I show my scars so that others can heal.
Beautifully Broken is a powerful memoir living with — and overcoming — a legacy of emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual assault. With raw honesty and true courage, Reema Sukumaran recounts what it was like growing up with a mother who was emotionally broken and details her experiences of abuse from several of the men whom she trusted. Hers is a story of survival, hope, and healing. This book offers no easy answers — no empty promises that a strong faith or positive attitude will fix everything. Rather, Beautifully Broken demonstrates how someone who has been shattered by abuse and assault can become whole again. With vulnerability and, at times, a touch of humor, this book will encourage others who have survived rape and domestic violence. It is a powerful witness to all that while the path towards healing may be difficult, by God’s grace it is possible to get there, and the journey can be filled with meaning, beauty, and love.
Beautifully Broken is a compelling memoir by Reema Sukumaran. I was so drawn in by the story that once I began reading, I simply couldn’t put it down until the last page.
This book skillfully weaves together the powerful effect of family, faith and friends on a young woman’s life and how she lived it.
Here we learn that there are realities around us that we may never suspect, but which are the daily life of a friend, a neighbour, a classmate.
No other book that I have read has had such an impact on me in the last year as Beautifully Broken. Get it. Read it. Share it. Reflect on the reality.
This is easily the book with the greatest influence you will read this year.
In her debut book, “Beautifully Broken” the author, Reema Sukumaran takes painstaking effort in chronicling her life’s journey of rejection and abuse; which at times summons the reader to take a deep breath of introspection while at other times exhale the venomous hatred towards the perpetrators of her pain.
The opening chapters of the book are filled with such heart wrenching events that the reader may want to put it aside for a few hours or days before attempting to press forward. What propels one to keep reading lies in the belly of the title “Beautifully Broken”. For it is in the title that we know solace will find a resting place. The author’s use of skillful story telling, rich humor-like the time her father greeted her after a class trip with goats as part of the welcome back party is just too funny yet painful all at the same time. Additionally, unheralded transparency, and sound clinical perspective, is what will get you through to the end of this book.
The carvings of what is to be the making of this beautifully broken woman of God is the craving that will indeed catapult each reader to stop hiding behind the cold wall of silence to become the voice on the stage of boldness, for those victimized by any type of abuse.
There are four principal characters cited in this, book: a stern and abusive father, a timid and disengaged mother, a charismatic and predator chaplain, and finally a dismissive and silent church. Against this backdrop the narrator pushes through her pain and abuse to arrive at the door of wholeness. She becomes liberated and restored to tell her compelling story in order to change lives, including the life of the church.
While the book resonates with painful accounts of events one cannot ignore the well placed profound lines that give one’s spirit a lift. One such poignant line comes when the narrator crossed enemy territory to come to terms with her own vindictiveness: “For many years, I had wondered why my mother’s touch upset me. She loved hugs and snuggles from my boys and her other grandchildren. Only I withheld this loving touch from her. Was I punishing her? That was not like me. Tears flowed.”
Once you dive into the deep end of this book you will find that it will stir in you the need to stand for every child whose voice may remain silent out of fear, retribution, or shame. It will call you to take action after laying down the book to stand in the corner of the broken.
Though this is a book filled with pathos and heart wrenching experiences that no individual seeks or deserves; it ends with a “Beautifully Broken “ woman on her triumphant march. A must read!!
Did you ever look at a person and think, WOW, an incredible professional husband, six wonderful sons, a lovely home, and believe, jealousy, am sure she has had a comfortable and lucky life; and is living the dream.
Then you find out someone broke her.
What an encouraging story of hope and healing.
I loved sitting and reading this memoir. It is honest, raw, real……
It paints a concise and revealing picture of growing up in a home with abuse and/or dysfunction (or both). I would think that this book may take you to some remembrance of your own lives – at times I felt tearful, at times angry, sometimes relieved – sharing in the emotions of each chapter.
I would encourage you to read this book, and be inspired by the ability to rise above your circumstances.
Reema’s story is powerful, tragic, and so full of hope. She relives her journey through a fractured chain of events that made up the first quarter century of her life, and comes out a reassembled, scarred, yet stronger version of herself… and best of all, she knows that she is God’s favorite. If you need hope and healing from all that life has thrown at you, read this book, it will change your life.
This is a story of healing from emotional and physical abuse on the one hand, and rape on the other. But to make matters worse, it is also a story of church people, church leaders, church employees choosing to ignore what they suspected, or to outright turn a blind eye after a predator was reported. Reema writes with an honest vulnerability, frankly telling her story, and it’s clear that being able to articulate this story is a part of her healing process. Her story is an encouragement that healing is possible.
But this story is also a warning to pastors, teachers, and church leaders. Get trained in trauma response, and how to identify abuse and grooming. Listen to those gut feelings that tell you something isn’t right, even when the adult involved is a respected and loved leader, and follow up on Mandated Reporter responsibilities. So much of the pain in this story could have been avoided if one teacher or principal had simply asked a few questions and followed through.
Reema faced some scary demons in her life. Abuse is such an evil thing, because it not only victimizes us when it is initially happening, but it also victimizes us again when things trigger the pain, when we can’t share about it, when it is denied by the very people who cause it. Reema did a beautiful job of bringing to light the traumas of her childhood and young adulthood, and the price she paid for having had these things happen to her. It took a few decades to work through these things, and with the help of many loving friends and an adoring husband she was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and make her way toward it. She brought to the forefront issues that happen to many of us, but we are too ashamed to talk about. And she does it in a way that lets us know that she not only made it through all of that, but did it with grace, kindness and humour. Every memoir that gets written makes me hope that many more people will write their “story”. If not for the public, then for themselves. We are as sick as our secrets. And once we let them out, we see the precious gift to life that we always were – even if our fathers don’t see it! Thank you Reema!
Survival, Hope and Healing
On my site you will hear my story about some pain and suffering that threatened to rob me of a life I yearned for. I have been through so much yet I am on this side of the darkness that once overtook my world. I know that only with God by my side, with the love of family and friends, I am able to face each day.
With a much healthier mind, body and spirit, I am on a mission of service. I would like to share with you my story of survival, hope, and healing. I have come a long way and yet some days are still hard. I have learned and continue to learn tools that allow me to breath through a rough spot. I have learned that there is so much pain everywhere and I am not alone.
Through my book, speaking engagements and coaching, I help others learn what steps they can take to protect others from inappropriate sexual behavior, and to help someone who has been sexually abused.
You may be struggling, hurting, trying to help someone, or looking for ways to give guidance for pastors, teachers, or leaders in any organization. It is my hope that you will find support, understanding, encouragement, and healing as I share my journey.
I believe that God has a plan and purpose for everyone’s life. This is my journey and what led me to mine.
My God Given Purpose
Hi, my name is Reema.
At the age of 22, I was raped by my pastor.
That traumatizing experience shaped the next 25 years of my life as I struggled to find self worth, purpose and trust, specifically within the church again.
But God is an amazing God who can create beauty, from what we believe is worthlessness.
By His grace, today I share my story and teach leaders of any organization how to protect themselves and their members from inappropriate and dangerous sexual behavior.
My seminars teach you:
· How to identify inappropriate behavior
· How to protect yourself and your members from unhealthy sexual situations
· How you can minister or address these issues more effectively as a leader
· What necessary and healthy boundaries should be in place
· How to put accountability and support in place for your leaders
· How to empower victims within your establishments bringing forth unity and healing
There are too many people hurting and too many more that could get hurt if we don’t start taking a stand on this topic.
We need to speak openly and work proactively to keep our churches, schools and places of work safe.
Despite the seriousness of the topic, it is important to me that my seminars are engaging, personable and even humorous at times! My mission is to make people comfortable about this topic so together, we can start creating change.
For more information on my seminars, visit my Seminars Page for a detailed description of course outlines.
…Her courage to be so vulnerable about an experience that was so deeply personal
was amazing to me. As I sat in the quiet auditorium filled with people, I was thankful that
she was brave enough to share, that she was brave enough to not be silent anymore
…Through Reema’s testimony our pastors were able to understand the deep long lasting results of sexual abuse on a victim that take years, if not a lifetime to heal….Reema’s presentations gave us the opportunity to implement greater safeguards and policies to protect our students and church members in our Conference and throughout our sister Conference in Canada. I highly recommend that you invite Reema to your next presentation on abuse.
Reema speaks from a real place. She shares her brokenness in a way that invites others to look at their brokenness…Reema helped me acknowledge and deal with my own abuse at a time that was crucial for me. Yes abuse happens in the church in our schools in our homes. Speaking this truth opens the heart to God for spiritual healing.
…Reema’s story is compelling, horrible, and miraculous all at the same time…She is authentic, down to earth, and very approachable. A teacher by profession, she has a way of using her story to educate and give hope. She is healing, slowly, and willing to take you on her journey.