Letters to A Teenage Girl About Sex and LoveBook - 2017
On a winter night at a prestigious New England boarding school, two teenage girls compared secret love letters male teachers had written them. One girl kept a journal and recorded the events that followed. The other, years later, took her own life.
When her own daughter was 16, Kathleen Buckstaff, author and former Los Angeles Times columnist, developed severe stomach pain and within a few months lost thirty pounds. Doctors eventually determined she was suffering from PTSD. As she reviewed her old journals, Kathleen had to face painful truths. When she discovered the two teachers were still teaching, she felt obligated to do everything possible to protect current students.
Kathleen interviewed over 60 college students, recent graduates, healthcare professionals, self-defense instructors, and professors. In letters to a teenage girl, Kathleen revisits the events that changed her life and the lives of her closest friends, drawing from her interviews to describe what she wishes she had known about sex, predators, self-defense, and love.
Get Savvy also includes a journal section with reflection questions, in which Kathleen offers a practice of self-love, kindness, and respect, and encourages the reader to take time to get to know herself.
Get Savvy can be used as a reference book in Health and Sexuality education classes. It covers bullying, resisting peer pressure and how to create positive social alliances. Get Savvy also addresses what to say to someone who has been sexually assaulted or raped; how to identify an abusive relationship; what to say to someone who is depressed and may be suicidal; what to say to someone who may have an eating disorder. Get Savvy covers how to ask someone on a date; how to talk about sexual boundaries; what consent looks like; how to identify predatory behavior; verbal language around self-defense; how to intervene and help as a bystander; bystander training; and how to get help for oneself or a friend who is suffering from PTSD, mental illness, or sexual trauma. Get Savvy specifically deals with suicide prevention and lists warning signs and prevention strategies.
Get Savvy also includes mindfulness training, the cultivation of compassion and healthy boundaries, and encourages the exploration of one's inner guide, gifts, and goals. Get Savvy teaches self-love, respect and resilience. It is a resource tool for teens, both male and female, parents, educators, healthcare providers and community leaders.
It is astonishing to learn that Buckstaff didn't start out intending to share her own story of sexual trauma. Her courage in confronting this deeply damaging personal experience is what brings cohesion to the 60-plus exhaustive interviews she conducted to create this powerful, unsettling but ultimately inspiring and affirming book. Though intended to help teenage girls navigate sex and love, Get Savvy is a blueprint for recovery that offers hope to anyone at any age who has experienced any kind of emotional trauma. -Karen Barr