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April 15, 2003; Page HE03

The Washington Post Review

Kids Helping Kids (Break the Silence of Sexual Abuse) (Lighthouse Point Press) takes an earnest approach to helping families deal with a problem that is as pervasive (CDC figures indicate that nearly 8 percent of high school students have had sexual intercourse against their will) as it is difficult to discuss.


Karen Linda Lee Foltz, who describes herself as a child sexual abuse survivor and a child rights advocate, does not claim any academic credentials. She says the book flows from her volunteer work in a child advocacy program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.


While "Kids Helping Kids" is pitched as a book that parents or other trusted adults can share with children, it distinguishes itself by having its message delivered almost entirely through the voices of young people who are recovering from their own experiences with sexual abuse.


The book's 15 chapters are devoted to the individual stories of young victims across a range of socioeconomic situations. The kids are especially helpful in pointing out that abusive acts "don't have to hurt, and sometimes they even feel good" and that it is essential for kids to keep trying until they get some one to listen.


Separate introductions for adults and children usefully outline the problem and emphasize that the problem, once confronted, can be addressed and that children can and do recover. The appended resources include contact information for advocacy groups and reading lists for parents and kids.

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