Blog Archives

Book Review Soul Rape: Recovering Personhood After Abuse

book cover Soul Rape

This has been the toughest book of my life to read! I found it to be a riveting and captivating journey into the living hell of abuse. It reminded me of the tremendous destructive damage of my own abuse from my schzophrenic father, damage that Dr. Ewart is being used by God to help heal. My mind went through a roller coaster of emotions reading it. I found myself crying for those who never recovered from their abuse and rejoicing with those who have.

The cases presented of lives destroyed by abuse are heart-breaking. Dr. Ewart describes abuse as a rape of the soul. Think about that word rape. Let all that word means to you sink deep inside you. Abuse causes its victim to be robbed of who God created that individual to be. Picture that beautiful child when it crys out for the first time. That infant is God’s perfect creation. Sadly, as Dr. Ewart discusses in his book, that beautiful child of God gets damaged by the viciousness and cruelty of abuse. The identity of self is attacked. The abuser seeks to destroy the true self and replace it with a false self that the abuser can control and manipulate.

When thinking how best to describe Soul Rape to you, the image of a cardiologist telling a patient that there is damage to their heart after a heart attack came to my mind. The specialist tells the patient that muscle around the heart has been damaged from a heart attack. That’s the bad news. The good news is that with proper treatment  further damage to the heart can be prevented. The awful news is that through the abuse, the Enemy attacks the body, mind and spirit. The great news is that we are given the power through the Holy Spirit and  proper training in Christian counseling and psychology to make a permanent positive change in the lives of those we counsel. The Enemy says the abused person is a piece of garbage, stupid, weak and will always be a failure. The Psalmist, David, speaks God’s truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm139:14);

Dr. Ewart equates abuse as being on the same level as murder. His critics may well say that this statement is a radical one. I disagree. I have been told by some who have counseled me about my abuse to get over it. One professional told me,”Other people have been abused and they get on with their lives. What makes you so special that you haven’t recovered from your abuse?” These are some of the judgmental thoughts many abused people are exposed to. It is in many instances regarded as the family secret that must remain hidden and never ever talked about. Men are raised to suck up the abuse they experienced and get on with life. Tough men are not abused. It is only weak men who admit that.

My abuse was a killing of that child, who so much wanted to do so many things with his life, to dream dreams as high as Mount Everest. My father in his manic rages killed the joyful child. His destructive negative programming comes back in these haunting spirit-killing words. “You’re lazy. You’re weak. You’re stupid. You’ll always be a failure. Your brother is smarter than you’ll ever be. I wish you had never been born!” Those who say abuse is not on the same level as murder need to think again. When I would prove to my father that I was not stupid, I would get beaten or belittled, so I played the role my father gave me of being far less than my Lord wanted me to be. It was safer to do that; it kept me alive.

Dr. Ewart is encouraging that joyful child to live again. No dream no matter how impossible it seems is beyond reach when God is in it. The songs that I am writing are more filled with the child-like joy that my Father wants me and all of us to have.I am not sending out multiple links about my writing and song writing to prove to people I am worthy, that I am not a failure. I know more abojut who I am. As I take that road to further healing I discover more insights about who I truly am. More people want to engage in conversation with me because I am letting them see the real me with both my strengths and my weaknesses.

The child live who loves to tell stories, have our cats do a kitty dance as I sing to them, — to enjoy being alive and help others heal from their abuse is living again. I am embracing the joy of learning more difficult pieces like Ave Maria and You Raise Me Up thanks to Christ’s healing power over my life and  the wise guidance of Dr. Ewart.

Dr. Ewart highlights that one of the main signs a child has been abused is that nothing they ever do pleases their abuser. You can get 95 on a test. That’s not good enough. It should have been 100. I could never do enough as a child to gain my father’s approval. The abused deal with an impossible task of never being a failure and yet failing at the same time. You dare not surpass your abuser’s expectations of you and yet if it is deemed you’re not trying hard enough, you get punished for that. The abused person whether it is a child or adult is set up for failure. You must fail to not be beaten or killed.

Dr. Ewart says this wounded self then lives up to the limited expectations set for it by its abuser. When you are told over and over again that you are a failure, you begin to believe that hate-filled negative programming. It is so sad that many abused children because of this false self that is created engage in destructive behaviours such as drug and alcohol addiction or in being promiscuous. There is that ever-growing poisonous venom that attacks the beautiful soul God created. The victims of sexual abuse then can go on to hate the gender who abused them and seek their destruction. If a father says to his daughter, she is a prostitute ,why then not get paid for it and at the same time manipulate all men? Men then become the enemy to be destroyed. It is like they are attacking their father.

You will want so many times to stop reading this book. Don’t. The lives that have been transformed by Dr. Ewart will have you cheering. Some have gone on to be ministers, professors, chaplains and psychotherapists. He says the abused who receive counseling for their abuse make the best counselors and therapists.

It takes one who has been so wounded by their abuse to truly understand the full gravity of the suffering the abused experience.Dr. Ewart, Father Paul as I lovingly call him, was physically and emotionally abused by his father as a child. I encourage you to read his touching and powerful story in this book. Abuse is their cross. It is a heavy cross, but it is also a transforming one that leads the abused from bitter defeat to sweet victory. The victim can become the victorious healer. That is who I am.. I believe in the silent prayers and in the terror of the night of all the abused, that is who they seek to be.

Please note: Dr. Heyward Ewart has asked that I provide a link for their school, St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. He says you can find out more information on their web site about how you can support its ongoing work. Here it is If you are interested in purchasing the book you can do this through amazon.

Kevin Osborne, B.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, BTh Canada Christian College & Graduate School, D.D., D Sc., Diplomate in Creative Ministry and his wife, Karen, B.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, graduate divinity student Trinity College University of Toronto, are graduate Christian counseling students at St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin is a certified Christian counselor. He is a member of The Word Guild, a Christian writer’s group in Canada.