Writing Out Child Abuse

June 18, 2012, 9:01 am
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April 24, 2012, 9:23 pm
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Love, Life, and Relationships: Overcoming Emotional and Child Sexual Abuse

Jason Kidd, of Gadsden Alabama contacted my office because he googled ‘child abuse’ in a search for attorneys or legislation that would support his efforts to seek justice for his daughter Melanie, and found our petition to Make Child Sexual Abuse A Felony.

Jason Kidd has a protective order against his ex-best-friend of thirty years for an indefinite amount of time. Last May, the wife of his best friend went to their pastors for counsel. She had found a Tracfone which is a prepaid phone that had a text message in the draft messages stating that he had feelings for their best friend Jason Kidd’s daughter, Melanie.

Jason Kidd has possession of 600-700 pages of text messages that include pictures from three to four of the prepaid phones, where his best friend was grooming his daughter from the age of fourteen to sixteen for the purpose of sexual abuse. In…

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R. Renee Vickers on Surviving and Change

Please join me in welcoming R. Renee Vickers, contributing author to A Light in the Darkness, to the WOCA Blog. Renee can be found regularly at her blog Muse Ampoule.


I would never say the words “I had it bad.” I faced problems and difficulties, like so many of us do, and I survived them. They’ve made me who I am today, for the good or not. It’s hard to discern if the obstacles I faced as a child are the root cause of the strife I carry in my adult life or if my anxieties, insecurities and broken feelings are simply flaws in my character, but I’ll share my experiences and allow you to come to your own conclusions.

My brother and I were raised by a very young single mother who made sure we had clothes on our backs, food in our bellies, and a roof over our heads – no matter how temporary.  That being said, as an adult and a parent myself, I know a child needs much more than the basic necessities to thrive. Stability, security, and parents who are emotionally available are some of the things I noticed lacking as I look back on my childhood. What people would consider neglect today. Poor choices and facts of reality lead to annual moves, changes in towns, schools, friends, and changes in family as marriages and divorces occurred. Year after year, I learned to gain new friends quickly only to have them ripped away as I found myself placed in new and unfamiliar situations. And, as a consequence there were many times I was exposed to emotionally abusive people. I can only be thankful that it wasn’t worse than that. I know it could easily have been.

I consider myself lucky. All of these situations taught me to adapt and be flexible, they taught me that it was only my opinion of myself that really mattered in the end, and not what others thought of me. Yes, I still struggle with viewing myself as worthy or good, but it gets better as years march on. I never had the mentality of a victim, and only thought like a survivor. I took everything negative in my experiences and turned them into lessons of what to do and what not to do.  I believe it’s because of this that now, as an adult, I can look back on my childhood and pull what good there was in there and forgive the bad because really, my upbringing showed me that people are worth so much more.

When J.S. invited me to be on this project and told me what sort of story he’d like to see I said of course I’d like to participate, but really had no idea what to write. It took me a while to come up with something but when it did it hit me like a freight train. As a parent, I couldn’t fathom writing a story showing the very worst of what happens on a daily basis to children, but I could write from the perspective of a survivor, and that’s the story line my piece takes. My main character Grace de Pierre takes the wrongs that were done to her as a child to effect a change on her world. She works tirelessly with police detectives to find abducted children before it’s too late, to give them the chance to retain their innocence. When Madeline Sanders is reported missing, Grace’s uncanny ability to track down the perpetrator leaves her face to face with the horrors from her past. Madeline’s life, and the opportunity for Grace to heal the wounds of her past are on the line.

My story, “Chasing Ashes,” is of one survivor doing everything in her power to ensure that there are as few additional victims in this world as possible. Isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do?

So, even if the only way I have to help support the victims of child abuse and potentially help keep other children from abuse and neglect all together, is to lend my voice to the growing number of people who say, enough is enough, I couldn’t ask for a better project to participate in. Thank you J.S. for including me and thank you to the other authors and to Laurie Sanders at Black Velvet Seductions for your participation.


When J.S. asked me to write a page or two about “you and what WOCA means to you,” I thought sure, no problem, yet I’ve sat here for about half an hour just staring at a blank screen. How do you encapsulate a project that represents both a labor of love and penance? When J.S. first sent me the link for WOCA, I was simply looking for ways to promote my erotica writing. My thoughts didn’t really go beyond that, however, I clicked the link and was pulled into his story of why he founded Writing Out Child Abuse and I knew that I wanted to be a part of the project even if not one single word of my own writing made it into the anthology.

I could quote statistics about children who are abused, but truthfully we all know them even if we choose to look past them. What child abuse means to me, however, is my niece who was molested at nursery school, my friend who was sold as a young girl to pay for her sister’s drug habit, my sister’s best friend who was molested by her father for years until she finally broke free when she went to college, my friend in high school who came to school covered in bruises in testament to her father’s need to “keep her in line,” and my own experience as a thirteen year old whose science teacher tried to trade physical acts for getting out of detention.  And, this is just my own personal circle.

I was lucky.  I ran and reported my teacher. It did no good, he wasn’t even punished, but he didn’t touch me.  Not everyone is as lucky as I was and they carry scars I can’t even begin to imagine. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m pristine in this. The abuse I personally suffered was that of neglect. Parents who left me alone to raise myself, who left me to suffer at the age of four with a broken collar bone because they “didn’t believe it hurt” so it had to be rebroken and healed crooked, who provided food and shelter but nothing else, who belittled and humiliated me at every turn. Emotional abuse carries its own scars, the worst of which though, are the ones that make you think that type of behavior is normal and okay. They are your parents after all. We are hard-wired to believe they know what they are doing.

I absorbed their lessons and carried them with me into adulthood. I became the very thing that had harmed me. I neglected those closest to me. I poured my attention and care into my indulgences and avoided all emotional connection. I became mean and bitter and was toxic to be around. The invisible chains of abuse were firmly wrapped around me and I couldn’t see them until one day my daughter told me exactly why she never wanted to see me again.

There is nothing like the honesty of children. They don’t pull any punches and the mirror they hold up to your face is unlike any that an adult could provide. You can rationalize an adult’s world view, but a child doesn’t have enough life experience to manipulate at that level.  She was right. I knew I had to find a way to break the cycle of abuse that I was perpetuating.  I began to write poetry. I found I could say things poetically that I am unable to articulate in speech.  It’s been a rough road, the insecurity and worthlessness that I carry runs deep. The anger festers. I struggle to find ways to channel it productively and am working on embracing success as the best form of therapy.

In one of my worst periods, a good friend told me that when you harm something you have to also try to heal it. The Light in the Darkness anthology is part of that healing process.  Children are precious and they need to be cherished. It is my hope that this project will help bring a little light into the lives of children who at this very moment are scared and hurting. They deserve it.

How I Came to Write “A Single Act of Prolonged Vengeance”

Please join me in welcoming Eric Keys to the WOCA Blog. Eric is one of the contributing authors to A Light in the Darkness, the upcoming WOCA anthology. 


Honestly, I’m not a “cause” person. I don’t get involved in crusades or even walk-a-thons typically. If a friend or co-worker asks me to donate or pledge, I try to be generous, but usually my involvement is quite abstract. I do it because it’s important to a friend rather than because the cause means something to me. That’s kind of how I got involved with WOCA. A friend of mine – Gillian – suggested I write a piece, and my first impulse was to dismiss it. But, because she was my friend I decided to mull it over.

I had mixed feelings about this at first. On the one hand I definitely am anti-child abuse. But, I am opposed to it in much the same way I’m opposed to so many other evils in this world that have not affected me. Perhaps I am a selfish person.

People are by nature dreamers. We think about what could be and what could have been. I have a son who is two years old – Zeke. He and I were riding the subway together and I saw a very unhappy child about Zeke’s age. I have no reason to think that this other child was abused, but the fear and pain in his eyes was real. As often is the case, my heart went out to the little tyke and to the child’s parents and to my own son. I know Zeke will see pain.

What if the pain he experienced was not the run of the mill pain that I have experienced in my life? What if the pain he experienced was pain that I dare not even imagine? What would it be like to know about that?

That is how Andon was born. He’s just a man with a humble job and a family. Perhaps he is even a good man. Well, as good as anyone in this corrupt world is. What happens when a man sees what no man should ever see? What would happen if he was given tools to act out his impulses? Would he still be good? Would his goodness disintegrate or simply be buried ? What if someone came into his life who forced him to decide if he would continue on the natural, the oh-so-understandable path he was on, or if he would try to recover some of that goodness? And, that is how Cera was born.

People need other people. It’s such a cliche and it goes against my inner cynic, but it’s true. I needed Gillian to give me the encouragement to write this. Andon needed Cera to help him make the choice he needed to make. My son needs me just to survive some days. Even cynics like me need people.


Gillian: Eric, thank you so much. I’m humbled. We need cynics like you just as much!

I Want to, But …

Note: As many of you may know, J.S. is recovering from a health mishap. So, while he wrestles with the existential question of how to relax and still be productive, I’ll be holding down the fort over here on the WOCA blog.


A lit candle

A light in the darkness

When I first saw the call for the WOCA anthology, I immediately knew I had to be a part of it. Child abuse touches us all in a variety of ways and the concept of being part of an endeavor that actually could provide a tangible benefit to abuse victims was irresistible. I jumped on board and began to communicate with J.S. about my submission and anything else I could to do help.

It came as quite a shock to me to find out several months later that J.S. was actually short the number of authors he needed in order to get the anthology published. I had honestly assumed that there would be no shortage of submissions. Once I heard this news, I knew there was no way I was going to standby and not at least try to recruit some more submissions. If that didn’t work, we’d try something else, but it hurt nothing to post a request up on my blog. Many of my readers also write fiction.

I posted my request and much to my consternation I received many emails that started, “I want to, but…” Insert whatever you want behind the statement. My heart broke with each one of those emails. In the end, I had to reach out specifically to two of my readers whose writing I really enjoyed and both agreed to write and submit a story. We had our quota.

What I got to thinking about, however, is how often we all say, “I want to, but …” I’ve done it more times than I can count. As I pondered the many times I stepped away from an opportunity, it occurred to me that it would be so much better if we amended that statement to, “I want to, but what if I don’t?”

Like everyone else, I’m juggling tons of things in my own life. I’m a full-time technical writer for an R&D firm, I have my own writing projects, I have a family and two dogs and I’m currently pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing. In order to write my submission, I had to take time away from work and stay up late into the night. I pulled out over 10,000 words in one day and by the time I typed that last word I could barely focus on the screen in front of me.

I’m not trying to pound my chest, I’m only trying to say that this project meant that much to me because whenever I was tempted to say, “I want to, but” I thought about “what if I don’t.” What if all of the authors writing for this anthology said the same thing? Then the anthology doesn’t get written. Then there is no chance of raising any money for a worthy cause. Then a child somewhere has no chance of the scars being inflicted on them at this moment, fading into something they can live with.

Are we changing the world? No, but just maybe we are changing one child’s life. For me, that was worth staying up late, working overtime to meet a deadline at my 9-5 and requesting an extension from my professor to hand in my assignment late.

The anthology is now in its final stages and more and more people are helping out and donating their time. I’m so honored to be a part of this endeavor and can’t wait to see the final product. When that time comes, however, I can tell you up front, that we’ll be reaching out to you and to many others to help us get the word out. We aren’t Random House or Amazon, we have limited reach by ourselves. When that time comes, I hope you’ll all join me in saying, “But what if I don’t?”

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