Friday, April 18, 2014

WHAT DO #INCEST VICTIMS EXPECT TO READ IN A SEQUEL to a TRUE STORY of #INCEST?

At the request of readers and fans of my book, NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER, I am currently writing a SEQUEL to my true story of incest. In a previous post here, I invited subscribers to this blog to subscribe to that sequel as well. It's FREE, and you can read as I write because, at least for a while,  I'm posting the story chapter by chapter.

But as I work my way through it, I have to ask myself what do my readers want to know? If they are simply interested in knowing how I recovered from 12-13 years of incest at the hands of my biological father, "got over it" as it were and moved on to have a productive life after incest, then I am writing what they want to read. It's a memoir of my married life following my exit from a despicable situation.

But if the person who reaches for this sequel is looking for a book on healing, therapy for their own pain, then my Sequel, as yet un-named, may fail to satisfy their need. You see, for some reason I cannot explain even to myself, once I walked away from my father it was like I erected a wall between me and my past. And once on this side of that wall, I stopped letting the past rule my present.  Where I found that strength, I don't know but perhaps it's rooted in the fact that it took so much strength not to buckle, commit suicide, resort to drugs or booze while I was being abused, that once I was away from it, I had a arsenal of strength to carry me through whatever life might throw my way.  You see, as far as I was concerned, I'd been through the worst already ... and I'd survived.

On top of that, I now had a whole new world to discover, a world that had been denied me. I was naive. I'd never dated. I'd been locked in a prison. But my jailor had let me go,  not easily, and not without trauma and drama, but I was out of there and ready to taste a freedom I'd never known. Perhaps by focussing on the good that was to come instead of forever slipping into the very bad of the past, by thinking of the positives instead of the negatives, therapy and healing came quietly, subtly, and I never really knew it was happening.

Now granted, as I've said many times, I got lucky: I found a really good man and slowly but surely started to trust again. As my trust and love for him grew, and I realized he wasn't going to dictate my every thought and action or restrict me in any way from doing whatever I wanted to, bit by bit my confidence in, and respect for myself flourished. I began to like myself again, even love myself again,  and as Whitney Houston once sang: "Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all", and the most important love if one is to heal from childhood sexual abuse.

Coupled with all that is something else I'm realizing as I write this sequel: while I hated myself for not standing up to my father for all those years, unlike so many victims of incest, I never really blamed myself for what happened. Maybe that's because I was 11 and not 2 or 3 when my father started abusing me. At 11, as horrifying as what he was doing to me was, somehow I knew this wasn't my fault. I never saw myself as the reason for the abuse; I didn't invite him in: he forced himself on me. How was I to blame? I fought him for months but there's only so much mental and physical abuse one can take before you finally give in. It's self-preservation. And somewhere inside the recesses of my mind, I made the logical and intelligent decision that regardless of what anyone might think, what happened was NOT MY FAULT!

I truly believe that realization, and the acceptance of it, is tantamount to recovery. Once we stop blaming ourselves for what happened, once we put the blame squarely on the abuser, we can finally begin to heal. So when my Sequel is ready, if you, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse want to read it in the hope that somewhere in there you will find a means, a pathway or guidelines to your own recovery, you most likely won't find it. Instead, if you are still blaming yourself, asking why me, and waiting for an apology from your abuser or for justice be done in the law courts, my SEQUEL will be of little use or interest to you.

If, on your other hand you want and need to believe that you CAN survive the memories and flashbacks of incest (and you will indeed see me battling them in this sequel) you will get that from this second book.  You will also come away knowing it is possible to learn to trust and love yourself and others again, for, if you survived the actual abuse, you can survive the recovery from it too.  Don't think "can't" or "won't".  You survived the war. You can survive the aftermath too by believing you can  do it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The SEQUEL to #NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER offered #FREE to SUBSCRIBERS to the Author's Blog!

Purchase a signed, printed copy OR the eBook version for all e-readers of NO TEARS FOR MY FATHERdirectly from the author's website. Support indie writers trying to increase awareness of an important subject. 

If you’ve read NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER and wondered what life was like for me, after leaving home and my abuser of 13 years, then subscribe to the RSS for the blog on my personal author's website now!

Why?

Because I have decided to BLOG my SEQUEL, temporarily titled: VIGALAND: LIFE AFTER INCEST!

Why am I doing it this way instead of simply writing and publishing another book? Well, for one thing, self-publishing is expensive, especially if an author doesn’t know how many to have printed for the first run. Now I’d love to think that I’ll sell as many copies of the sequel as I did of the original book, but I’m going to be cautious and test your interest first.

Readers who subscribe to this RSS will be my  “testers”, the ones who hopefully will tell me how I’m doing, by leaving me comments, feedback, chapter by chapter. It’s a novel, as in "new" approach, to writing a book, but the beauty of doing it this way, for you, the reader, is it’s FREE!

And for me, it’s motivation to keep writing this sequel. With subscribers, I have no excuses for not adding a chapter every few days. And the more of you who subscribe, the more motivated I will be! So subscribe today and get your friends to subscribe. Just fill in the form provided below or click on the RSS symbol on the bottom right of the homepage of MY WEBSITE

Okay, that’s it for this post. I’ll be looking for your subscriptions for the next week or so, and  then I’ll start posting the chapters of VIGALAND: LIFE AFTER INCEST bit by bit. 

You don’t want to come back and see half the book has already been archived, do you? Subscribe NOW!



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Friday, February 21, 2014

OBSESSED WITH #INCEST and a #BOOK TRAILER for #NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER

Watch a Book Trailer for NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER

Recently, someone on Facebook asked a question along the lines of this: "How was it for you after you finally got away from your abuser? How did you manage?" 

I was hesitant to answer this at first because of all the pain and suffering I read of in my own private and other abuse groups, the pain that questions like this can stir up again for so many. After all these years, I'm no longer suffering like they are.  When I read their pain, I almost feel I should apologize for not suffering!

The other thing that held me back from answering is what I'm seeing daily on Facebook: victims & group moderators spending hours and hours posting horrid stories of child sexual abuse, incest, pedophilia etc. I know many post these articles to keep spreading awareness, but the way Facebook works, I'm not sure those posts are being seen by anyone but other victims and I'm not convinced that's a good thing for the victims.  It keeps us all obsessed with incest and child sexual abuse and we are not the ones who need to know about it: we already do!

As I thought through how to answer, fact is, of course I suffered, not just during the 13 years of abuse but for many years after. I just never told anyone about it for 45 years. Yes, I had flashbacks ... daily! And yes, I wanted to scream and sometimes cried uncontrollably over the slightest things. And the nightmares continued for many years.  And yet, I never had therapy, and didn't resort to drugs or booze. So what's with me? Am I some kind of freak?

I never turned to those things because I knew that after the effects wore off, the pain would still be there. The memories would still be there. Booze and drugs would just keep me running from the truth, keep me from facing it. But only by facing it, by acknowledging it happened, telling myself over and over that what happened wasn't my fault and accepting that I could never change the past, could I put the past to rest and get on with my life.

The only answer I had to that Facebook question, was the paragraph above, along with this: by getting away from my abuser at last, while I wasn't free .. yet ... of the memories, I was free of the abuser and his dominance over every decision, every action in my life. I was free to decide and act as I wished, not as he told me to. I just had to decide and act and not be afraid to do both.

Furthermore, my abuser had stolen 13 years of my life, 13 years so important to any girl or boy: their teenage years. He had kept me imprisoned, mentally and physically. Now, away from him at last, I had so much catching up to do, so much world to see, so much life to experience, and something inside me said: "This is your new world. Embrace it!" And embrace it, I did! I was so busy embracing it,  I was like a child let loose in a candy shop after never having had candy. I didn't have time or inclination to dwell on, or obsess over the abuse. And that is how I managed; that is how I healed after incest.

At the request of many who have read my book, NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER, I am now writing a sequel. This is hard to write, much harder than I thought it would be.  On the one hand I find myself wondering if readers are expecting to see me wallowing in despair and pain as I pulled my life together. I worry that if I don't give them that, they might think then it all mustn't have been that bad, and they would be wrong for thinking that. On the other hand, will readers, especially other victims who still can't see a light at the end of the tunnel,  understand that because I found strength in the love of a good man who showed me not all men are like my father and gave me the freedom to be, and become who I am today, that it is possible to "get over it" to a certain degree, if not fully, then at least to the point that I'm no longer obsessed with it and feel the need to talk about it daily. Will they say, "Well it's alright for you! You got lucky. You got a good guy. I don't think I ever will...!"

I certainly hope that won't be the case, but I'm committed now to writing that sequel. I don't know how long it will take but I'm planning to share it with the world in a different way, one that won't cost anyone a penny to read. There will be nothing to buy, not even an eBook! To find out how I plan to do that, you will need to sign up for the RANT, RAVE & REVEL  BLOG on my website. You'll find the place to do that right on my HOME PAGE where you can also purchase a signed, printed copy or an electronic version for all e-readers of NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER

And if  you haven't yet seen it, I hope you'll watch the BOOK TRAILER for "No Tears for my Father" at the top of this blog post. It's a bit creepy, as someone said, but then, incest is creepy!



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IS JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF #INCEST and CHILD #SEXUAL ABUSE POSSIBLE?

Some time ago, I came across an incredibly informative op-ed by Ruth Hull, on Digital Journal. Ruth began her article with these words hit me like a brick in the face:

"The easiest way to gain custody of your kid is to rape the child. If you molest your child, your chances of gaining custody go up to 85 percent."

She expanded on this by adding:

"In the past nine months, 75 kids were murdered by their dads during custody battles — and the family courts [are} doing little to stop it.
Wyatt Garcia was born in April 2009. Nine months later, he was shot and killed by his father, who then turned the gun on himself. It might have turned out differently — if a family-court judge had listened to Wyatt’s mother."

Now I'm not going to copy and paste Ruth's entire article here because I'm hoping you'll go over and read it yourself. If you are a victim of incest contemplating taking your abuser to court, or a parent desperate to get justice for your child who has been sexually abused by your partner or other family member, you MUST read Ruth's well-researched article and watch the videos she has included with her op-ed. I was floored, and I think you will be too.  What I learned about the court system, at least in the US, and I have no reason to think it's different elsewhere, was horrifying.

According to Judge Deann Salcido (support her efforts on Facebook!), as a young judge she was trained, along with other judges, to be suspicious, very suspicious of women claiming abuse of any kind during a divorce.  This attitude was based on the possibility that the woman ... and it was generally always aimed at the female in the divorce case, might just be being vindictive or angry because her husband or partner has moved on with someone else etc. Judge Deann followed this mantra to the letter and then says she made a terrible mistake. In one divorce case where the mother, Joyce Murphy, claimed the father was sexually abusing their daughter, she ruled against the mother and gave custody to the father, Bud Parsons. Parsons was later convicted for sexually molesting two young teenaged girls, friends of his daughter! Judge Deann never forgave herself for the mistake she made and has since, become a "whistle-blower" about what really goes on in the courts. If you don't go over and read Ruth Hull's article, at least watch this video where Judge Deann tells us about this:


Ever since I watched this, I've wanted to share this with my subscribers and all who care about child sexual abuse. It won't make them happy.  It won't make them less bitter about what they have endured or are enduring in the courts. In fact, it'll probably make them twice as angry when they see how the system is working against them.  But it might help them understand why and how this is happening.

I hear time and time again in my private Facebook group for incest survivors how the courts are failing and have failed victims of child sexual abuse and the parents trying to get some justice for them. They share how the abusers are getting away with the abuse, how difficult it is to be believed when they do go to the police, and even if they do manage to take the case to court, the sentences are so light as to be ridiculous and the victims continue to live in fear of the day the abuser is back on the streets and can get to them. And in the meantime, scores of sexually abused children will spend years, decades, trying to cope with the horrific memories, their shame, their insecurities, their feelings of worthlessness, of being dirty, of being the ones to blame! What kind of justice is this?!

When and if you watch this video, and I hope you do, you will learn more that is even more shocking regarding how CPS and probably most child protective services in all countries are failing the abused children when they investigate the cases in the first place because of their own fears of being sued. Other issues involved are the almighty dollar, the costs involved in removing children from abusive homes and placing them in foster care. All of it, is more important than the minds, hearts and souls of the children being abused. It breaks my heart to hear this. I'm sure you'll feel likewise.

I welcome your comments, your thoughts, your indignation, and your own stories of how the courts have failed you or someone you know. Just as I dared in my book, NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER, to speak my own truth about incest because silence is deadly, people like Judge Deann Salcido are speaking out from under. She's taken a risk, as we all do, when we blow the whistle on the real criminals in our society. She's one gutsy lady and I'm sure she's made lots of enemies and perhaps even put herself in danger. But when you believe in doing what's right, you do it. I hope you'll "LIKE" her Facebook page. If you're reading this, it's most likely because YOU need people like her. She's working for YOU.

PLEASE NOTE: if you are wanting a signed, printed copy of my book, NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER, please use the CONTACT PAGE on my website as we are having a temporary problem with the e-commerce processing on the site. This is the only place online to purchase the printed book. e-Book versions are available from the following online distributors:

SMASHWORDS, AMAZON, iTUNES, BARNES & NOBLE , SONY eBook Store, as well as my personal website.

NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER is also available at these Ontario Libraries: HAMILTON, CAMBRIDGE, MISSISSAUGA, GRAND VALLEY and TORONTO.






Saturday, November 23, 2013

HOW MUCH GRAPHIC DETAIL SHOULD ONE INCLUDE IN A BOOK ON #CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?

I came across a very interesting blog post this morning that I want to share with you all. You can read it here:

http://www.thelamplighters.org/llblog01/graphic-details/

I have very strong feelings about this excellent post and the ideas presented. Because of that, I left a long comment on it. Here's what I wrote:

“I really liked your blog post Marjorie. I felt the points you raised were very important and I left a long comment on the post. Hope you don't mind. I'd like to share my comment here too in case others don't read what I wrote: "The points you've raised here are very important. This is something I had to decide when I was writing my book, NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER: how graphic should my book be? In the end, I found I couldn't write it any other way that to tell how it happened, what he said to me, how he coached me, led me to do what he wanted, and what he actually did. I saw no point in even writing the book without these details. Otherwise, what was the purpose of writing it? I wanted to enlighten others to how a predator, in this case my own father, gets his way. I wanted readers to see his thinking, the psychology, the motivation behind his actions and his ability to manipulate a defenseless child, his own child. How else to do that than by actually giving details? But as you suggest, it was necessary to put a 'trigger warning' on the book and that's what I did.

I have been criticized by only one other writer, herself a victim, for providing, what she called "the guts and gore" in my story. She said victims don't need those details, that I should have focused on recovery and healing. Well I'm not a therapist and how I healed was not the focus of my story. Mine was just that: my story ... take it or leave it ... but it was honest and real. If I wanted to write a book on healing, I would have. But I don't feel qualified to do that. And besides, there are many wonderful books out there for that purpose. I even addressed this in one of my book talks where some of my readers, themselves victims, said I'd done the right thing as it helped them relate even better and helped them realize they were not alone when they heard what he actually said and did to me.

Bottom line: 2 sides to this argument and you are so right: write the story as YOU need to and if it's graphic, put in a warning and let the reader decide if they can handle it. As for the others, get your heads out of the sand folks. This is the real world and this is happening in a home near you!”

We actually videoed segments of the book talk I referred to above where other victims gave their views on the graphic detail in my book. If you'd like to hear what they said, watch this video:



So now, I'd love your feedback on my response and on Marjorie's original blogpost on her LAMPLIGHTER MOVEMENT site. Was NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER too graphic?  Should graphic details be spared in books on child sexual abuse? Waiting to hear from you: what do you think? And by the way, you can download a FREE SAMPLE of my book at both SMASHWORDS and GOODREADS

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review: BEYOND THE TEARS by Lynn C. Tolson: #incest



My first encounter with Lynn C Tolson was actually on Facebook. As I became involved in groups and pages about childhood sexual abuse, Lynn's name kept popping up everywhere. Who was this woman? My research revealed she was an author, herself once a victim of sexual abuse, and currently a social worker and speaker who gives a great deal of her time and self to helping other victims, both on and offline. I got the impression she was well-known and I felt dwarfed by her achievements. But at that point, she was still just a name with a nice Facebook photo. 

Now, having read Lynn's book, if it were possible, the one thing I'd love to do is meet her in person. I want to meet this woman who at the opening of her book was on her way to commit suicide. She'd had it! She couldn't take any more. She hauled into a motel, swallowed all the pills she could find and waited for death to come. But life wasn't done with her yet because she had a mission to fulfill: to heal from her own devastating and lonely past; to conquer her drug-addicted lifestyle; to rid herself of an older husband who was using her low self-esteem to victimize her further, and ultimately to share her path to recovery with the thousands of other victims out there who might also think that taking their own lives is the only solution. Thank heaven Lynn's attempt to end it all failed or Beyond the Tears wouldn't have been written.  

The one thing that stood out for me as I got further and further into Lynn's story of sexual abuse by both her schizophrenic biological father, and later, by her older brother, was her extreme isolation, even as a young child, in a family of several members. Like all victims of sexual abuse, she couldn't  bring herself to tell her own mother of the abuse. Why? Because her mother was too delicate, too fragile. So to save her mother from heartache, she let her own heart ache with her ugly secret. Intimidated by her step-father, confused by her own father, ignored by her mother and scorned and berated by her abusive brother, Lynn wandered through her teens dulling her pain on street drugs. She watched a soul-mate die from an overdose and still couldn't help herself. After compounding the mess of her life by marrying a mentally and verbally abusive husband, suicide seemed the only out till fate stepped in. Lynn met Karen and with love, caring and wise counsel, Karen got Lynn to open up and tell all.

As all abuse victims come to realiize sooner or later, healing begins in finally telling someone, but it is journalling, writing, that ultimately closes the wounds. Karen encouraged Lynn to do that. Lynn took another 20 years before putting pen to paper and further heal, but it is her readers, especially those who are victims of childhood sexual abuse who benefit from her writing.  Lynn not only shares her life with us in an easy to read, semi-fictional style, but she peppers her story with insights and reflections on the personalities of her family and how they contributed to her isolation, an isolation I sense she still feels today but is able to live with.  Every so often, she throws in some touching poetry that is short and poignant. And by sharing Karen's words of counsel and wisdom with us, Lynn offers the reader concepts that truly help one heal. 

If there's one thing I love about the internet and social networking sites like Facebook, it's that it clarifies perceptions we form of people when we only meet them in print, as in their blogs, poems or books. Read their words and you form a picture of them. Look at their photos and we see what the words don't show. Listen to their voices, as I did recently in a blog talk show with Lynn and the image sharpens. Watch a video (Lynn has one on her own blog site at http://beyondthetears.blogspot.ca, and you suddenly know a lot more about this person who till now was just a name on a book.

Getting to know Lynn C Tolson begins with reading BEYOND THE TEARS, but don't stop there! Visit her blog, read her posts, check out her other reviews and videos at Goodreads, and come to know this strong woman who was once a victim of child sexual abuse but is today a survivor and thriver. As Karen told her: "When you lose your identity as a victim, you gain an identity as a survivor". BEYOND THE TEARS is a guide to doing just that. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

HALLOWE'EN: NOT MY FAVOURITE NIGHT OF THE YEAR


I'm not the greatest fan of Hallowe'en. Don't know why. I find nothing particularly wonderful about seeing horrible masks, ghouls, freaks, cobwebs on trees and houses and all the other things that scare children ... and adults too for that matter.

Maybe it's because of my past, of living with someone of whom I was so frightened that I was too scared to go to bed at night. I still hear doors opening when everyone was supposed to be asleep. I see the thin shaft of light coming into my room and the dark, looming figure of a man ... my father ... carefully closing the door behind him and feeling his way in the dark over to my bed...

My monster was alive, real. He put on a different mask when friends were around. He was Mr. Friendly, affable, personable. He cared about his wife and child. But he didn't wait for or need Hallowe'en to terrify me. He just did.

Sorry if I don't get into the spirit. Oh I still give out the candies and smile at the sweet little princesses and angels who come to my door shyly saying "Trick or Treat". And I even write poems for them, and in my heart hope that the only monsters and ugly people they ever see in their lives are the other kids running around the streets in costumes on October 31st.

Viga Boland, NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER: a true story of incest
http://www.vigaboland.com