Debra Meyers and Mary Sue Barnett have published two anthologies over the last two years that address the crisis our society faces regarding sexual assault. Sexual assault, while an important theme in both projects, was not the only focus. As a result these two projects, Hating Girls (Brill, 2021) and Crisis and Challenge (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020), have reified for us the enormous problem as well as its complexity specifically related to religion in our society. Thus, a third anthology focused solely on spiritual healing after sexual assault is warranted.
Typically social services that do not address the spiritual healing necessary for many assault victims ignore the cultural and spiritual resources that could be deployed in a victim’s struggle to heal. Most victim assistance focuses on housing, counseling, peer support, skill building, and healthcare often with little regard to culturally specific needs of the victims since the numbers of victims are often overwhelming for financially strapped organizations. But ignoring the spiritual needs of these victims may actually further traumatize them.
Given our increasing diversity in the United States, sexual assault victim services need to address the needs of survivors from specific cultural communities. Culturally competent programs are needed to integrate resources, including spiritual ones, that will meet the needs of sociocultural identities of marginalized populations in particular. Thus, there is a tremendous need for this book as a pathway to recovery for many victims of sexual assault.