree of depravity to which Greg’s father subjected him. The other similarity between us was how long we both kept silent. In both cases, it was decades. And even now, in our senior years, we still battle with low self-esteem along with an inability to trust others. Such are the long-term effects of child sexual abuse.
The author introduces each new chapter with reflections on “the darkness,” not just the darkness that was his father’s abuse, but the darkness deep inside us. These reflections are almost poetic musings and are as interesting in themselves as is the story of Greg’s abuse. If you are a male victim of childhood sexual abuse, I strongly recommend reading Shattered by the Darkness. While more and more women are speaking out from under abuse, men are still slow to do so. Perhaps reading Dr. Williams's book will help you realize that, as a male, you are far from being an isolated case. Shattered by the Darkness is an important book.