Reviewed by Kam Aures for RebeccasReads (9/08)
It was May 1st, 2007, and Kimberly was having a normal conversation with her brother-in-law. Their discussion started out talking about a simple school play, but then the brother-in-law's voice took on a more serious tone as he told her that he had something important that he needed to share with her. "He began by explaining how his mother had approached him with a concern she had as a result of an observation made at our birthday party. He went on to enlighten me on how she had been coming up a stairwell and witnessed my daughter walking into the house with her arms overflowing with presents." There were a lot of people running around and many things going on. During this time, the mother-in-law witnessed Uncle Jim kiss 13-year-old Tivona many times on the neck and remarked on "how hot and sexy she looked." (p. 18)
From this moment forward, Kimberly's life would never be the same as she uncovered more details from her daughter about the sexual abuse that had been taking place for three years. Following proper procedures to report and go through the court system, Kimberly thought that justice would be served, but that was not to be the case. She learned that "rape and sexual assault cases are the hardest felonies to convict and therefore, the ones that the Prosecuting Attorney's don't want to pursue." (p. 75)
"Shattered Reality" is the story of child sexual abuse told from the mother's perspective. As one can imagine, the struggle to deal emotionally with something as horrific as this is terribly difficult. We watch the author as varying emotions flood through her and watch as she attempts to pick up the pieces and help her daughter to feel whole again. The way that the court system handles cases such as this one is very disappointing to me. It is ridiculous that so many child sexual abuse cases are closed without prosecuting. The facts and figures that the author shares throughout the course of the book are very discouraging. Our children need to be protected, and if something doesn't change, the problem will only get worse, especially if the abusers know that they can get away with it.
I applaud Kimberly for putting her and her daughter's story out there and for trying to make a difference. The statistics and resources section at the end of the book was very informative and I will be utilizing some of the tips to talk to my own children to try to protect them from what appears to be a much more common crime than I was originally aware of. Although there were some areas of the book that could have used some editing (mainly spelling errors), for the most part, the book was well written and the author did an excellent job at conveying her feelings and emotions to the reader. I think this book is an important one and that all parents should read it in an effort to increase their overall awareness of this issue.