In June of 2008, I became a published author. It seems almost foreign to me now. From the onset I thought it was all about the book, my memoirs, and me becoming an author – but…
I thought my life would begin to focus on selling books, lots of books, as many as I could possibly talk people into purchasing. I had such grandiose visions of becoming a best-selling author. Yeah, well, not so much. In two short years I sold a few hundred books (Oprah never called and the New York Times never came looking for me), appeared on some television and radio programs, spoke at special events and met a multitude of folks who advocate or lobby for victims of emotional, sexual or spousal abuse, domestic violence or assault. They know a lot. They have taught me a lot. I’ve learned there is still a lot more to learn.
Turns out, my dreams of becoming that world-renowned writer were a bit misdirected. It was more than just the book. Orange Blossom Wishes was merely a catalyst to launch me into finally following the passions in my life – speaking and communicating messages of inspiration, motivation, faith, and hope and healing to those who need to hear the words and feel the reassurance of a better future. God knows, I had many of my own years living a life void of hope, but filled with despair, depression, low self-esteem and total helplessness.
Endless articles, columns and pages of various statistics may educate society on the damage being done to countless victims, oftentimes ending in a murder, or worse, murder/suicide. You see, victims are all too aware of the fact they are a statistic. I could have gagged every time I heard I was 1 in 5 women who would experience spousal abuse and/or battery. Then it changed to 1 in 4. Now, it’s 1 in 3. So, for every 3 women in your circle, if you’re not it, chances are that one or both the other women are. Tell the latest rape victim she has just become that “1 out of 6 women” who will be sexually assaulted. Trust me, it won’t help much to ease her trauma.
Normally, the first place women victimized by domestic violence run to is the church. Unfortunately, “statistics” tell us the church is either ill-equipped, not properly educated or chooses to utilize dogma and religion to handle the situation. Nothing was more difficult for me than to sit in a pew every Sunday, constantly being told “Divorce is a sin.” Well, isn’t beating your wife a sin? Isn’t adultery a sin? Finally, as a Christian, I realized the whole concept of salvation and restoration. If sin is sin, and divorce is sin, then it only makes sense there is forgiveness extended there, as well. Only problem is, I still have a problem with those trying to tell the victims of spousal assault who were brave enough to leave and obtain a divorce that THEY were the sinner. I suppose I’ve also gained a whole new insight into my relationship with my God. The reality of domestic violence took Him down as the man in the flowing white robes with the long snowy beard and the scepter (with which to beat me over the head) and put Him into a big rocking chair, with me sitting in His lap, embraced by His love and understanding.
These few past months have also taught me there is a myriad of help available for victim support. We just need to get the word out. Lives depend on it.