Be Strong, Be Wise: The Young Adult’s Guide to Sexual Assault Awareness and Personal Safety

Morgan James. Jan. 2021. 152p. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781631950872.
Gr 9 Up–Carpenter, who is a psychotherapist, offers a valuable sexual safety guide for young adults. Resources are included for people to get support in dealing with their trauma. The text explains the origins of the #MeToo movement, which has empowered survivors to share their personal stories. Readers are encouraged to be proactive and evaluate their cognitive and behavioral strengths and weaknesses that impact their personal safety. The text provides specific strategies, such as developing a “herd consciousness.” True stories of sexual assault are incorporated throughout. Carpenter discusses her own experience of being assaulted, which occurred when she was an eight-year-old girl living in New Jersey. The text also talks about Audrie Pott, a 15-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by a group of her classmates at a house party. Her attackers circulated images of her sexual assault, which further added to Audrie’s trauma. A week later, she died by suicide. These stories illustrate that anyone can be a victim of sexual assault. The text uses a serious but conversational tone and features pertinent statistics. For example, according to the ACLU, “95 percent of rapes on college campuses go unreported.” Some of the incidents of sexual assault include graphic details; many of the safety tips pertain to social situations with dating and alcohol. The well-organized text features interactive questions. The audience is identified as young women, men, and gender-fluid people.
VERDICT A recommended addition to libraries serving high school and college students looking to provide resources about sexual safety.

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