Stolen Beauty - a non-fiction self-help by Amy Madden

Amy Madden grew up with a brutal stepfather who committed unspeakable acts of sexual and emotional abuse against her and her siblings.  This led to a miserable existence filled with shame, self-doubt, anger, and fear.  She, like many survivors of abuse, felt as though her true self—the inner spirit and beauty she once possessed as a child—was irretrievably taken from her.

In her book, Stolen Beauty: Healing The Scars Of Child Abuse-One Woman’s Journey, Amy Madden shares an autobiographical account of how it is possible to move on from the horrors of sexual child abuse and discover a place of understanding and peace.

“…I couldn't move. Was he going to beat me? He came forward and wrapped one hand around the back of my neck; something that would become customary. I cried out in fear and winced as he pushed me into his bedroom and ordered me to sit on the bed. He stood in front of me and began unbuckling his belt. I felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck, replacing the burning feeling his fingers had left. But instead of taking his belt off to hit me, as I was expecting, he dropped his pants…I didn't want to look at him…I was confused and nauseated…”
-From Stolen Beauty-

Only through a long, soul-searching process and gradual determination to overcome the damage that had been caused was Madden able to break through to new emotional and spiritual ground. A combination of therapy, study, prayer, and forgiveness enabled her to overcome past trauma and find her own inner strength and spirit.

Unbelievably, she was able to write a letter of forgiveness.  Here is an excerpt from a letter she wrote to her stepfather, the man who abused her for most of her childhood.

“I am writing you this letter to let you know that I am sorry you had to spend the last nine years of your life in prison.  However, I hope you were able to use your time wisely in reflection so that you understand that what you did to me, my sisters, and the other small children you abused was wrong.  I hope you have received help…You stole the innocence of my childhood and replaced it with something ugly and perverted…I can only believe that you were blinded by your anger and resentment and the pain of your own neglect or abuse…Therefore, I can forgive you…”
-From Stolen Beauty

Stolen Beauty offers hope to any individual with a history of abuse who is struggling to emerge into the light where their true self can be reclaimed. Madden’s story will encourage and strengthen survivors of abuse, while also helping abusers to come to a place of understanding and recognition of the damage done.

Few autobiographical books raise the possibility of building a bridge between past abuses and a better life—a life that does not involve a continuing cycle of abuse or downward spiral into patterns of self-abuse. Madden’s story is one of triumph and hope, and will give others the encouragement and faith needed to move on.

“Child abuse doesn’t have to end tragically. There are ways to overcome our past. It’s never too late to start believing again. It’s never too late to recover the faith you’ve lost. It’s never too late to rediscover who you truly are.” – Amy Madden

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