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Gil begins the book by outlining the case of Jennifer, who was subject to sexual abuse from the age of 2. Having run away from home and several foster homes, she turned to prostitution and panhandling and becomes pregnant by the age of 13. Jennifer was a seemingly hopeless case as she had suffered too long and too deeply. Yet she dug deep within and found the courage to cope with her problems effectively. On this inspiring note, Gil proceeds to give an overview of the book. She describes the term “adolescence” and gives us a history of its roots, explaining how social and political movements and changes have influenced our perception and understanding of these individuals. Adolescence is a crucial developmental period in the life of the individual and traumatic events that disrupt normal development may have lifelong implications for the victim. This is therefore a serious issue and one that has been largely ignored because of existing misconceptions about adolescents who are in a delicate transitional phase, where they are neither children nor adults.
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