We Were the Least of These: Reading the Bible with Survivors of Sexual Abuse

by Elaine Heath. Brazos Press, 2011.

Using the Bible to further oppress or harm victims of sexual abuse is a relatively common biblical critique. Pastor, professor, and abuse survivor Elaine Heath counters that critique by offering abuse survivors a scriptural interpretation that helps them heal and recover. Among the scripture Heath covers are Esther, Psalms, and Isaiah. Along the way, Heath addresses prayer, gender, and communion and refers to contemporary films and books, such as The Secret Life of Bees and Little Miss Sunshine. Suggested activities and two sets of reflection questions end each chapter. One set of the questions is for survivors, and one set is for those who accompany survivors in their healing and recovery. An index, extensive notes, and a long list of recommended resources are additional aids for readers. This gentle and accessible work is appropriate for lay-people, clergy, therapists, and abuse survivors from various religious traditions.