Fortress Press

Touched: For Survivors of Sexual Assault Like Me Who Have Been Hurt by Church Folk and for Those Who Will Care


For Survivors of Sexual Assault Like Me Who Have Been Hurt by Church Folk and for Those Who Will Care

Shanell T. Smith (Author)


In Touched, author Shanell T. Smith makes visible the often silenced or ignored narratives of survivors of sexual violence. The book tells the author's story of her personal traumatic experience with sexual violence by a church leader and focuses on the responses that she received from people in the church (clergy and lay folk) once she "sounded the alarm." These responses either justified, ignored, or denied that the horrific act occurred, resulting in the author leaving that congregation.

As a survivor of sexual violence, an ordained minister, and a professor, Smith has heard many stories from other survivors. The circumstances of the sexual assault may differ, but a common thread among them all is the fact that these stories, in one way or another, have often been ignored.

Touched helps those who have experienced sexual assault give themselves permission to feel what they feel and to find strength to stand up to the counternarratives that come from those who do not understand or deny their trauma. And more, Touched helps readers learn how to respond effectively and compassionately to those who seek refuge and care.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506448152
  • eBook ISBN 9781506448169
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 176
  • Publication Date March 3, 2020


"Shanelle Smith guides readers on a soulful journey through the spiritual abuse church folk inflict when they silence, shame, and ignore survivors. But she does not leave us there. On she leads--down that slow, hard, but life-giving road to hope. To healing. To being better--for survivors, for ourselves."
—Linda Kay Klein, author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free, and founder of Break Free Together

"Shanelle Smith's book is profound, significant, troubling, difficult, and deeply faithful. Smith writes with characteristic practical and profound passion. She tells a candid story about the church and sexual assault--a story filled with practical wisdom for both survivors and those who love them. Touched is powerful realness and practical wisdom for anyone touched by sexual assault."
—Katherine A. Shaner, Wake Forest University, School of Divinity

"Touched is a transformative volume that professional caregivers desperately need. Shanelle Smith has provided a life-giving gift for wounded healers with a desire to help and not further harm those who find their way to us. The wisdom within these pages are a must read for people of faith in this new millennia in the age of #MeToo."
—Shelley D. Best, President & CEO The Conference of Churches and The 224 EcoSpace of Hartford, Connecticut