What I did on my Summer Vacation - Surviving and helping others learn from a boyhood sexual abuse


By Paul M Hambke with Martin C Calder

A4 landscape paperback, 144 pages

Published 2010

This survivor's account of how he was helped to come to terms with being sexually abused throughout has boyhood provides opportunities for a wide range of people to learn what the author experienced. The main part of the book is:

  • a harrowing, first person account of the abuse suffered by the author from the ages of six to eighteen. It is graphically illustrated with the author's own drawings, which most people will find deeply upsetting
  • the author's account of his personal journey to come to terms with his abuse. Greatly assisted by art therapy, it offers unique opportunities for fellow survivors, child protection workers, therapists and even perpetrators who are receiving treatment from a professional. to see what can be learned about profoundly harmful abuse, pretending it, and charting a path to recovery if prevention fails

In the second part of the book Martin Calder:

  • crosschecks Paul's account with known theoretical frameworks of understanding and response
  • uses this knowledge to explain and enhance how we work with male survivors of abuse and their abusers
  • raises questions that any professional using Paul's book needs to consider

Martin's message to perpetrators is that we now 'have a clearer understanding of you behaviour...we are harnessing this knowledge into initiatives that will help us prevent your activities'. His message to survivors is that 'we are more familiar with the pathways you have been taken don, and we now have a much clearer map and compass to help you successfully chart a path to recovery'.

Paul's message is that 'someday, someone could come to you and tell you they've been assaulted in a similar way. It could be you own kid, or a friend. Or it could be you. Perhaps this book will help you prepare for that, and you'll be better able to handle it... I hope you find some benefit from it. Proceed at you own risk, but be kind and gentle to yourselves always'.

  • survivors may identify similar experiences and relate to them; and take some of the coping strategies used and apply them in their own circumstances
  • those concerned with helping victims of abuse can use the materials to show that they are not alone; and that impacts can be moderated and overcome with the right support and help
  • perpetrators of abuse need to hear and see the life-long impact of their behaviour and to be faced with this in the pursuit of accepting some responsibility
  • those concerned with changing the behaviour of abusers may integrate the messages in their intervention programmes
  • those concerned with protecting the vulnerable from abuse can use the mixture of messages to help develop keep safe strategies
  • those concerned with law and justice may need to rethink their high threshold for action when the harm experienced is so multi-faceted and enduring, and may be contingent on seeing the perpetrator held legally responsible for their actions

  • students, lecturers and practitioners in youth work, social work, criminology, psychology, and their libraries
  • survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • anyone with an interest in, or responsibility for, the safeguarding of children and young people
  • counsellors and therapists who work with both the survivors and the perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse
  • even perpetrators themselves who are receiving treatment from a professional

*Paul M Hambke*has been a professional writer and/or editor for twenty-six years, working as a newspaper reporter and editor, a university journalism professor and publications director, and in non-ficton book publishing. He has worked on survivor and recovery issues since 1986. What I Did On My Summer Vacation is his first book.

*Martin C Calder*is an internationally know trainer, consultant and author. Full details can be found at www.caldertrainingandconsultancy.co.uk.


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