Book Review: Author Robert Uttaro Share Powerful Stories Regarding Sexual Assault In ‘To The Survivors’

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Disclosure: This book is 100% my views, I was not compensated in exchange for it.

Author, Robert Uttaro didn’t decide to become a basketball or football player, neither did he choose to become a doctor, lawyer, or even a musician when he grew up. The only thing Robert knew was that he wanted to help people. And by helping people, who would have thought that it would have been as a Rape Crisis Counselor at a center, he refers to as “The Healing Place.” 

In the childhood section of his book “To The Survivors,” Robert discusses him taking a knife to a bathroom, getting in the tub, and putting small cuts starting from the elbows all the way down to his wrist. When asked by a friend what happened, he informed her that he fell into some thorns, and sadly she believed him. Without even questioning the whereabouts and/or what happened to make him fall in the first place. This incident had me thinking about various people whom I’ve come into contact with over the years who were maybe not looking so well one day, or they’d come to work, and you notice a strange bruise or even perhaps that something’s off with them. You ask, “Are you okay?” they more than likely will say, “Yes, they are,” or they’d say something like, “You know I was doing such and such and slipped.” And as a society, we take their words as solid truths and not say anything else about the matter. This makes me wonder… 

Could those people have really been in trouble and I not didn’t take notice?

Did I miss the signs or the red flags? 

Photo credit: Bing

Robert’s book is that of true stories (identities and places withheld for personal reasons) and the influential individuals he’s worked with over the years. Heroic individuals who wanted to share their vulnerability and traumatic stories of violence and sexual assault. 

This book is a valuable guide to read, as well as understand the different effects a survivor may be feeling. To me, while this book is regarding survivors of sexual violence. I believe the twenty-three mentioned impacts on an individual’s emotions, such as shame, guilt, loss of control, shock, embarrassment, suicidal tendencies, and many more. It can also be used for someone who experienced a terrible loss or tragedy. These symptoms are sure signs that anyone should be able to look for in an individual and offer help. 

While some people may find the stories within this book hard to read due to its nature and content, others will find it inspiring and motivating. It helps you feel as though you’re NOT alone, as you may even resonate with some of the individual stories. 

I feel everyone should know that there is HOPE and a LIFE after a sexual assault or tragedy. It may not seem like it because when you’re going or have gone through such a traumatic experience, it can feel like you’re the only one facing it or like the walls are closing in on you all at once. I know those feelings all too; well, I’m a sexual assault survivor myself. Moving forward wasn’t easy, but I had to see it as me surviving so that I may help someone else survive. I’m a firm believer that EVERYTHING we go through in life is not just our experiences, but we go through them to help others get through theirs, and in return, maybe they’d turn and help someone else. There’s a purpose for everything, even in damaged goods. You CAN and WILL live a healthy LIFE. You just have to chose if you’re going to allow your past or it’s negativity to KEEP you in a jail of bondage, regret, and shame over it. 

You have to determine when to put an expiration date on it and move forward. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) from Pexels

And this next word is the icing on the cake that’s going to help you move forward, and that’s FORGIVENESS! I know it’s cliché, but as we know and have heard, “Forgiveness is not for them, but it gives you Peace” Now I know forgiveness is hard, as this is another chapter in Robert’s book that really spoke to me. It’s easier said than done, trust me, I know. But forgiveness is so you can move on and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to the perpetrator. I’m also a believer in seed planting. Plant a bad one, you reap the benefits of whatever grows up from that seed. 

 ‘To The Survivors’ is a perfect example to show that you don’t have to be from the same place as someone else. Neither do you have to have experienced the same thing they’ve experienced? As Robert stated in his book, “Often our lives go in different directions than we plan or expect.”

A road or call from God, I should say, lead Robert Uttaro to a healing place to help bring blessings and healing to others. He answered the call, and because of it, many survivors have shared their stories and have helped others become heroic in sharing theirs. ‘To the Survivors’ is a book of hurt, heroism, and healing. The heroes are the ones that felt compelled to share their stories, but the main protagonist is the man, who felt the call, listened to the request, and acted upon it. Thanks, Robert, for allowing these influential voices to be heard.

If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, maybe it’s you, perhaps it happened many years ago, and you feel it doesn’t matter now. Well, let me tell you, IT DOES! Your voice matters, it matters for the many women and men that are afraid to SPEAK UP. Your voice could just be the chain reaction that helps someone else get the healing they desperately need.

Please reach out to a counselor, trusted friend, or family member, or call or find a rape crisis center near you. Robert Uttaro’s book “To The Survivors” is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo.  

Get Inspired to tell your story, Pick up your copy today!

A Survivor’s Story

Photo credit above via Roshonda – B Creative

By Amy Temple

As most of you know I have learning disabilities.

I’ve had to deal with all kinds of discrimination and rejections for most of my life.

However, what I’m about to confess is something that I hadn’t openly talked about to many people.

In junior high, I encountered a lot of bullying and harassment. Every day I was verbally and occasionally physically harassed. I’d get called all sorts of derogatory names, mocking my learning disabilities. There were trippings, pushes, and verbal threats.

Photo credit: Bullying hurts via Canva

I was so frightened to go to school. I would huddle up against the wall in between classes clutching my bookbag tightly. I would often go homesick.

The school administration really tried hard to get the abuse under control but it was a big school so there was only so much they could do.

After two years my parents finally moved away to another town.

I attended high school in a nice and quiet country town. What a relief it was to see friendly people and not be afraid I was going to be assaulted.

However, I dealt with a male student who asked me out frequently for over a year! He wouldn’t take no for an answer. I found all those familiar feelings of fear returning. I finally got a teacher to get him to back off.

I found myself dealing with some serious trauma issues. I dealt with anxiety, fear, and insecurity.

I wanted to be approved of so badly! I wanted to be free from all of my negative feelings. During my senior year, I thought maybe if I had the attention of a popular guy… all my mental problems would be over.

So, I mustered up the courage and asked one of them out.

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In the end, instead of it being lovers bliss. It ended up being a practical joke that the guy and his friend played on me. I felt like such a fool. Let me tell you that didn’t help my low self-esteem at all!

As I previously mentioned I dealt with discrimination and rejection in the workforce, too. No one would hire me because of my learning disabilities. A brilliant job opportunity fell through because co-workers lied about me.

Photo credit: Workplace harassment via Bing

When I was volunteering at a local retirement home, a male resident assaulted me by groping and attempting to kiss me.

With all of the trauma, I experienced I was a mess!

I spent years reading self-help books…it was much cheaper than therapy!

I could not understand why I was being treated like I was.

  • Why was I bullied?
  • Why was I harassed?
  • Why was I assaulted?
  • What is so wrong with me that nobody would hire me?
  • Why would someone lie about me so I wouldn’t be hired at was to be my only decent chance for a job?

I found it hard to trust. I pretty much kept to myself only spending time with my family.

I had imaginings of a bigger and better life but all of what I went through kept me away from pursuing it. I spent 30 years trying to improve my life, to overcome all that happened to me.

I thought plenty of times I had been healed but recently it all came to a nasty head. All the emotions that I been feeling came out one night and I cried! I vented to God for most of the night.

As the song states “Have a little talk with Jesus, Makes it Right!” and it sure did, I hadn’t felt that clear and at peace in a very long time!

I understand I may never forget what happened to me but I can honestly say I am starting to find ways to begin the bigger and better life I have been seeking.

I have come to understand I have to take life one day at a time. I have to keep pressing forward and not look back.

To my fellow survivors…

What happened to us was not our fault! We must continue on living and not give the abusers any more power.

You are just as worthy as anyone else, hence the song from Gloria Gaynor!

I WILL SURVIVE! I DID SURVIVE & SO WILL YOU!!