Happenings Lifestyle Reader Contributed

Launch Event for ‘Hurt, Healing, and Hope: Thriving Beyond Sexual Assault’ in West Hartford on Saturday, May 20

Melissa Lombardo. Courtesy photo

A Connecticut author’s debut book reveals insights into trauma and healing after sexual assault with first-person accounts that share a path to hope. 


Hurt, Healing, and Hope: Thriving Beyond Sexual Assault,” is a journey of many emotions and unrelenting obstacles, meant to be shared as a resource, reference, and performance piece ultimately leading the way forward. With her debut publication, Connecticut author Melissa B. Lombardo reveals rare insights into healing from one survivor’s perspective, accompanied by thought-provoking stories inspired by other survivors.

The dynamic volume, being published on May 20, delivers a collection of interwoven monologues detailing true stories of hurt and healing post-sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, and the aftereffects. Each story, told from the first-person point of view, includes perspectives from healing allies offering support to survivors.

“Hurt, Healing, and Hope” powerfully puts forth a variety of situations surrounding the topic of sexual violence and the effects it has on the survivor. Healing and Hope are present, but this publication does not ignore the immense long-term hurt that takes place, while also sharing statistics of sexual violence and taking a reader through one survivor’s non-linear healing process.

“Moving from victims to thrivers is a complex journey, one aided by the reversal of our silence. In ‘Hurt, Healing, and Hope: Thriving Beyond Sexual Assault,’ Ms. Lombardo returns our voices to us, shaping the way we can hold ourselves in compassion and still reclaim our power…” said Dr. Bridget Cooper, best-selling author of “Pain Rebel & Little Landslides.”

The piece contains interwoven monologues developed from true, shared traumatic experiences of real survivors. Lombardo’s mission and hope are that from reading or listening to and connecting with one of the stories the monologues tell, other survivors will be encouraged to take the path of healing and thriving for themselves – or to help another do the same.

Lombardo is a Glastonbury native who lived in Central America for two decades and currently resides in West Hartford. She knows first-hand the silence surrounding the topic of sexual violence. It was through the support of friends and family that she navigated the path of vulnerability to begin speaking out and supporting the healing of others who have faced their own trauma.

“Hurt, Healing, and Hope” is not only a book and performance piece, but also includes original illustrations by Nicaraguan artist, Eduardo Arias Cruz, study guide questions, resources, a reference section, and space for a reader or performer to take notes and journal their own hurt, healing, and hope.

“Sharing individual experiences, and showing their similarities and differences, will hopefully inspire others facing the trauma of sexual assault to believe that there can be healing and hope after the life-changing hurt, and everyone’s journey is their own,” explained Lombardo. “My drive to write is inspired by an ever-increasing desire to help others, to light the way to what’s possible and truly within reach. I credit writing as one of the reasons I was able to heal. I founded “Write, Heal, Thrive” based off the inspiration that writing became a way for me to heal, and through healing, I moved from hope into thriving, something I continue to do each day.”

For information on purchasing the book and the performance license, and to learn more about Melissa Lombardo, and Write, Heal, Thrive, visit www.writehealthrive.com. Books will be on sale via Melissa’s website as well as other online sites. A portion of all book sales will benefit area rape crisis centers in Connecticut.

The book launch will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2023, from 3-5 p.m. in the banquet hall of the Universalist Church, 433 Fern Street. The event will be held indoors.

At the launch, attendees may join Lombardo along with members of her book team for “Hurt, Healing, and Hope: Thriving Beyond Sexual Assault.”

Special guests will include Illustrator Eduardo Arias Cruz, book foreword and donation recipient organization YWCA New Britain Sexual Assault Crisis Services, actress and model Michelle Lombardo via a sampling of pre-recorded live monologues, The Green Teahouse of West Hartford, sponsoring delicious tea samples, and Humility from the Earth, a local holistic skincare and wellness brand.

Plans are currently being finalized for a Write, Heal, Thrive online store featuring specialty curated items made by survivors and their healing allies: www.etsy.com/shop/WriteHealThrive.

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