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Authors reckon with the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse

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Courtesy of Hatchette Books and Red Hen Press

This episode of Speakers Forum centers around three very different experiences of childhood sexual abuse. However, all three guests consider the responsibility of caregivers to prevent abuse and the difficulty of demanding justice decades after the crime.

‘I wish I could have told him, scream, and then scream louder, I'm here, and we will bring this to an end.’ Joan Nockels Wilson

Joan Nockels Wilson is a lawyer and writer based in Anchorage, Alaska. Her 2021 memoir, The Book of Timothy: My Brother, The Devil, and Me, recounts her attempt to find justice for her brother Tim Nockels. Tim was abused by a Catholic priest during their childhood in Chicago. Joan writes about their shared childhood, her life in Anchorage, and finally her travels to confront her brother’s abuser in Rome.

Tim Nockels is a financial advisor based in Chicago. He’s worked in finance for over 30 years. He decided to come forward with his story after reading about similar sexual abuse by Catholic priests in an expose reported by the Boston Globe.

Erika Schickel is an author, memoirist, and voice actor. Her 2021 memoir, The Big Hurt, explores her experience as a young girl coming of age in the '70s and '80s. Raised by two writers, she was sent to an East Coast boarding school after her parents’ divorce. There, she started a relationship with a predatory teacher. That abuse ended with Schickel being punished and expelled from her preparatory high school.

The way our culture confronts sexual abuse and aids survivors has gained increased media attention in recent years, but prevention and treatment measures are still far from adequate. According to the Centers for Disease Control: “Child sexual abuse is a significant but preventable public health problem. Many children wait to report or never report child sexual abuse. About 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys experience child sexual abuse at some point in childhood. 91% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child or child’s family knows."

This program was presented on January 13, 2022 by the Elliott Bay Book Company.

Please note: This episode contains discussion of sexual abuse and unedited language of an adult nature.

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