Incest a new crime
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
This book is an essential memoir in the field of education. The education of young children and then teenagers. They are confronted to all kinds of ambiguous and contradictory experiences and they have to build up their own psyches and visions of the world from what they understand, experience and at times suffer in the world.
This book deals with a recent historical period when some incestuous practices
that had been common place and perfectly neglected by . . .
Donald D’Haene’s Father’s Touch is a compelling read, albeit not for the faint-hearted. Actor and columnist, the irrepressible D’Haene recounts the horrors of his and his siblings’ childhood sexual abuse by their father.
Throughout Father’s Touch the author’s seemingly dispassionate voice is all the more poignant, a mechanism which enabled him to survive not only his own pain, but also the pain he felt on behalf of his mother, brothers and sister. But the book contains much that is unexpectedly enjoyable, thanks to D’Haene’s ironic sense of humor, lively writing style and the upbeat outlook on life he has achieved in recent years. D’Haene has many cards up his sleeves with which he tantalizes the reader into being unable to put the book down.
The relevance and educational value of Father’s Touch are heightened by its dissimilarity to the customary dark and often self-absorbed exposes in the writing genre of personal revelation. And for all who have experienced sexual abuse, directly or indirectly, Father’s Touch is a gift of encouragement, faith and hope.
Patricia Black, Arts Reviewer
Whenever I think about Donald's book, I think about ghosts. Ghosts inhabit the past of many of us, and the horrors of Donald's past abuse and victimization are small evidence of the ghosts who inhabit his. "Father's Touch" tells the story of Donald D'Haene's past to all of us. If you were ever to ask if ghosts were real, "Father's Touch" tells you that Donald's are. He lives with them everyday. They are with him constantly; interrupting him and drawing him back to his past.
This is a story of surviving at a cost. Each member of the D'Haene family pays a high price for their recovery. Donald's solution is clearly exposed: movies that run in his head, film clips that grab his consciousness and return him to his past. "Objects are closer than they appear" is a frightening metaphor of Donald's experience and that of his mother, sister and brothers. This family was done a grave injustice through blindness and ignorance. They were treated badly by a system that was meant to protect them.
This is an amazing story. I was shocked when I read it. It wasn't the story that shocked me or the details of the abuse; I had heard those before. "Father's Touch" shocked me because it is the D'Haene story, the Donald D'Haene story, told true...
We cannot escape our ghosts; they follow us at every turn in our lives, like fate.
Donald D'Haene has produced a most remarkable and moving book. As a child, Donald and his brother and sister were repeatedly and over an extended period of time sexually abused by their father. After considerable time, treatment and healing, Donald turned to the criminal Courts to prevent his father from sexually abusing his second family. Unfortunately Donald's experience with the criminal justice system only served to re-victimize the family. By this telling memoir, those involved in the administration of the justice system can hopefully be more sensitized to the needs of those who legitimately turn to the Courts for help.
Scott Ritchie, LLB., QC.
By all rights this book should be unrelievedly grim, and certainly there are bits that make the reader feel sick at heart. But a large part of what makes Father's Touch such a compelling read, is the courage and decency that this family maintain in escaping their chronically abusive father and heroically striving to pull each other free of the wreckage. The generosity of D'Haene's treatment of all his subjects is profoundly moving; never more so than when he stares at his father's mug shot when he's finally booked on criminal charges and feels a measure of pity for the sadness and shock now registered in that face. If only the father had been fractionally capable of the same when beholding his own innocent children.
Columnist, The London Free Press
Father's Touch is a memoir that should be required reading for every adult in every community. The painful reality of childhood sexual abuse emerges from the detailed portrait of D'Haene's family. This sexual abuse takes place in the context of physical and psychological violence in a family that is not unlike thousands of Canadian families. The "Hell on Earth" as the judge who heard this case confirmed in describing the childrens' lives is a testament to the importance of public education and prevention programs to eliminate sexual abuse. What should be disturbing to the reader is the fact that friends, family, neighbours, and the justice system contributed to the childrens suffering by their ignorance, denial, and minimization of the abuse...
Peter G. Jaffe, Ph.D., C. Psych.
Executive Director, Centre for Children & Families
Professor, Dept of Psychology
University of Western Ontario
An evocative tale that cuts to the quick of human existence. Despite the horror of his upbringing, Donald D'Haene infuses moments of great light, and even humour, into his narrative. There isn't anyone who won't be able to relate to this powerful and compelling tale, which combines great insights with a natural story-telling ability.
Judy Liebner, Columnist
The London Free Press
This work is stunning! It is stunningly brutal yet almost gentle in the telling. It is stunningly intimate yet objective in the telling. It is several first persons - complex and compelling - interwoven yet explicit. And it is shockingly descriptive of the most horrific of childhoods told as the thinking Donald must have observed and the other Donald inhabited. A must read. A stunning read!
I was one of Donald's teachers - had no idea. I knew Donald was different - knew he was alone - knew he was harassed. My hope was to make my classroom as safe and secure as I could. And hope that Donald could find interest or at least learn as much as possible. It seems folly now and yet it doesn't.
Superintendent of Human Resource Services
Thames Valley District School Board
When Happiness is a Miracle . . .
Donald D'Haene's courage is equalled only by his far-reaching candour. His moving memoir of child abuse is almost equally about spiritual and judicial maltreatment -- D'Haene's father the active abuser, his church leaders and the courts . . .
Father's Touch is a powerful, very well written book. As a fellow victim, it was a very emotional read for I really felt D'Haene's pain. I am proud a male survivor had the guts to write his story.
Survivor of Sexual Abuse, Ontario, Canada
A brave account of a life’s journey: a man who has risen above it all. True confessions of a child’s innocence taken away. All people must join together to protect all our children. A definite must for all sexual abuse survivors to read.
Sexual Abuse Survivor
Niagara Falls, Canada