The Ultimate Teen Guide
Olivia Ghafoerkhan, Rowman & Littlefield Hardcover $45 (200pp), 978-1-4422-5247-9
This important teen guide performs two crucial functions: educating teens on numerous myths associated with sexual assault, and showing teens how to help both themselves and their friends. Given that teens are, according to the author, more likely to confide about these assaults to their friends rather than to an adult, Sexual Assault: The Ultimate Teen Guide provides essential guidance for the all-too-many teens who have to confront these issues.
The book is broken down into a few different sections, the first one defining sexual assault before the other sections delve into its different types, from date rape to child abuse. The book then goes on to describe the healing process, along with how friends and family can help survivors, before concluding with a list of resources such as websites, books, and films that deal with the topic of sexual assault. It also includes a glossary of key terms. Throughout, the work touches on key issues such as victim blaming and human trafficking, weaving in both statistics and stories drawn from the author’s forty-plus interviews with sexual-assault survivors.
The book includes some surprising and illuminating facts: for instance, Ghafoerkhan notes that of the forty survivors she interviewed, only four were assaulted by strangers, which is consistent with nationwide statistics on sexual assault. In addition, less than a third of rapes are reported to police. Though the stories are not overly graphic, they may be disturbing to younger audiences.
Ghafoerkhan emphasizes the need of more conversation about sexual assault, both to help reduce the stigma around it and to create a space where more people feel empowered to discuss their experiences. This essential resource is thought-provoking and humbling, and it is ideal for teen allies—including parents, educators, and mentors—who want to understand how they can help.