Cecil Murphey is the author or coauthor of more than 100 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN (with Don Piper), but none is as personal as this one. In it, he tells his readers of the sexual molestation he endured as a young child and guides them through the process of helping other men who have been sexually abused. It's a compassionate, clear-eyed, and comprehensive manual for understanding male victims of abuse, and it just may be Murphey's best and most significant book.
Addressed to women, WHEN A MAN YOU LOVE WAS ABUSED offers a wealth of information and wisdom for women who want to help the men they love in their recovery process. The first section of the book focuses on who molestation victims are, the different ways they process their memories of the abuse, how childhood abuse affects their adult relationships, including their sex life, and the various ways they approach their healing, among other vital topics. Murphey's clear, personal writing style and the logical structure of the book help readers absorb an enormous amount of information with little effort. Murphey includes stories from his own life as well as the lives of other abuse victims to illustrate the particular topic he's discussing; those real-life examples serve to help women better understand the particular behaviors, reactions and emotions that male molestation victims may exhibit.
The second section of the book focuses on the specific ways women can help men in their healing process (throughout the book, Murphey credits his wife, Shirley, with being instrumental in his own healing). Murphey shows women the importance of believing the victim, listening to him, accepting him, respecting him, and other ways of fostering his healing, all with a healthy dose of caring and compassion. After reading this section, women should feel well-equipped to take on the difficult challenge of walking through the recovery process with men who have been abused.
Murphey also tackles difficult questions related to abuse, such as the most frequently asked ones: Where was God when the abuse was taking place? Why didn’t God prevent the abuse or stop it once it started? Instead of offering superficial, easy answers, Murphey offers insightful responses that may help victims and their loved ones better understand the role and activity of God in their lives.
If you are married to or in a relationship with a man who experienced childhood sexual abuse, or if you suspect that he's a victim of abuse, I highly recommend WHEN A MAN YOU LOVE WAS ABUSED. You're not likely to find a book as valuable as this one is or written with the love, compassion and understanding that you'll find on every page. Murphey also maintains a website (http://www.menshatteringthesilence.blogspot.com/) where male victims of abuse can anonymously share their stories, minister to each other, and send questions about their healing and recovery to Murphey.
Reviewed by Marcia Ford on November 13, 2011