More than 75% of sexually victimized children know and trust their abuser—and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison was once among them. Kayla, now an impassioned advocate for children and teens, was abused by her judo coach from ages 12 to 16. Combining Kayla's powerful story with science-based information from two renowned therapists, this unique book provides critical guidance for parents and professionals. Learn how to spot the signs that a child or teen is being groomed, why kids stay silent about their trauma, how they struggle with self-blame and the brutal betrayal of a trusted authority figure, what steps caregivers should take when abuse is discovered, and exactly what kind of help victims need to recover. Kayla Harrison is a true fighter—share her inspiring journey.
“A comprehensive resource for anyone faced with the devastating impact of childhood sexual abuse, including survivors, their families, and professionals. Kayla Harrison’s lived experience is interwoven with information and advice from two treatment experts in this compelling book.”
—Melanie Harned, PhD, ABPP, Research Director, Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, University of Washington
1. How Child Sexual Abuse Begins
2. Keeping the Secret
3. The Tipping Point: Breaking the Silence
4. Freedom with Its Own Chains: What to Expect after Disclosure
5. Recovery: A Long and Winding Road
6. Find the Way to Professional Help
7. From Victim to Survivor
8. How We Can Help: Prevention and Education
About the Authors:
Kayla Harrison began training in judo at age 6 and is the first American ever to win an Olympic gold medal in the sport, which she did in both 2012 and 2016. Yet her competitive success masked an unimaginable personal struggle. At the age of 16, she revealed that she had been sexually abused by her coach for years. Today, Harrison uses her gold medal profile, voice, and example, as well as her Fearless Foundation, to encourage and empower other survivors of child sexual abuse. Now retired from competing in judo, Harrison is moving into mixed martial arts with the Professional Fighter’s League. She lives and trains in Boston.
Cynthia S. Kaplan, PhD, is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Director of Trauma Training and Consultation in the Simches Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at McLean Hospital. She has worked with numerous survivors of child sexual abuse and is coauthor of Helping Your Troubled Teen.
Blaise Aguirre, MD, is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Medical Director of the 3East Dialectical Behavior Therapy program at McLean Hospital. He treats many adolescents who have been sexually abused and is author of Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents: What To Do When Your Teen Has BPD.