Sexual Abuse and Publishing

Mrs. Burrows discovered my love for writing in second grade. While everyone else went out for recess, I would be working on my story, Mrs. Burrows having stapled several more sheets of that fat-lined paper into my writing book. I was hooked for life.

Sexually abused children often disappear into a world other than the abusive one. Reading gave me a plethora of places and themes in which I could write. Writing provided a world in which I had the power of the outcome; a drop of power in a glass with my abuser getting all the rest of them. He didn’t know I had power in my reading and writing world and if he had, he would have found a way to destroy it.

I kept writing and writing and writing, and here I am, staying the course. My writing is such a powerful expression of what is going on deep inside that sometimes I have to write just to find out what I am thinking and feeling. It’s my mind talking to me because I can’t hear it any other way.

I have been published a bit in children’s Sunday School literature and adult magazines. I have taken college level courses in writing for children. These small achievements have given me the small idea that maybe I can write and maybe others will read it.

Writing a book about my sexual abuse and how God was with me through it has been my latest step in putting my life together and finding some sort of meaning in it. I labored over this book for a year and it made me suicidal at one point. But I didn’t give up and now it is done.

Apparently writing a book is less than half the work. Getting published is a whole crazy world of it’s own. I am researching writing proposals, queries, synopsis, marketing, figuring out who will buy it and on and on. This isn’t needed just for the publishing house, it’s also for the literary agent that apparently you have to have to break into their world. They give your proposal about eight seconds to decide if your proposal gets thumbs up or down.

I am discouraged by all the negativity the “experts” are dooming and glooming us with, even before I write my first proposal. But I have beat odds before fighting for healing from my childhood abuse. I would propose that healing is a much more difficult journey than publishing.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Until that time I will not give up, because that is what survivors do, even in the publishing world. I am so glad that Mrs. Burrows understood that.

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17 thoughts on “Sexual Abuse and Publishing

  1. Lisa, I want to encourage you to keep working at being published. I’m an editor for CrossRiver Media as well as a freelance editor. First, you don’t have to have an agent. Many pub houses take submissions directly from the writer. Two, there are a lot of books on abuse written by the victim. It will be very important in your proposal to include a section on the competition (similar books) and how your book is different. In addition, I’m the mother of an abuse victim and truly wish there had been info available 30 years ago so I could have recognized what was happening to my daughter. You have fought the tougher fight in healing.

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    1. Debra, I am honored that you read my post. I am already learning much from your site. I am so sorry to hear one of your children went through abuse. I will be praying for her. I already know my book is different as my abuse was of a satanic ritual cult. My Book is entitled: Only God Rescued Me, and not only covers my recovery, but how I held onto God and never blamed Him. There is literally one other Christian biography out there entitled: Satanic Ritual Abuse Exposed, by Katie. So I can definitely sell the differences and the need in the market for my book. I want to educate Christians as to what SRA is and how to help survivors. I am glad to hear some publishers don’t use agents. Thank you for your encouragement and help!

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  2. OH I am sad you journeyed through this. We had a pastor who was suffering domestic violence silently. As mature believers we always thought they were a little different, but we stood by them, loved them, I interceeded for them, propheised over them. I saw such a great call on his life. We helped her leave when after 8 years of our friendship she finally came out of the closet (the church closed after 7 years and we had been away for 2 years, when I got a call from another country from her). I have asked myself so many questions. I believe that I saw his call on him and that God was constantly calling him to step into his destiny, but as with all of us we have free will. I sometimes wonder if we submitted to his leadership too blindly (others saw it but stayed to support her … I had no idea) because that was what we were “supposed to do”. I remain friends and still support the female pastor, and have walked her through a horrendous divorce, and I now am so much wiser in seeing possible issues … I was deeply saddened that she had walked so so so long, but am now relieved that she is healing and rebuilding her life, with a love of God intact …
    May you not only find the right publisher, but completeness in your healing.
    Blessings, God is Good!

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    1. Wow, somehow I missed your post. I am so sad for your friend, and happy that you have been there for her once she felt safe enough to tell. Abuse is horrible at any age. I don’t think that the people around the abused really will ever know unless they are told. The best help would be support once they can talk, cry with them, and let them know they have worth. God bless you, and please give your friend a hug for me. Thanks for caring.

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      1. Hi Lisa. I haven’t blogged about that friend, but I did blog about another that I have been walking with for 2 years and is now plugging into our local church 💃 I just realised that there are more women than I thought around me dealing with the issue of abuse. Much love.

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  3. Still thinking about you & this book. .I think your book will be the hardest for me to pick up to read, but also one that would be the most important. Having known you since kindergarten, it makes me sad how many people have failed you. Scouring my memory, trying to think of anything you may have said that could have given a clue. There were a couple of things that I remember thinking were a little different – did you say them to adults? If you had come right and told someone, it haunts me to think you may not have been believed. As an educator, your story has taught me to be more vigilant. I have learned that no one and no family can be beyond reproach. Hugs to you, and continued persistence in having your story published.

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    1. Thank you, Bev. I would like to hear what you thought of as strange. The weird thing about abuse is that you are unable to verbally communicate it if you were young when it started. I tried telling my mom when I was 7, but she told me he was checking me for vaginal infections. After that my mind just shut abuse down as not reality. I know I had a tic where I would blink constantly and couldn’t stop. A small way the body sends stress signals. I had a couple girls in Detroit when I taught there that I highly expected were abused, but they were unable to say anything. Even if someone had for me, I wouldn’t have said anything. Thanks for your encouragement my forever friend. Kindergarten and Mrs. Lambert were a long time ago…

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  4. For some odd reason, my comment didn’t seem to want to post. I think for far too long, Christians have turned a blind eye to the potential for sin in it’s midst – had your teacher been better educated, might she have seen some of the subtle signs of abuse? Had others in your family known what to look for, might they have been able to do something about what was going on? Your story shows us where we have failed you, and hopefully it will help us to get better educated and put policies in place to protect each and every child. I hope that you can get it published and help us learn what we can do to make a difference.

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    1. Jamie, your post meant so much to me. Yes, our churches have a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Abusers are very good at rising to leadership in churches because that is one of the best places to hide. But with people advocating in the church as you are, we can turn this around. Thanks for stopping by.

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