Child abuse is never an easy topic to discuss for those who have either been a victim or an abuser. As a society, we publicly abhor child abuse, but also tend to close doors on it, hoping it will go away. Discussions over cups of coffee do not have an impact. Sorry, they don’t. Changing mindsets requires action, not idle chitchat.
I grew up in a time when abuse wasn’t discussed, when few people wanted to acknowledge it existed. Schools and churches weren’t havens. I know. I tried.
My story doesn’t come close to those children who have suffered broken bones, hot grease thrown on them, and death. Nonetheless, I’ve been there and carry the emotional scars, as well as a disfigured knuckle.
The first incident I remember, I was five. I’d been sledding, hit a post and cut my lip. My usual punishment for doing something wrong was my father’s belt on my bare bottom. This time, he used the buckle end. The next day, he took a metal pancake turner to me because I couldn’t sit on the welts and cuts. I became convinced I was a horrible child and deserved whatever was done to me. I tried and tried to be good, but always failed. He once slammed the car door on my hand to prove to me how bad I was. While in grade school, I did something that angered him during a party at our house. He took me to the basement and pummeled me with his fists. Each time I cried out, he hit me harder. He hit me until I quit begging him to stop. That took a long time. He left me cowering and bleeding, wedged between the washer and dryer. The next day I had to move all the snow from one side of the yard to the other and back again. We lived in South Dakota then. There was a lot of snow.
The abuse wasn’t centered on me. I couldn’t help my mother when he hit her. When my brother and sister were born, I could take the hits intended for them, and did. As a teen, I started to work out on weights. I got into fights, learning from those who could better me. The day finally came when I had the confidence and ability to step between my parents. That was the last time he hit my mother. They divorced shortly after that.
As with most abused children, I loved my father and only wanted his approval, though I never could do enough to receive it. Even when I enlisted in the army, he scoffed. Finally, when I volunteered to become an EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal [the bomb squad]) specialist and worked with the Secret Service and State Department, his attitude began to change. When I entered law enforcement, he actually told me has proud of me. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. We slowly built the relationship I’d only been able to dream of having with him. He was killed in a car crash a few years later.
I was and am extremely proud of my father’s professional achievements. He was abused, passed off to relatives, and dropped out of school. He refused to be less than he could be, and climbed up the ranks to become the Labor Relations Officer for a major railroad. After that, he joined the National Transportation Safety Board until his full retirement.
I don’t fully hold him to blame. He didn’t have any experience beyond the abuse he suffered under. In his mind, that’s how fathers acted.
One day, when we were enjoying some time just being together, he suddenly said he was sorry.
We both cried. He loved and cherished my sons, providing them with fond memories of their grandfather, and for that, I will always be grateful.
I am honored to post this announcement of what a group of authors have gathered to do in the struggle against child abuse.
I won’t be posting anything else on this blog for the next week. If you have a story to tell, feel free to share it, by name or anonymously. I’m not a doctor, therapist, or anything other than someone who will listen.
If you need an ear or an understanding shoulder, I’m here.
Cedar City, UT, June 14th, 2012- Local author J.S. Wayne has long wanted to take direct action to help survivors of child abuse. In August of last year, he discovered a way when he founded Writing Out Child Abuse (WOCA), a collaborative charitable effort among authors, literary agents, and other publishing-industry professionals united by one common cause: To provide comfort, aid, safety, and hope to survivors of child abuse, both locally and worldwide.
As WOCA’s inaugural fundraising effort, he brought together authors from a broad range of backgrounds and genres with a submissions call for an anthology. These authors were given some simple parameters: Child abuse had to be the central conflict or motivation in the story and could not be portrayed in a positive light, and the abusers had to pay for their crimes. In due course, Laurie Sanders, editor in chief of Black Velvet Seductions Publishing, expressed an interest in assistingWOCA in publishing the work in progress.
The result is A Light In The Darkness, a WOCAcharity anthology to benefit child abuse prevention and intervention initiatives around the world. Containing stories ranging from historical paranormal fiction to gritty urban fantasy to ripped-from-the-headlines realism, this anthology demonstrates the emotional and physical scars child abuse leaves and the chilling reality of the damage child abuse leaves in its wake. At the same time, every story ends on a hopeful note, a reminder that people can choose to be more than what their environment and circumstances conspired to make them.
Mr. Wayne, the anthology editor, states: “I’m very humbled and honored to have had such talented authors answer the call for this anthology and the cause it represents. As a child abuse survivor myself, I felt that turning my talents to a cause that would help children in my situation and worse was a logical decision. I’m very grateful to Laurie Sanders at Black Velvet Seductions and all the authors who pitched in for this project. It’s a pleasure to have edited and worked with such amazing authors in the service of helping children.”
J.S. Wayne is best known as an author of paranormal erotic romance, and is a multi-published author with Noble Romance Publishing, LLC with numerous poems, short stories, anthologies, and novellas and novels to his credit. Joining him in A Light In The Darknessare Amber Green, Gillian Colbert, and R. Renee Vickers, all established authors, and newcomers Eric Keys and Phoebe Valois.
Mr. Wayne has pledged to divide fifty percent of author proceeds from his first novel, Shadowphoenix: Requiem, between WOCA and local child abuse prevention and intervention charities, as well as twenty percent of author proceeds from his entire backlist of available works.
About Writing Out Child Abuse
J.S. Wayne conceived of Writing Out Child Abuse after reading a pair of horrifying true-life child abuse stories. Since its inception in August of 2011, WOCA has attracted numerous authors and publishing-industry professionals who all share a common goal: To bring comfort, aid, safety, and hope to survivors of child abuse worldwide. For more information about WOCA or the authors involved, visit their website at http://wix.com/writingoutchildabuse/intro.
In A Light in the Darkness, the inaugural anthology
from the authors of WOCA, a dark world awaits you.
Spanning centuries of time, encircling the globe, and
running the gamut from eerie historical fiction to gritty
urban fantasy to page-scorching erotic romance, these
authors unflinchingly dissect the horror of child abuse
in all its forms. These authors have taken great pains to
ensure the innocent are assured justice and the guilty
pay for their crimes in the unique fantasy worlds they
have created. Sadly, in real life, this is not always the case.
This book contains scenes of graphic violence and
honest depictions of child abuse. Readers who may
find such material unduly disturbing, objectionable, or
“triggering” are strongly advised not to read it.
Some of the newest and hottest names in fiction have
lent their talents to this collection, including Gillian
Colbert, Amber Green, R. Renee Vickers, Eric Keys,
Phoebe Valois, and J.S. Wayne. All of these authors are
united by one core belief, and with this collection, they
seek to turn their talents to a greater good.
One hundred percent of all proceeds from this
collection are being donated directly to Writing Out
Child Abuse. These proceeds will then be dispersed to
charities whose sole aim is to help survivors of child
abuse all over the globe. To learn more about WOCA or
their fund-raising activities, or to get involved yourself,