Donald D'Haene's "Father's Touch" has been compared to Elie Wiesel's
starkly written "Night". Both are tales of horror, courage and survival,
presented in simple, strong prose which seems almost matter-of-fact at times,
yet has a powerful effect on the reader. The topic is timely, as daily
more victims come forward to charge those who sexually abused them as children.
D'Haene's book is a message of courage, hope, and survival to those
struggling with the long-reaching psychological consequences of sexual abuse
at the hands of someone they trusted. D'Haene was only five years old
when his father, an intelligent but deeply
troubled man, introduced him to "the game". In time, his older brother and
younger sister also became victims of their father's incestuous perversion.
The parents were Belgian immigrants and the family, Jehovah's Witnesses
in a small community in Ontario, lived an insular, isolated life-style.
When, after years, the religious community became aware of his father's behavior,
they "disfellowshipped" him and viewed it as sin, but not as a matter that
should be taken to law enforcement. It was not until D'Haene was grown
that his father was charged and tried for his crimes. D'Haene writes of his
own ongoing struggles with issues of trust, sexual
orientation, and feelings of being an outcast, and also of his attempts
to help his mother and siblings both economically and emotionally.
Despite its bleak subject matter, "Father's Touch" is a survivor's healing,
positive account of how he was able to salvage a meaningful, happy life
from the wreck of his early years.