My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints is the new book by Dawn Eden. A book that must have been quite difficult for her to write as it concerns her sexual abuse as a child and the myriad bad routes she took to deal with it.
Though as the title suggest this is not just the telling of a tragedy, but the hope and faith she later found and how the lives of the saints have also helped her in healing. She wisely I believe does not dwell in details of what happened to her but gives a biography of her life and how specifically as a convert to the Catholic Church she was more able to come to grips with what happened and the effects on her life.
After her parents divorce when she was a child she lives in what she describes as a “sexually porous” atmosphere. She writes of this quite frankly, but also admits not all of the details of what she remembers line up with what her mother remembers. But her recollections of her mother walking naked about the house with her boyfriend give some reference to the atmosphere she encountered along with the spiritual journey of her mother which had passed through the New Age movement at some points.
The help she sought in years of psychiatry also did not bring about the healing she required as her sexual aggressiveness was not seen as a problem, but as something positive.
Now as a long time reader of her blog The Dawn Patrol I was already somewhat familiar with her conversion to Christ. When I started to first read her blog she was a pro-life Protestant blogger and so I followed with interest her growing attraction with the Catholic Church and ultimately her coming into the Church. This does not mean that her entrance into the Church was the magic cure-all as she still ran into problems dealing with the result of her past. What I thought made this book exceptionally good was her discoveries that helped bring about deeper healing and how it was the lives of some of the saints that especially helped her in this. Some of the stories of the saints you might be acquainted with, but she also brought out stories of lesser known saints and how the relate to the topic of this book. Some of the stories are quite haunting such as the story of St. Josephine Bakhita.
While this book is on the topic of sexual abuse and its consequences, she purposely did not broaden it to include sexual abuse by priests since she is mostly telling her own story. Though the book should also be helpful for those who suffered such abuse and such fundamental betrayal. I would not limit the book to only those who have suffered sexual abuse.
While I have never suffered sexual abuse, I could identify with what she called a “sexually porous” atmosphere. I was introduced to so-called dirty jokes at a young age from my father along with pornography in the house. After my own parents divorce I was also introduced to frank discussions such as an embarrassing one night stand. That along with an uncle that sometime lived with us and his parade of girlfriends and wives. Thus I was quite sexually fixated as a young child along episodes in grade school and beyond that were part of my first confession. The culture would tell us that just being open about sexuality and being taught about it the younger the better would prevent problems. My experience was otherwise and lead to many bad decisions that troubled even my then-atheist conscience. What my choices might have been had I not been introduced to such an atmosphere I can’t say; as people have fallen into these same sins without such an atmosphere. I can only say it was not helpful in the least, especially since I had no moral protection against it. I only bring this up since this book brought back some of these memories and sins and I can also reflect on all the healing I have experience since I came into the Church. What she writes on this subject hopefully will start the process for healing in others who have actually been abused or those other victims of this culture that have also been affected.
Dawn Eden being interviewed on Fox News.
Brandon Vogt interview of Dawn Eden concerning this book.