by T.O. Walker Singing Dragon, 2017 Review by Christian Perring on Mar 27th 2018
This short monochrome graphic novel doesn't so much tell a story as explore themes about the effects of sexual abuse of young people. Most pages are split into 4 panels, and have rather crudely drawn pictures showing a haunted child and abusive or passive adults. There is writing too, expressing anger at parents and authorities who just allow abusers to do what they want. There are also images of self-harm and bottles of alcohol, with some words about the need to escape. Nearer the end of the book there are some statistics about the prevalence of sexual abuse and the low rates of reporting. There's reference to some news reporting of childhood sexual abuse, although they are from the UK and so will mean less to readers from other countries. The overall tone of the book is grim and angry, but there are also more positive images of happiness between children and adults.
Presumably the main readership for Not My Shame is adults who have been abused as children who want to process their feelings. But there are dangers -- one might wonder about triggering difficult emotions, or just feeling upset after reading the book, with no therapeutic gain. So use of the book might be best when the adult is in therapy and is actively supervised.