Author: Rebecca E Chandler
Year Published: 2023
“Nerdection to Read”
It Won’t Hurt None is a daring and emotional memoir by Rebecca E. Chandler where she recounts a long journey of facing her trauma to heal it. While this book is heartbreaking at times Chandler’s strength shines through the pages and illustrates how resilient the human spirit can be even in the worst situations.
When the author plans to have a painful fibroid tumor removed she discusses the potential for a hysterectomy with the doctor she calls Dr. Cutter. Chandler wakes up from her surgery and is told that her uterus was removed due to damage caused by endometriosis – something she had struggled with for some time. She struggles with the side effects and dysregulation of her body in the wake of the procedure as well as the emotional and psychological loss she felt of her womb being taken from her.
As she was struggling with one of the worst depressions of her life, she called upon a friend named Amelie who is a gifted empathic healer. She teaches her how to meditate to begin healing herself.
When Chandler was a child, from the ages of five to thirteen, she was sexually abused by her maternal grandfather, and the trauma that caused her had been carried with her for her entire life. To cope with the abuse her memories, feelings, and trauma were all separated and compartmentalized into different personalities based on the age she was when certain events took place. She was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D) because of this.
Throughout the book, we follow her through her career and travels. The author is truly an expert at starting a new life in unknown places, making friends in every new city, meeting potential lovers, and working on exciting contracts as a freelance producer. While she’s doing all that she’s also working with Amelie to heal herself and fully recover from the trauma she’s experienced.
They go on a powerful spiritual journey together where Chandler is able to talk with her other personalities and help harmonize them so she can be whole once more.
My Thoughts on It Won’t Hurt None
This is a very difficult book to read, not due to the writing or storytelling, but because of the subject matter. Chandler doesn’t hold back many details of her journey and because of that, there are many graphic descriptions of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her grandfather. I often had to pause reading and take a break before picking it back up.
With that being said, I think the story is one that needed to be told. People don’t talk about sexual assault often enough. The topic of rape culture is often brought up without mentioning the individual stories or the long-term effects that it has on survivors. In this story, Chandler talks about the shame, guilt, and fear she felt both during the attacks as well as decades later.
One aspect of her journey that stuck out to me was how she felt when her abuser died. Chandler hadn’t told anyone in her family that her grandfather had been assaulting and molesting her, so she was called to the hospital to visit him before he passed away. She and the fragmented identities were all torn on how to feel. Thirteen, the angry teenager, was happy and cheered while Seven, the scared and sad child, was saddened someone had died. There is no right way to handle a situation like that and I think that Chandler does an amazing job of sharing those complex emotions and feelings with the readers.
As someone who is very skeptical of the medical field and leans towards a more holistic approach, I could sympathize with the author about everything she went through. She highlighted a large issue in our society without really saying what it is, but so many doctors will ignore specific requests from patients if they’re overweight. She talks about gaining a significant amount of weight after the partial hysterectomy and her inability to avoid it even though she was eating healthy and working out excessively. Doctors would only tell her that her issues were stemming from her weight.
The highlight of the story, and by far the most difficult part to read, was when she was facing the fragments and trying to heal them all individually. She used a meditation practice taught to her by Amelie and she met them all face to face where she retold in detail what happened to her to cause the fragment to take form. She helped them realize what happened wasn’t their fault and that the only way to get better was to move forward.
One of the most heartbreaking moments was when the author took the first steps in her healing journey and told her mother about the abuse. She found out that there had been other girls in the past that her grandfather had abused and her mother knew about them. And she still, let her father around her children. After that Chandler talks a lot about how she didn’t feel like there were any adults to protect her – in fact, they enabled his behavior and turned a blind eye to the entire situation. One of the biggest fears of survivors is the reaction people will have when they come forward, and how her family treated her was awful. I can’t even begin to imagine how hurt and betrayed she felt.
The writing of the book was very personable. I felt like I was talking to the author and she was telling me about her journey over tea. She does an excellent job explaining how her fragments came to be and how she has managed with them her entire life. I loved that the ending was very hopeful, too. Chandler doesn’t consider herself a survivor anymore, she has faced her trauma and healed herself, and moving forward with a positive outlook.
Overall, I’d rate this book 4.5 stars. It’s something I think people who can handle the content should read because I think it provides a different perspective on the aftermath of abuse.
The audience for this book is 17+ due to the content and graphic descriptions.
Sexual assault, pedophilia, incest, molestation, child abuse, suicidal ideations
About the Author of It Won’t Hurt None
Rebecca E. Chandler is the author of It Won’t Hurt None and co-author of the companion journal Hurt No More – Build A Foundation to Heal. An avid storyteller, she pursued a full-time writing career after retiring from thirty years of producing film, TV, and marketing content around the world. Rebecca has visited more than 100 countries and lived in Egypt, Kenya, Dubai, and Singapore. She loves adventure, discovering new cultures, the savory delights of great street food, and finding treasures in local markets. Her next book is already in the works and explores international travel.