I have owned this book since it came out in 1991, and I use it as a therapeutic tool to help children talk about their sexual abuse. It reaches out to sexually abused children in a way that books written by adults simply cannot because the child-author wrote it as part of her post-disclosure counseling. While the publisher states it's an excellent resource for nonprofessionals, I would strongly disagree! The story is intense - the author's uncle molested her, threatened that bad things would happen if she told, and then is arrested. The child finds out that her parents still love and support her, and the system actually works to support her and incarcerate the abuser. Children who have been sexually abused experience the author's emotions, and are not terrified by the story, while using this book with a child who hasn't been sexually abused has the potential to frighten and disgust him/her. This is why it needs to be used by MH professionals working with children. We are the ones who are trained to assess the situation, determine if using the book is appropriate with a particular child/client, and then help children deal with the guilt and shame caused by disclosing their secret of abuse.
The book doesn't tell children how to navigate through the mess that results from telling about abuse, nor is it meant to do so. The fact is that children who disclose sexual abuse - or abuse of any kind - may not be treated as wonderfully as the author was - a truly ugly fact about our child protection services, law enforcement response, and involvement with the Prosecutor's office. This doesn't mean that children shouldn't tell about their abuse - it just means that the system is set up to punish perpetrators, and defense attorneys are in place to protect alleged perpetrators, which means that children often get ground up in this system. There is a need for a book that helps children through that process - I often think about writing one! Children often tell me that they feel like they are the ones being punished by placement in foster care and having to testify. Again - this book does not deal with these issues, nor is it meant to do so. This is why it needs to be a professional resource - so that we can help line up the support the child needs after they disclose the abuse. It is, however, an excellent resource for professionals who suspect that a child's aberrant behaviors are linked to non-disclosed sexual abuse, and need to provide their client with support to Please Tell.