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.