Local author’s book added to collection

Jacksonville Public Library selected my book to include in their Local Authors Collection. Yay!

“We are pleased to inform you that your book has been selected for the Local Authors Collection, which is housed on the first floor of the Jacksonville Public Library Main Library.” Jacksonville Public Library.

I will be doing a book signing at Coconut Barrel, St. Augustine, Sunday 6/23 from 1-4 Break Free from every Abuse Healing Manual front ebk coverpm. Stop by to say hello.

Be Alert: Sexual abuse can occur on vacation

A 29-year-old former crew member for Holland America Line was sentenced to 30 years and five months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for the attack and attempted murder of a female passenger last year, according to the US Department of Justice.

the man is an Indonesian citizen and according to FBI agents, admitted to entering the woman’s stateroom using his company-issued master key, and hiding on the balcony waiting for her to return.

The man said that before the attack, while delivering room service, the woman disrespected him and his parents by referring to him as a “son of a b____.”

The victim, a 32-year-old American woman, was assaulted by the man while on a seven-day western Caribbean charter cruise.

492037987_de1234b5e0_zFBI agents said the man attacked the woman after she got into bed, choking and punching her numerous times. The man struck the woman with a laptop and curling iron, and tried to strangle her with a telephone cord and a curling iron cord. The victim was said to be unconscious at least once during the attack, at which time the man sexually assaulted her.

The man continued to attack the woman on the state room’s balcony where he tried to throw her overboard.

The woman was able to escape after stabbing the man with a corkscrew, according to the report.

According to Holland America Line, the man was immediately fired.

The company said the man was hired in 2012 after a careful screening that included a clean criminal history check. He apparently had good references and no prior performance issues.

The man did plead guilty to the attack in September. He will be deported after serving out his sentence.

By Attorneys: 

Abuse Happens in Teen Relationships

Abigail’s Domestic Abuse Story

 Edited for length

Source: Hidden Hurt

A young Christian woman tells her domestic abuse story of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship and her road to healing and recovery. This is her story:

I grew up in a faith based church. I am a second generation Christian. When I entered my public high school, I chased after the Lord, wanting nothing but to live my life for him. Yet something happened when I started dating Thomas. He was two years older than me. He was also the son of my youth leader. He grew up without a father in his life and struggled with anger and abandonment issues. I knew, but have always had such a mercy heart. I do not know why I didn’t listen to the wise counsel of my family and friends. I thought I could save him.

Three months into the relationship I knew something was wrong. The emotional abuse is what I saw originally. The way he could manipulate me was amazing. He was a brilliant talker. He was my first boyfriend, so I seemed to think that it was all normal.

After three months the verbal abuse began. I was so brain washed I thought I deserved what I got. The more the lies were poured over me, the more I believed them. My character was smashed. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t seeing my family. I was so isolated. That fall I moved into my dorm room at a lovely, private liberal arts college. I wouldn’t listen to anyone about how I needed to leave him. I was convinced everything wrong with the relationship was my problem; as long as I tried a little harder, if I could fix the things he said were wrong with me, Thomas and I would be fine.

Then the physical abuse started: twisting my wrist, smacks across my face, shoves to the ground, his hand around my neck. I weighed in at 90 lbs. My fear, my anxiety level was sky rocketing. I couldn’t keep anything together. I felt so small; vulnerable.

One month after I moved into college, my parents withdrew me. They had no idea how horrible it was, but they knew something was terribly wrong. It took two months after that for Thomas and I to completely lose contact. I changed my phone number and talked to the police. The longer I was away from him, the more I saw what had happened. I started seeing a counselor, and even now, almost two years later, I see her once a month. Jesus Christ brought me through all of it a lot stronger.

I do not know what Thomas is doing now. But I know I will never be the same, I am stronger. I want to speak out against abuse, to educate leaders in churches about the causes, the signs, and how to prevent it from happening to youth, to adults, to ANYONE. I want people to realize that it isn’t RARE, that it isn’t something that only happens with the addicted or poverty struck, it happens in churches. Thomas was a Christian, but he was messed up all the same.

Maybe you are currently in an abusive relationship, maybe you are healing from one. Either way, STAY AWAY from your abuser. I know that it’s probably one of the hardest things you could do right now. They are intoxicating. They are like quick sand. One toe dangled in there, one measly phone conversation, and you are back to square one. CUT IT OFF. It’s the only way you can come out of that fog he has put in your brain. And most of all, CRY OUT TO GOD. He and the other abused women of the world are the only ones who will really understand.

Christian Abuse

May’s Story

Edited for length

After 29 years of living with verbal, spiritual and emotional abuse at the hands of her preacher husband, May, a Christian abuse victim, determines to break free and take control of her life. This is her domestic abuse story:

I was married 22 years. I thought because he never actually hit me (he just threatened to if I didn’t shut up), that it wasn’t classed as abuse. I’ve always been afraid of him, so I’ve worked myself and our 4 children around pleasing him in order to maintain peace.

I kept praying and waiting for God to change my husband, because the situation was out of my control, and when he’d spent time praying or chatting with certain friends, he’d show signs of really kind behavior and be committed to being a better person toward me, but the phases soon wore off and he’d be back to his bad temper. I soon found that confronting his bad behavior just brought about a fight.

I just put up with the bad because I thought it would get better. I’m an eternal optimist and I always focused on the good within him when I got the chance to do so in order to try to cultivate the good in him. I now realize he had no intention of change, the good intentions were convincing verbally, but produced no results. I thought this was my lot for life.

In public a different image was portrayed, we played happy Christian family, and I genuinely didn’t give up on my dream of my ideal husband up until 5 years ago when something inside me snapped. We were going on a short break and driving in the car, he was calling me fit to burn as usual with the kids in the back listening in silence. He slammed the car breaks on, threw the keys in my face and left the vehicle. I calmly turned the engine over and the kids and I had a great stress free break on our own.

Step by step I took control of finances, decisions concerning the children because I was operating as a single parent anyway on a day to day basis, always had done. I got some of the joint finances put into my own bank account.

I am already in a new relationship. This man has brought such love and healing into my life I never thought I’d feel love again. I feel like my old self, and I’m contented and alive! I didn’t go looking for it, and it hit me like a train in terms of intensity. I just didn’t see it coming at all. He’s been a friend for years.

I do forgive my ex-husband, and I wish him well, but I’m glad I don’t have to be part of his life or his family anymore.               ~ May

source: Hidden Hurt

Does God Want Me to Stay in Abuse?

Christian victims of domestic violence face the same hurdles to leaving an abusive relationship as do other victims, but they also have religious or biblical concerns, which make it difficult even getting to the stage of admitting abuse is happening without fearing ‘eternal condemnation’. We may also ask ourselves whether our experience within the relationship is what God intended for us.

One of the main dilemmas facing the victim of abuse and the Church leaders and/or members when dealing with the perpetrator of Domestic Violence, is the question of Forgiveness. Should we forgive the abuser unconditionally? How do we tell if repentance has taken place? Should the acts be forgiven and forgotten? For the victim, is it her/his duty to forgive each incident, act as though nothing had happened and continue to put herself/himself at risk from the abuser? Do we need to be forgiven ourselves and is that forgiveness available to us?

Many victims of abuse turn to their church leader for advice on how to deal with the abuse, whether it is acceptable in the sight of the Lord to leave the abuser, is divorce an option which is acceptable to the Lord, can the Church help to stop the abuse, hold the abuser accountable, help to protect the victim and children? How should clergy respond? Spiritual abuse found within the context of domestic violence stems directly from misunderstanding and false premises.

Source: HiddenHurt


What about Religion & Domestic Violence?

Religion and Domestic Violence

Why consider the religious or spiritual issues of Religion and Domestic Violence? Because these are fundamental not only to the believing victim and abuser as well as their Church, but also to all those who live in a culture which is largely based upon Christian moral values and traditions.

Religious people across all denominations are not exempt from Domestic Abuse, however, there appears to be a serious lack of understanding regarding abuse and the dynamics of abusive relationships and their impact upon the lives of people involved within churches and denominations generally.

When considering Religion and Domestic Violence we have to realize that religious or spiritual factors are central to the victim’s understanding and response. His/her own faith and the support of Church members can be vital in helping the healing process, while a lack of understanding regarding the Biblical perspective on abusive relationships by the victim or those he/she turns to for spiritual guidance and support can add to the emotional, physical and financial hurdles already faced.

Many women in abusive relationships feel they ought to submit to their husbands out of duty, that they have no right over their own body, life or even opinions. Quite often this misconception is furthered by advice from clergy, elders, rabbis or other members of the Church or congregation. Some men may feel trapped by their beliefs in an abusive relationship, unsure of their position towards their wives or girl-friends.

Often quotations or excerpts from the Bible are used to justify abusive behavior or the suppression by one member of the household of another. This in itself is a form of spiritual abuse.

From: Hidden Hurt

Witnessing Domestic Violence as a Child

Daisy and her siblings were children witnessing abuse on their mother by their step-father. An effect of children witnessing domestic abuse was that her brother then committed further sexually inappropriate behavior towards both his sisters, including Daisy. This is her story:

I was about 8 years old when it all started to happen. My mom married a guy named Harry. She thought he was a nice fellow, I guess. Eventually he became abusive to her. Me, my sister, and brother would witness it. They would always fight and we hated it. I remember thinking while walking home from school that I wished they wouldn’t be home because they were most likely fighting. I remember watching him beat her. He would punch her and she would fall. He would slap her or call her names. He would always push her around.

Every trip we went on turned out to be crap because he would always start problems and we weren’t very happy. The thing I remember the most is one night watching them fight while I was standing in the bathroom and they were in the hall. I don’t exactly remember what they were fighting about, but I saw him punch her and she fell to the ground. When she was on the ground he kept punching her about 5 times and then he left. I didn’t know where he went, but I do remember my brother calling the cops and them not even doing anything about it.

When I turned 10, my brother started sexually abusing me. He manipulated me into thinking that it was okay, that every brother and sister do that. I was young and stupid and I didn’t know. It took me 6 years to tell my mom that he did that. Actually, he did it to me and my sister. We told our mom when we decided to run away. We left a note that explained everything and we were gone for 3 days.

Eventually she found us at a homeless shelter. When we got home we talked about what had happened and we got the cops involved. My brother went to jail for a little while, but not long. He hasn’t done it ever since then and I’m glad.

I read these types of stories a lot and they all eventually work out well if you tell someone. The hurt and pain goes away and it gets better.

Now I have a 6 month old little brother that I treat as my own and I love him very much. I’m thankful for everything that has happened because it has made me a stronger person.

~ Daisy

from: HiddenHurt

Domestic Violence & Child Abuse true story

Tiffany’s Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Story

from Hidden Hurt

Tiffany tells her story of child abuse and domestic violence, from a sexually abusive father and the mother who failed to protect her and her sisters, through teens of suffering further molestation and shows how not just her experiences of relationships but also the advice by those who should care for her pushed her into a further domestic violence relationship:

Ever since I can remember I had never had the love or attention of my parents. My mom was more worried about looking pretty and making sure my dad wasn’t cheating on her than her 3 daughters …

My oldest sister was 15, the other one that followed was 14 and I was 7, I also had a 2 year old little brother at the time. My “Father” had been abusing my two sisters all their life. He started raping them when they each turned 13. My sisters showed and told my mother what was going on … they would show her their bloody privates but she never cared – or I guess her marriage to a sick man was more important than the well being of her daughters.

I was very young, all I remember was one incident of him on top of me and my mom saying he should stop because he was going to suffocate me, I was crying. I have no other memories of my childhood. none at all. He died that year 1987. He did scar us forever. My sisters have not been able to have a normal relationship ever since and neither had I until I found Jesus.

After my Dad died we moved to my mother’s hometown in Mexico with my grandmother and uncle, aunts and lots of cousins. Soon after we arrived, one of my male cousins who was 13 at the time started abusing me: he would touch my breasts and my private part. It went on for years, until I was 13. At around 10 years old my other cousin who was about 19 at the time started tongue kissing me and grabbing me and rubbing himself on me.

We finally moved to the States after that, to Chicago. And my mom’s Puerto rican boyfriend started to touch me too. Again no one did anything about it. I felt like no one cared.

I was told that I could use my body as a weapon to get what I wanted. my grandmother told me I should be a stripper or a high class prostitute. is there such thing? My mother said I should just look for rich old guys and take their money for sex. It was no surprise I ended up going off with a 43 year old rich man when I was only 17 after my own mother’s advise. It only lasted 4 months and I came back home with a child in me. My most beautiful treasure. My wonderfully smart boy! God meant for him to be born, and I love him very much.

My son was two years old when I met who I thought was my prince charming! He was handsome, polite, smart and sooo nice to me. We moved in together after 6 months of dating. Right after that he started abusing me. He used to call me names from slut, prostitute, stupid, ugly, he said I was good for nothing and the only reason he was with me was so I could clean the house and he could have sex with me. He said he was too lazy to masturbate so he might as well use me. After a while, I actually believed him: I believed that I was ugly, stupid, dumb, that I couldn’t do anything right. I didn’t have his permission to speak to my mom, or any family member, I had no friends. I tried committing suicide twice, but the thought of my son being alone made me think twice and Thanks to My wonderful God I never made it happened.

Two years after we got together, we had a beautiful baby girl, and I thought that would change him – it didn’t. He would choke me, push me, slap me, rape me. It lasted 8 horrible years.

I can say now that he was wrong! That I AM a good woman, I AM smart and I CAN do it all! I have given my life to Jesus, prayed for a wonderful husband which God has granted me. I have met the most amazing man in the world! Who cherishes me, takes good care of me, loves me and lets me know day by day he does; he loves my children and I’m very happy to say we are expecting a baby boy and getting married very soon. ALL THANKS TO GOD!

Please don’t let no one treat you that way, God meant for us to live happy in victory and in His presence. NO ONE deserves to live in fear, abused by no one. Make a stop to this as soon as you can, a man that has always beaten you or abused you verbally will NOT change. GET OUT! You deserve to be HAPPY.

~ Tiffany

What is Abuse?

What is Abuse?
by Jeff Crippen

Very few people know what abuse really is, though everyone seems quite ready to give advice to its victims. If you believe that abuse is physical battering, you have some learning to do.

Abuse is fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself* as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control. The abuser is not hampered in these efforts by the pangs of a healthy conscience and indeed often lacks a conscience.

While this mentality of power and control often expresses itself in various forms of physical abuse, it just as frequently employs tactics of verbal, emotional, financial, social, sexual and spiritual abuse. Thus, an abuser may never actually lay a hand on his wife and yet be very actively terrorizing her in incredibly damaging ways.

Abuse in any of its forms destroys the victim’s person. Abuse, in the end, is murder.

* Sometimes the genders are reversed.

Can Abusers Change?

To say that abusers cannot change removes responsibility for sin. They can change, but the vast majority choose not to, which is what the experts state. When God punishes them, their punishment is just. Abusers have options for treatment and are accountable.

Once the marriage covenant is broken through abuse, the abused partner does not need to stay in the marriage waiting for the abuser to change. The abuser’s recovery is a separate issue and his change is his own responsibility, not his wife’s. This is the mistake most churches make. These churches have over-sentimentalized marriage and are legalists.

A Cry for Justice