Invisible Girls: The Truth about Sexual Abuse

Overview


The statistics are staggering.

One in four girls will experience sexual abuse by the time she is sixteen, and 48 percent of all rapes involve a young woman under the age of eighteen. It’s not surprising then, that in a society where sexual abuse of young women is rampant, many women never share their stories. They remain hidden and invisible.

In her pioneering work with young survivors through the last thirty...

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Overview


The statistics are staggering.

One in four girls will experience sexual abuse by the time she is sixteen, and 48 percent of all rapes involve a young woman under the age of eighteen. It’s not surprising then, that in a society where sexual abuse of young women is rampant, many women never share their stories. They remain hidden and invisible.

In her pioneering work with young survivors through the last thirty years, Dr. Patti Feuereisen has helped teen girls and young women to find their voices, begin healing, and become visible.

In this revised second edition, Dr. Patti’s gentle guidance and the girls’ powerful stories continue to create an encouraging message: Remarkable healing is possible if girls learn to share their stories in their teens and early twenties. With a new introduction, new chapters, and updated resources, this new edition of Invisible Girls has even more to offer girls, young women, and those who care about them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Invisible Girls speaks the truth of sexual abuse like no other book has dared.”
&#8212LYN MIKEL BROWN, author of Packaging Girlhood, Raising Their Voices, and Girlfighting

“If you are a teenage girl, this book may save your life. Invisible Girls will help you see the truth.”
&#8212KARRIE HIGGINS, Invisible Insurrection

“I want to buy this book and send it overnight express to my friends who have gone through such torments, because I feel it can bring peace and understanding to them.”
&#8212MISS GEORGIA PEACH, singer, The Short Fuses

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Written by a psychotherapist, this book sets personal narratives within a generalized discussion of sexual abuse of girls and young women. Feuereisen addresses myths about female sexuality and abuse, considers contributing family dynamics, and offers advice on preventing, reporting, and recovering from abuse. Individual chapters are given to father-daughter incest, other incest, abuse by teachers and clergy, and different types of rape. The writing is clear and frank, including sufficient details without becoming salacious. The personal voices are the strength here, reminding other victims that they are not alone and that healing is possible. Individuals of various races and ethnicities tell their stories within their cultural contexts. Carolyn Lehman's Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse (Farrar, 2005) is an equally impressive title with greater emphasis on the importance of telling one's story to aid in the recovery process. Linda L. Foltz's Kids Helping Kids Break the Silence of Sexual Abuse (Lighthouse Point, 2003), for a younger readership, offers similar treatment on the importance of speaking out, with less explicit detail.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580053013
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 399,326
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by hoopsielv for TeensReadToo.com

    One out of four American girls will experience some sort of sexual abuse by age sixteen. It's a sad but true fact in our society. This book is for the girls who have been there and those who care about them. Dr. Patti answers questions from young women honestly and compassionately.

    The main chapters in this book cover abuse by family members, boyfriends, acquaintances, strangers, and other adults. This novel also discusses the emotions stemming from sexual abuse along with coping and healing methods. There are many different paths to healing, including therapy and family support. The message is clear throughout: you aren't alone and it's not your fault.

    INVISIBLE GIRLS was difficult to read at times due to the subject matter, but it made me aware of support systems and resources that are available to women who have faced this horrible trauma. Many young women shared their painful stories and there is an epilogue about how they found their strength to be visible and continue living.

    I highly recommend this book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Feel worse about myself after reading it.

    My mother was violent with me. One night I left the house alone because I couldn't stand being there. Some cool older boys offered me a beer. Two sips and I was tired. Soon after that I was too tired to stay awake. I was fourteen. Later I found out that the five boys who had sex with me because I was too drugged to fight or run away from them were in their late teens and early twenties.
    In an ideal world my mom wouldn't have been some creepy lady that wore elastic waistband pants, that drug me around by my hair, that punched me in my face. In an ideal world I would have just known - without example or instruction - how to make good decisions about my welfare. This book says that date rape is the only kind of abuse that can be prevented. To me that is like saying Trayvon Martin was responsible for what happened to him because he should have not bought candy at night? Not have worn a hoodie? Not have been within the bounds of being a normal teenager? It is gross that society wants this child to be responsible for its own pathologies. Of course children and young people sould be instructed about these dangers but be realistic about how much they can truly understand. It is hard for me - an adult now - to understand the meaness, the smallness of it all.
    I was fourteen when I made this huge miscalculation. I guess I should have known better about those boys. But, unlike learning that the stove is hot when I got burned, I instead fractured inside and couldn't make sense of even more basic dangers than this one.
    This is what I got from the book - I could have prevented what happened to me. I have gone a day without sleep now because I read this book. I wish I'd never come across it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2011

    Very Highly Recommended!

    I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it. I will be buying hard copies to send off to a few of my friends. I recommend this to EVERYONE! We should ALL know what this kind of abuse does to a person!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2010

    Very helpful book

    This book is a must read for any survivor and their families. It helped me to see that what happened was not my fault and that what I was feeling was ok. it showed me that I wasn't alone and that helped me. I am very grateful to the author of this book for taking the time to write it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Everyone who knows a teenage girls should own this book...

    I'm a survivor of Childhood Sexual abuse too. I never thought I would get the courage to buy the book, but I did. And I'm pretty sure it saved my life. My abuser is now currently in prison serving three life sentences and 135 years for what he did to me. This is all thanks to Dr. P. She's an amazing woman and really know what she's writing about. I recommend this book for everyone who knows a teenage girl. If it's one out of every four girls, who goes through this, it might be someone closer to you than you think. And as for victims who are reading this review, Please get this book! Get your voice back and get your life back! It's never your fault! You can heal from what your abuser did to you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Life Changing Book!

    "Invisible Girls" has changed my life. I am a sexual abuse survivor who has had to heal alone for the most part and after reading "Invisible Girls" I know I'm not alone. A lot of the things that I have been through have been addressed in this book and now I am ready to change my life for the better and embark on my road to healing. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever suffered abuse, or known someone who has. There is help, you are not alone, and you don't have to swallow your hurt and move forward. Dr. Patti is helping us be known in her book, and soon people will have to listen!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Informative book for young girls who have been abused - or are searching for clarification about what is or isn't abuse!

    "Invisible Girls acknowledges that boys are also subjected to abuse but this book is written primarily for girls and addresses issues faced by girls who have been abused. It addresses the embarrassing questions that we're often too shy to ask - questions such as; "Was this abuse?" or "Was I to blame?"

    If you are a young girl who has been subjected to abuse, incest or date rape, you should read this book sooner rather than later! Don't spend another day of your life wondering, worrying or blaming yourself! Invisible Girls was written for YOU and is an excellent resource for those who wish to support an abuse survivor."

    ~ Catharsis Foundation
    "It's Time To Tell!"

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2009

    Extremely Important Book

    This is a book that everyone could benefit from. There are young women all around that are in this 'invisible' state.

    The information given was extremely important and even more helpful for the issues I was interested in. There were even topics covered and stories shared that reached my own heart. That's why everyone could benefit from this book because it applies to many levels of thought.

    Don't miss this one, and I've read many on this subject. This is the absulute best resource and teaching tool around. It helps with all levels and gives insight that can be applied directly.

    I've passed it on by buying additional copies...I need my copy so it can be referenced often.

    There is help out there and this is a book that will help!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2008

    A Book Everyone Should Have

    I just recently bought this book about 2 weeks ago and have just finished reading it in its entirety. I must say that this book is truly phenomenal and I believe that all girls, mothers, sisters, counselors, teachers should read this book, survivors or not.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2012

    Identify and let go of self-blame for all types of sexual violence

    I'm a survivor of childhood sex abuse which occurred first inside my home and then also outside my home. As a child my world felt chaotic, unstable, and unsafe. I didn't feel I had the security and safety I needed to be able to seek help, and through terror, threats, and the confusion of what "fatherly love" was supposed to be, I kept quiet. At the same time it was my youthful nature to love, to retain my wholeness and honesty, and to seek health. I read many books, seeking understanding, support. I felt survivors were being put into stereotypes. I needed to know that I could get through this. Then I read "Invisible Girls". This is a book for young survivors, and for their friends, to understand their experience as well as their strength and resilience. This book offers hope, health, releasing, letting go, and a freeing lightness despite what we have been through. In reading this book there is understanding of the deep and difficult emotions and after-effects of abuse, while also knowing that girls that are sexually abused can be healthy, high functioning, successful, thriving girls and women from all races, religions, and economic classes. No one can tell from the outside if a girl has been sexually abused. And she has the same rights and abilities as any other person to be happy, to love and be loved, to achieve her life's passions in whatever form they are meant to unfold. She explains, "Wounds do heal. If you were the victim of incest, you may always feel the remnants of a scar, but you will not always feel the tremendous ache of a gaping wound. Incest survivors do get beyond their incest to lead happy, wonderful lives." "The human spirit has a strength that cannot be crushed, even in the face of the most violating abuse." Dr. Patti gives the awareness, support, safety, and permission that it is not only safe, but healthy to tell and unburden our secrets. And that when we speak out we are not only helping ourselves, but all victims and survivors of sexual violence and contributing to the protection of other children and young girls. Patti emphasizes speaking out when we are young, not waiting to tell, when we are at our most resilient and before the abuse has had more years to plant the roots of trauma deeply into our lives, identities and beings. Some days we may want to talk a lot and other days not at all. "Whatever your age, you are the right age to be coming out and telling your truth". It's time to let go of all the self-blame that we've carried. A great pearl of wisdom in the book is when Patti says, "Often before we can talk about the traumas that have happened to us, we have to find outlets for our feelings. Whether you realize it or not, you probably have a number of such outlets." She talks about running, various types of exercising and dancing, singing, drawing, and writing. And she says, "That's part of the genius of the body and mind: We are often self-healing without even realizing it." She includes the stories of courageous young survivors of many forms of sexual violence and rape and offers a discussion of the important elements of seeking healing and safety from all of these forms of sexual trauma. Also in her newly revised edition Patti includes an entire chapter about the sexual abuse of teen girls through commercial sexual exploitation (including the story of a strong, young survivor).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2012

    I have not yet read this book because I'm afraid that it will br

    I have not yet read this book because I'm afraid that it will bring up bad memories/flashbacks but I will like to tell my story just in case there is a little girl or a woman that is or has experience abuse.
    I was 8 years old when my step-father sexually molested me for 3 years. I finally told my Father at the age of 10 going on 11. My mother didn't believe me and thought that my father was trying to get her back for divorcing him. Fast forward to age 24 when I ordered court transcripts and found out everything that my mother has said about the abuse. How she was told by the molester that he got aroused when I walk by or when he gave me a bath. She dismissed those warning signs. Til this day, I don't have the feeling that she believes me. I believe that I have PTSD. I get nightmares and thoughts in my head that will drag me down into a great depression. I don't feel comfortable with men or women around my personal space. I survive everyday of my life. Its still hard. I have been in and out of therapy and psychiatrist the past 18 years of my life. I have good days and then bad days but I keep positive things in my life.
    My heart goes out to all the survivors, male and female. I think there should be a program in every county that help survivors.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2009

    I personally loved this book. I had to read this book for one of the classes I am in for school and am so glad to have read this one.

    Amazing book for teens about 15 and older, very visual but desterves the stars it has earned

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2007

    A message for Dr. Patti

    Dr. Patti, I just want to say, as I've read your book, it is full of the most uplifting comments I have ever read in my life! You truly have a gift! Just wanted to share with you the one that has spoken to me the most. This one: 'The fact is, your abuser tried to map your life for you. But he does not own you, and you have the freedom and the power to overcome and transcend the associations. You deserve to be happy, to be free of any feelings of shame or guilt or fear. You have the right to a completely satisfying sexual life. You are a righteous young woman. If you can get in touch with the feelings and consciously change the awful associations, you can re-map your life.' THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So much of my life has been dictated by the abuse in my life, especially in my sex life. I have never had what I would consider a normal sex life. Always, always, always the two feelings of sexual arousal/sexual feelings and fear have been fused together so that I can never feel the first one without simultaneously feeling the second one. And either I cannot 'continue' or I dissociate and feel nothing. Still, for the first time in my life, I'm actually ticked off that my sexuality has been stolen from me. How do you take it back? How do you get that fear feeling to leave the sexual feeling? How do you fix that? I'm going to find out. Somehow. Because that's just not fair. Thanks a million for writing this book and sending me a copy. I felt I had to tell you how much your words meant to me. Your words help survivors hold their heads high. You truly have a gift. Kelly PS--- Hug and Kiss your dog for me. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2006

    Excellent Resource

    Dr. Patti Feuereisen is a psychotherapist in New York City who has worked with young survivors of sexual assault for twenty-five years. Her co-writer, Caroline Pincus, is an editor. The collaboration resulted in a book that offers a well-written examination of the trauma of sexual abuse, its painful ramifications, and the healing journey. The book opens with the authors¿ explanation of the Greek myth of ¿Pandora¿s Box.¿ According to legend, Pandora received special gifts from the gods, including a box that she was told not to open. Feurereisen writes, ¿¿in defiance of the patriarchy, she opened the box.¿ When she opened the box, ¿out spilled all the misfortunes of the world.¿ This sets an undertone of the entire book: the recognition that patriarchy fosters oppression of women, thereby perpetuating sexual assault upon young girls in our male dominated society. However, the authors do not make social commentary. They allow the survivors to tell their stories, thereby endorsing the fact that Pandora would rather know the truth (of what was in the box), reveal it, and release the trauma. By writing a book for young women, the authors hope that the pain of abuse is released early, thus allowing healing to start sooner. The book is divided into four parts. Part One defines sexual abuse and its affects. Part Two tells survivors¿ stories of how girls got through the actual experience of being abused, such as by ¿disassociation.¿ In Part Three, several survivors tell stories of father-daughter incest, sibling sexual abuse, abuse by those in authority positions, and acquaintance/date rape (it¿s an epidemic). Part Four explains different paths to healing, and encourages victims to seek support. Dr. Patti uses questions from the web site she founded, girlthrive, which is a resource for sexual abuse survivors. She answers specifics in ¿Invisible Girls¿ such as ¿Should You Confront Your Abuser¿ and ¿Should You Forgive Your Abuser.¿ The authors also offer an extensive resource section. Throughout the book, the authors emphasize to readers that victims are not alone, the abuse was not their fault, and ¿the best way to heal from sexual abuse is to talk about it.¿ To tell the story is to be seen, heard, and validated, and therefore no longer invisible The authors delve thoroughly into the box that is filled with the ills of sexual abuse that plague our society. The result is a book that understands victims¿ needs, thereby giving hope for healing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2005

    MUST-READ for Sexual Abuse Survivors (16-28)

    Being that I am only 20, when I found this book from Dr. Patti's website, I know how hard it is to feel alone while trying to heal because most of the resources I have found are for very young children or for older adults in their 30-40's. I never felt that the books were helpful because the books never addressed stuff that I was going through and being at an age caught in between made me feel so alone that I didn't want to find healing because no one would understand, but Dr. Patti has worked for years with people my age and she really understands what it is we are trying to deal with. Her book is a must read for the younger generation (16-28yr olds) because it handles a lot of the problems that we face with sexual abuse, but which we can't tell others about. I can really relate to her clients in the book and for the first time I don't feel alone and see that it is possible to overcome everything that I've been hiding and to know that others before (my age) have made it through the daily struggles I encounter and can live a normal life eventually. It's the first book that really gives me encouragement to not give in to life and answers a lot of the questions that I have about the stuff we have to live with day in and day out, like the flashbacks and how people our age have tried to deal with them and it gives me a better understanding about the actions that I take and why I feel certain emotions and blame myself for things, when it's not my fault that things happened in my childhood this way. It's a good wake-up call to us so we can deal with stuff before we find ourselves in possible trouble again in our lives. This book shocked me the first time I read a chapter because through someone else's words, we shared the same thoughts and hurt that we all feel and seeing reason made me feel less trapped and more alive in the healing process. It's hard to find the words to describe this book, but it's definently helped me more than I could have ever imagined (and I haven't even read half of it). It's the first connection I've made that brings my problems into reason, because the book is made for people my age (16-25) and it makes you feel like you belong in the world, instead of a group lost between childhood and adulthood with no where to turn to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2005

    Wish this book were available when I was a younger

    This is a wonderful resource for the young women and girls that have been victims of sexual abuse and do not know where to turn. If this book were available when I were younger I may have saved myself 20 to 30 years of emotional pain. Thank you, Dr. Patti, for empowering our young women with choices other than suffering in silence.

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    Posted January 5, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2009

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