Statistics aren’t convincing enough? You know a Survivor. #SAAM2015 Book Giveaway

 

 Did you know:

  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. 
  • Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12. 
  • Seven percent of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. 
  • Three percent of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. 
  • In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse.
    Of these, 75% were girls. 
  • Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.
    93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.
    34.2% of attackers were family members.
    58.7% were acquaintances.
    Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victims.

Victims of sexual assault are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression. 
  • 6 time more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. 
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol. 
  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs. 
  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide. 

And if these statistics aren’t reason enough for you to become aware of (at the least) or become involved in the fight against sexual assault and abuse, maybe knowing that I was a child victim would help.

I’m here to tell you there’s hope.

I’m here to tell you there’s healing.

Statistics become survivors.

With your help.

April is Sexual Assault And Abuse Awareness Month. Visit RAINN or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for more information. 

The issue is as old as humanity. My first novel, How Sweet the Sound, is a modern day retelling of the story of Tamar in the book of 2 Samuel in the Bible, a woman raped by her brother and left to live in desolation. In my book, however, the Tamar figure (named Comfort) learns to find hope and healing. 

 Share this story with someone you know today who needs hope, or even if you need to find hope, yourself. 

 In support of Sexual Assault and Abuse Awareness Month, I’m giving away a SIGNED COPY of How Sweet the Sound. Enter your name and a comment below for your chance to win. I’ll announce winners via Twitter and my Facebook Author Page Friday.

References available at https://rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

remember. a poem.

did you
hesitate
before you did
what you did
helpless like you once were
too, fresh and pure and
alive
well things turn awful
red when they’re left growing
wide open in
the hot sun scorching the pretty
little petals until
the first frost
and then after
winter cold and white
the hot crimson petals
push through and
remember

2015/01/img_2012.jpg

Plain truth about the obscurity of abuse survivors.

paradoxical_silence_by_philomena_famulok-d6kcg8dShe adored him. Cooked for him. Tended to him. Laughed with him. Grew up with him.

He was her brother, after all.

Someone she looked up to.

Someone she could trust.

Someone who, because of the roles they naturally assumed, had authority over her.

***

He adored her.

Grew up with her.

Looked out for her.

Developed an all-consuming attraction to her.

***

And then, he raped her.

***

Oh, sure, their dad was angry when he learned of the incident, but that soon passed. After all, he couldn’t bring himself to punish his eldest son, the apple of his eye.

The girl’s other brother, he took care of that, though. Killed the incestuous sibling.

And they lived happily ever after.

Most of them, that is.

Except for the girl.

They told her to hush.

They told her to get over it.

They told her to forgive and forget.

They told her the wounds would heal with time.

Get over it and get on with it, they said.

And they did.

Except for the girl.

Who, as the history books tell us, went off to live in desolation and obscurity.

Things haven’t changed much, have they?

Thousands of years have passed since the book of II Samuel was written and the lives of King David’s children, Tamar, Absalom and Amnon documented. 

Much ado has been rightfully made in the last week or two about an article published and then rescinded by the Leadership Journal. I’m not writing about it here to attempt to add to the wisdom of other writers have who’ve already posted on and led the way in successfully toppling this particular offender’s platform.

I only have a question.

What will you do about the Tamar’s, one out of every four (by conservative estimates) girls and women all around you?

In your church?

Yes, your conservative, evangelical, wealthy suburban church?

In your quiet little country church?

In your burgeoning, established city church?

Because the Amnon’s of the world know no boundaries.

It’s not the people you don’t know who will hurt your daughter, girlfriend, wife.

It’s the people you do know.

The charismatic worship leader.

The hipster youth leader.

The incred-amazing coach.

The theater professor.

The cousin.

The uncle.

The aunt.

The brother.

The father.

The mother.

The guy who got caught but weeps and grovels and praises Jesus for breaking him and makes everyone believe he’s been redeemed, who convinces everyone he had a mean judge who sentenced him to prison. Because you know, the girl in his youth group, she was sorta slutty, and she sat on his lap. What was he supposed to do? (See Maureen Garcia’s brave article here: I Married a Sex Offender.)

***

There is a better question.

What will you do to shatter the obscurity of the Tamar’s around you today?

To give them a voice?

To give them a platform?

To give them a reason

a purpose

and a hope

that they can step out of the shadows of shame

that they can live strong

and out loud

instead of in desolation?

***

Note: I wrote my novel, How Sweet the Sound, to give the Tamar’s of the world hope, and to let the rest of the world around them know what it feels like to suffer and begin to heal from the vices of sexual abuse and assault. I took great care to write the story in a way that is gentle enough for survivors to read without being triggered. But make no mistake: the book tells the truth. If you know a Tamar, they might like my book. And if you just want to understand a Tamar better, you might, too. 

***

For further reading, see also:

Ed Stetzer’s article, It’s Abuse not an Affair

Mary DeMuth’s brave post, Dear Man in Prison

Karen Swallow Prior’s heartbreaking article, #HowOldWereYou: Origins of a Heartbreaking Hashtag

Elizabeth Esther’s Open Letter to Christianity Today

HerMeneutic’s article, To Publish a Predator

The Leadership Journal‘s editorial apology for publishing their article, “From Youth Minister to Felon.”