Monday, September 27, 2010

This is why I write



As I type this I don't even know if I will have to courage to post it. But I want to get it down while it is raw within me.

You may have heard about the book SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. A book many people are calling it 'pornography.' Let me say for the record that I have not yet read the book. Let me also say for the record (whoever among you are keeping such records) that a book about a young girl who is raped and then too ashamed to report the crime is not EVEN CLOSE to my description of pornography.

 Here are the links to several much better posts on why this book is so profoundly important. They have said everything I could on the topic, except that they are not me. And they have not shared with you why I am crying even as I type this.

Weronika, literary agent with D4EO, on her post here contemplated the almighty question: WHY I  WRITE. Ever since that post I have been trying to come up with my own answer. It seemed like something a writer should be able to put into words. But nothing I wrote explained my profound need for words. Then the blogosphere exploded with controversy over SPEAK and finally I have my answer.

This is why I write.

I am a Christian. There. I said it. (Yes, I that word hard to say sometimes.) And my family considered themselves Christian too. As a child I lived in middle class suburbia, where the fences are mostly picket white and the weeds dare not dip their toes in manicured lawns. My father paid the bills. In advance. My mother cleaned his house and wiped the sticky fingers of his children. I was one of them, though my finger were usually between the pages of a book. I found it the safest place to escape.

The thing was every Sunday my father totted our family off to church. He sang the songs. We sang with him. He smiled. We smiled too.

Yet beyond our weedless lawn, down the hall way of dare-not-be-dirty tiles, stood a cursing man. A large looming man.  Yes, THAT man. The Sunday morning, singing, smiling, handshaking man. The man with the bills paid and both his daughters in private school.
Not only did he curse his wife, but he 'spanked' her too. His word for it. Not mine. To this day he says he was simply trying to maintain control. Trying to gain her respect. Whatever way you paint that, it's abuse. And two little girls watched year after year as their mother's beltings healed outside, and tore her apart inside.

Fear is something I knew so well I panicked when the house was still and voices soft.

Not only was my father abusing my mother, but both my sister and I were physically and sexually abused for years.

There were no listening ears because I had no voice. I learnt young that you did not tell because, as my mother said, "you might get taken away." Maybe you think it is strange that a child would rather live with abuse than be taken away, but when that is all you know the fear of losing the parents you love, yes I said love, is overwhelming. So I said nothing. For years and years I said nothing.

In my teens I tried to tell, but no one knew what to do with my story. Such a nice Christian family. My mother went to the church for help and was told she simply needed to be a better wife. (This is why I find the word Christian hard to say sometimes)

To this day my father reuses to acknowledge much of what he did. And my mother says she didn't know my sister and I were abused. But my point in telling you all this is not to judge her or even my father. It is to TELL.
THIS IS WHY I WRITE. Because I think someone needs to hear that this is not where the story ends. THERE IS HOPE.

When I was 16 I met an amazing guy, who stood up to become a man who would hold me through twelve years of marriage while I struggled with the trauma of my past. I knew nothing about becoming someones wife. And motherhood? OH. MY. GOD. along came these beautiful little boys who needed me to hold them when I could barley hold myself.

Finally I curled up in the fetal position inside and all but died emotionally.  Dependant on self-harm to regulate my feelings and escaping into my own mind to split off from any reality that made me uncomfortable I knew I was no longer coping. The strong TAB,the girl who made others laugh and listened to all your problems, she was crumbling away before her own eyes.
I was emptiness.
A black hole.
A woman with no idea how to love the little girl within her who had been rejected and abused for so many years. No idea how to mother myself. No idea how to speak about the pain, the guilt and the ever present shame. And I had no idea how to birth the woman I wanted to become. All I knew was  that I MY SILENCE WAS KILLING ME!

My husband rang around to find help for me (at my request) and was put in touch with an amazing counselor. (I write about her quite a bit on this blog without using her name.)


When the blackness curdled around I would write my about the 'characters' BEAST my pain, and LITTLE GIRL, and the battles they fought inside me. Daily those words helped claw and scrape my  way to healing. I used words and metaphor to paint what those inner landscapes of my heart looked like and as I let those words be seen I saw myself. For the FIRST time. Finally I began to heal.
.
Words paved a road back to living.  And it saved my life. Literally. Those words saved my life. But even this is not why the writing was important. It was later when I could look back at all the places I'd walked that I wondered it other people might see themselves or their pain in the 'characters' I'd created. I wondered if I might share BEAST and LITTLE GIRL with others who needed a way to see their pain and embrace the ignored and scared little person inside themselves. I wonder if my metaphors might be a voice for the voiceless.

I cannot begin to tell you how passionate I am about books like SPEAK. It is a monumental work of importance, because it is one more voice screaming THIS HAPPENS AND IT IS NOT OKAY.
This world needs many honest, brave voices who can put into words what it is like to curl up in the fetal position with the silence killing you from the inside out.  People who aren't afraid to write about our fallen, messed up world AND still say THERE IS HOPE.

THIS IS WHY I WRITE. It is why I will listen to honest and raw feedback about my memoir. Write. Re-write. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

If you know pain, or know someone who does, then honestly how can we stand by and let others say that books which cover this subject matter should be banned?

SPEAK out.

SPEAK did.

This is why I write.

78 comments:

  1. I am lost for words. The courage you have to speak out about the traumas in your life is breathtaking.
    This was an extremely personal post and I'm glad you had the courage to write it out much less post it.
    Thank you for facing the darkness in your life and giving other the inspiration to do the same.

    In case not enough people tell you, you are amazing.

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  2. Tabitha, I cannot tell you how proud I am to know you. I can't even start to comprehend what you must have gone though, are still going through. And yet you smile.

    And you had the courage to post this.

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  3. Tabitha,

    I'm deeply grateful you do write. We need you to.
    ~ Wendy

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  4. I read this Tabitha with tears in my eyes. At the same time I applaud you for writing this heart rendering post.
    My daughter when aged 9 yrs along with friends of hers was sexually abused by a family friend.
    The first we knew was when the police came knocking on the door , one of the other girls' parents had reported it, My husband worked with the abuser and to be honest was going there and then to hit him but the police said he was on his way to arrest this man.
    He went to court and was give 4 weeks imprisonment but because he had been in custody was released. My daughter spent years of verbal abuse from him if they passed in the street.
    She left home at 18 and it was I who had the task of telling her that he had committed suicide as he was due in court for abuse to small boys. It was then the full inpact of what he done to her hit home and for years she suffered. She is fine now has a wonderful partner and a 11 yr old son. Her father was heartbroken about how the trust his friend betrayed him and our family. Thank you for writing this as I am sure many people will be helped by your post.

    God Bless
    Yvonne.

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  5. I honestly had wondered what your memoir would include since you've never mentioned much about this. I am so sorry for what you endured and I am glad that you felt bold to speak out. Freedom is yours today. That hold over your life is being broken off and you are going to help so many others with your words. Hugs.

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  6. I'm lost for words.

    It takes real courage to be open like that and speak out.

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  7. I'm sorry about your childhood. It saddens me that people are like that. I don't think they should ban books. If a parent decides it's not for their children, that's one thing but why should schools or government decide? That book may help many students who are going through the same thing to SPEAK out and get help.

    CD

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  8. Oh my God, Tabitha. If I'd not been at work I'd be crying openly.

    You are so very brave to SPEAK out. I heard about the controversy about the book, SPEAK. It's ludicrous. Anything, ANYTHING, that will help someone hurting come forward and get help is needed in this world.

    I admire you. You give us all courage with your courage.

    And I understand that it IS sometimes very hard to use the word Christian. Not because you're ashamed of who you follow, but are ashamed at what others have done to the following.

    Thank you,
    Jen

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  9. Clarissa, I agree. SPEAK is about helping and voice. Nothing less.

    Quinn. And it takes courage to read, so thank you.

    Dianne, thank you. I am hopeful.

    Yvonne- oh. My heart breaks. I'm so sorry. I am glad your daughter recovered. Thank you for sharing.

    Wendy- thank you.

    Erinn- that made me smile :)

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  10. Thank you Caroline and Jen :) Your words matter :)

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  11. Such a terrible story. I hope you continue on your path of healing.

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  12. You are so brave. I have chills and tears. There is nothing worse than being trapped as a child, having no voice, and living with someone who puts on another face for the world.

    You should be proud of yourself.

    And that is why Speak is important - to give girls a voice.

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  13. Wow. Just wow. Absolutely courageous of you to share your story. So many are fearful to speak, and another voice speaking can help many, many others heal, and live. You are a blessing.

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  14. Tabitha,
    You are living proof that there is hope in horrible situations.

    Thank you for having the strength to share.

    Shelley

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  15. My heart swells when I imagine the great things God has in store for you. All the pain and hurt have not consumed you~ Amen!

    Thank you for being a transparent, real, and loving person- in spite of it all!

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  16. You're amazing and so brave. I'm so sorry these things happened to you. I love how hopeful you are. Thank you for speaking up and I'm sure your writing will help many others as it has helped you. I hope you know that Christian and Christ are not always the same thing. A loving forgiving Saviour is always there for you.

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  17. I hadn't heard about the memoir "Speak" and any controversy around it. I am so afraid our country is moving towards losing its freedoms if people still want to ban books. Bravo, Tab, for standing up and SPEAKING. We all must do it if abuse is every going to stop. And for people to know that it is possible to heal - I am living testament to that and SO ARE YOU!! Thank you for your words. They are such blessings to me and to others.
    Karen

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  18. Tabitha, My heart breaks for the pain you have suffered and are still suffering. Silence is a curse to the soul.

    I am so happy you have found such love and support in your life partner and continue to heal with his loving help, the love of your children and your counselor.

    Keep writing. Writing is a true salve to the soul.

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  19. I'm so glad you had the courage to post this and speak up.

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  20. You speak so beautifully, too, Tab. Much love and thanks for your courage.

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  21. Tabitha: Putting the fear and shame of abuse into words and sharing them takes an amazing person--strong in ways she might not fully realize. That is you, Tab. You're beautiful beyond words I can find. Thank you for being you and for speaking with the voice you have.

    As for SPEAK, I have read it and that anyone could find anything about this novel to call porn is unbelievable. Laurie Halse Anderson wrote of a young teenage girl who goes to a party, naive enough to let a senior boy kiss her and then be unable to fend him off when he date rapes her. There isn't a gratuitous word in this description. Nothing but her fear, shame and agony as she blames herself for being stupid. Nothing but the cruelty of other teenagers who turn on her, misunderstanding what happened. Nothing but the crushing lonliness as she slips into a dark inner world and stops talking. But the book ends in hope as she finds her voice. I can't think of a more important message for girls to have. They can speak up, they can speak out. Please say no to book banning, everyone.

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  22. We all gather around you and lend our support and prayers. WE are all in this together and must stand to end such abuse for children.
    Sad to know abuse does exist in all homes, regardless of faith or whatever.
    You are in my prayers for continued healing.
    Blessings to you for telling your story.

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  23. "Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

    I put this on the top of my blog because I hope that no one will judge my words. Some will have great value to you and some will be meaningless. However, they are hard birthed through trials very similar to your own and labels such as "pornography" can only come from one who does not know and does not wish to.

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  24. I had heard of "Speak" but knew nothing about it. Neither could I come up with something that had not already been said.

    From our writing we share, from our words we heal and from our voice we create hope. If this pornography then I have been using the wrong dictionary.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  25. Oh wow, Tabitha. I'm so sorry you went through all this. And your courage in coming out about it...knowing that your words might bring courage to others... I think you've been given a gift, and even though all you went through was horrible, it might mean that you can reach out to a young girl who might be going through the same thing and let her know that it will be okay.

    I had an abusive stepdad -- he was physically abusive to my mom and mostly verbally abusive to us, although he did get physically violent a few times. I know what it's like to hide in your room and listen as he yells at your mom and know there's nothing you can do. I know that feeling of living in fear every night. And I know I too should probably write about it.

    I think going through what we went through has helped us become stronger. We're deeper and we feel more, which is what helps us as writers. It would have been better not to have gone through it, but I prefer to turn it around and let it work for me.

    We're survivors...and you're an incredible person. Thank you for sharing this.

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  26. Thanks for being so open and honest in this post, Tab.

    I don't understand the Speak controversy. I read this book while in college. I read it for a Children's Lit class while earning a degree in elementary/middle school education. The book is powerful. I never once would have ever related it to porn and still don't understand how people are saying that. There's nothing remotely pornographic about it. It's honest and raw and real and powerful. I still remember that book. It's one of the few I remember from that class.

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  27. I'm so glad you write. I'm so glad the Lord has healed you through your writing and quickened your spirit to live at the same time. Think of all of the people you will touch and how far they will come in their own healing process because of your bravery. *hug* I wasn't gently reared either and although I don't have anything even close to your story I use my own life as fuel for my writing.

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  28. My words to you write now will absolutetly not convey what I feel after reading your story. I am crying, and I am cheering you for having the guts and honesty and convinction to write and speak out. So many haven't and it goes on.
    I carry a smiliar story in my heart about a family very close to me who endured that same secret for decades--until one spoke out. Someday, I hope to write it. I am thankful today that you are too!! Blessings!

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  29. Incredibly powerful. Thanks for being the brave woman you are not only to find the way to heal yourself, but also to share your journey with us. We all need to listen to voices like yours.

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  30. My heart goes out to you, Tabitha. When your memoir is out, I will support you and help you let your word out and let the world know about it. You are a blessing to the world.

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  31. You have so much to offer. In spite of, or maybe because of. Keep writing, dear girl.

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  32. This reminds me of my song "Raise the light". There is always hope.

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  33. I stand in awe of you and your courage to speak out. You have much to offer the world and your words need to be heard. May God bless you and the ministry of your words.

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  34. I thank everyone who had the courage to read that. Some words are not easily written or easily read, but perhaps they are important anyway. My hope in sharing is that others will see there is hope and that a past does not have to dictate a future.
    Thank you for the words of encouragement. It means a lot.

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  35. I have not read or even heard of SPEAK, but I know you, and I hope you never stop saying and writing your truth.

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  36. What a riveting, brave post!! I'm a bit wordless as a result, but just wanted to say how much I admire your passion for sharing words that mean something.

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  37. I have overcome the very things you mentioned. Forgiveness is... no longer allowing the things that were done to you to harm you any longer. Keep your focus on what you want in life instead of on the past. The more you review the past the more you reinforce the memories! Thank you for sharing!

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  38. You're brave and strong and a true writer. I am sorry for your childhood but I congratulate you on who you are today.

    God bless.

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  39. Dear Tab,

    Whether it is the right thing to say or not, I want you to know that I am proud of you. You fought and battled and are winning, and now you have stood up in front of the world and shared your pain and growing with us. You are strong. You are stunning in the depths that you dig to, and the pain you pull out. The power that you used to write this post is good, and clear, and all you. So again, I am proud of you for using this power to speak out. I wish you peace and continued blessings.

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  40. You are brave and beautiful and strong and inspiring. xx

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  41. Wow! That's all I can say. I admire your courage for bringing this out in the open, and I mourn for the little girl you used to be. I pray for you and am glad you've found an outlet for your emotions. God is with you.

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  42. Tabitha, I'm so glad you have spoken. I have a dear friend who had a very similar experience. Honestly, there are times when I really struggle with my opinion of men just because of knowing these ugly truths from friends, even though I haven't been through the same thing. I have to keep reminding myself of the good men and fathers I know, because these other examples are so loathsome.

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  43. If you had never been through any of this trauma, I would still want to read you; you are that gifted a writer. But now I want to read just about anything that comes off your writing chest. It's an honour to know you--as a human being and as a writer. Keep telling us your stories, friend. :)

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  44. I was abused as a child, not sexually, but physically and mentally. I'm not sure why I write, but I know just for the small moments when I'm lost in writing or creating I feel complete and well.

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  45. Welcome to the blog LL Cool Joe. You write. No need to have a reason. small most lost in creating are often the biggest most profound moments of my life.

    Bhastwati- that brought a tear to my eyes. Thank you. I am honored that you read.

    Ross- I know. Me too. But then I look at my husband and I am reassured that good men exist.

    Thank you all for the comments. I am trying to get to all the blogs today to say how much those comments matter. :)

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  46. I am glad to know a woman with courage such as yours. I've been touched by your memoir and it speaks to me and I've been talking to my own little girl a lot since I read it.

    The beauty of your writting about pain, guilt and tragedy has helped and encouraged me to learn about myself and to grow. I thank you that you know how to Speak too.

    You know who I am :)

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  47. TB I am captivated by your words and pain. Thank you for giving voice to many of us who are finding our voice. Blessings to you dear one.

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  48. Anon- yes. I know who you are:) Thank you. It matters to me that my own walk to find that little girl inside is mattering very much to someone else :)

    Thank you for stopping by to comment. Library and tea again soon?

    JBR- Thank you. Blessings to you :)

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  49. I hear you Tabitha.

    We speak because we need people to listen, mostly because they never did before.

    We speak because we need people to understand what happens to real people. We need these people to speak up as well.

    The trouble with this sort of writing (as I am finding) is that people often don't want to admit that so much can be done to one person, that the 'victim' should just move on to stop the pain from recurring. The trouble is that the word 'pain' doesn't even cut it, and what has happened to people has be swallowed and buried so deep inside that it needs to be let out.
    Some of us do that with writing.

    My message to people who say that this type of writing is gratuitous, that this type of writing is pornographic - is that this type of writing is real, and if it takes people like you reading it and getting upset to stop it becoming real for someone else -well, so be it.

    Good on you Tabitha, breaking the cycle is important.

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  50. I'm SO glad that you write... your story is the gospel.... it's the power of God's redemption. SO speak it loud and write it proud!!!! You have something worth sharing!!! You, my friend have victory over darkness...
    Celebrating this post with you... I LOVE IT!

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  51. Tabitha,
    My heart hurts so badly for you and your sister. I'm so sorry this happened to you, and I'm sorry it tainted the word Christian, because what happened in your family has NOTHING to do with following Jesus.
    Your husband is an amazing man, and you are a wonderful, wonderful mother.
    I don't know what else to say, really, except that this is a heartwrenching post. And that Jesus loves you SOOO much. Like how you feel for your precious boys, that's how He feels toward you. But I don't know why He let that happen, but I hope maybe somehow this pain inside you, and these words you write, will help someone going through the same thing, or that your testimony will open eyes like mine (naive eyes) so that I can see what needs to be seen.

    Thank you so much for sharing this Tabitha! You're courageous and strong. :-)

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  52. Thank you Jess. And I am do absolutely know that the God I serve has nothing to do with the 'Christianity' some people chose to parade around.

    Thank you Manda. Thank you for visiting.

    AMW- thank you. And I so agree with you.

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  53. Incredible post, Tabitha. Brave. And honest. We love you for it. And for all you went through, all you've come through. You are a wonderful person.

    Write on. Speak on.

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  54. Wonderful, genuine post that I'm sure was hard to write. These people at the church were not Christians. They were hypocrites. (And I know you understand this.)My son was born with a port wine birthmark all move his body. It is a rare brain disorder. And because he looks so different most adults and young people spurn him. Church people and their kids spurn him. I have given up on church. I am a Christian, but want NO part of church. I have seen the way they treat him. We have been to a LOT of churches. And they all treat him this way. It isn't just one church. I read my Bible and pray. I spend time in God's presence. But want no part of church. Matthew West (a christian artist) wants to do my Christopher's story. He just recorded an album of stories like yours and mine. One song was inspired by a family much like yours. The girl wanted to die. She wrote Matthew West a letter. The song came from it.

    A father and daughter was at the concert listening to this song. This father was sent to prison for physically and sexually abusing his daughter. And now he really is saved by the blood and is trying to restore his relationship with his daughter. The song helped them. That is why it is important to tell these stories.

    I am sorry for your pain, but thankful God brought healing through your hubby and counselor.

    Someday? Will you write a book to help others that are going through what you endured?

    Sorry for the long comment. I'm praying for you. Truly. Pray that my son finds a friend, please?

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  55. I have no words really to express the impact that this post has had on me Tabitha. I have not been through the traumas you have but you tell your story so brilliantly that I was drawn in, and yes I went through the range of emotions while reading -- rage at your parents, disbelief at the church, hopelessness for the little girl you once were and pride to see the courage you now display as a grown and strong woman. Bravo! Please keep us informed on the progress of your novel, I do know a few people who could really identify with your story.

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  56. Tabitha, I don't have words. Thank you for writing such an honest, brave, and powerful post. You are incredible.

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  57. Tabita- I wrote about this today, and posted a link http://coffeeringseverywhere.blogspot.com/2010/09/victims-of-silence.html. Can you take a look at it- if anything I said offends you in any way, let me know and I will change it, or even take down the post.

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  58. What a moving tale. I applaud your courage and your breaking of the silence. And rape isn't pornography - it's a crime that ruins people's lives.

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  59. Tabitha-
    If I could say anything to you I would say "strength." Whether its yours or God's or your husbands, you seem to have it in spades. Amazing for someone who endured so much.

    I will never (I hope) have a purpose to write as strong as yours.

    Thank you for opening your heart to us.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  60. Salute to you Tabitha...
    My heart bleeds to hear this part of your life..
    I don't know what to say anymore..Hats off to your honesty and bravery..
    I wish you good luck for the rest of your life..
    Keep writing and always be happy... :)

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  61. I admire your strength and bravery so much. It must've been difficult posting this, but this is wat makes a writer.... someone who isn't afraid to reach down to the depths of their heart and soul and make others feel... even if it means reliving awful memories.

    You are an amazing person. I'm so sorry for what you went through, but just look at you now! I am truly impressed.

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  62. Your courage will give others courage, Tabitha. I am proud to know you, and I admire your strength. Thank you for sharing your story. :-)

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  63. So powerful and courageous, Tab. Speak is an amazing book. I hadn't realized there was a dust-up over it, but I guess the good thing is that more people will read it now and receive its critical message.

    I admire you more and more all the time, and I started out a huge fan.

    Love.

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  64. You are wonderful to share your story and speak out in defense of the writers who call attention to some of the horrors of being young. The sin is not in the telling, it's in the secrecy. It's necessary to let those young people know they're not alone, and there's hope for a better life. I think I need to read SPEAK so I can better defend the author.

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  65. Tabitha,

    Wow. I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said far more eloquently than anything I could write. So I'll just say this: your post was raw emotion. And courage. And if your memoir has half as much threading through your words, I'm surprised it is not already in print. Best. Always.

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  66. I too am at loss for words. It is amazing to me how so many live in fear, everyone does a little bit, in their own way. Either that or denial. I have not read Speak, but will. It is amazing how the truth sets us free. I think people ban books because they are afraid of the truth, that horrible things DO STILL happen, even in todays society. OR maybe they wish to remain desensitized to it all. I don't have the answer I just know that I'm glad you came through it and can still smile. You are phenomenal.

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  67. Thank you for honouring us with your truth. I'm glad to have really met you - a whole, loving, talented woman who can stand with her feet on the ground and her eyes wide open and her heart open and tell her story. Beautiful.

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  68. Oh, Tab! You. are. amazing.

    Thank you for having the courage. Thank you for giving us your voice. I am so proud to know you.

    *hugs*

    ~ Jackee

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  69. I am amazed by your courage and I am glad you spoke! Speaking puts it out there, for others to open up and reveal their past, their demons, their pain. What a Brave soul you are~ I am so sad for what you and your Mom n' siblings endured.
    SCREAM should be the word. You words are so
    haunting of why you write, but it is important you put your story out there and help others who can't yet, SPEAK or WRITE~xXx

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  70. Thank you so much everyone. I had no idea there was such support for voices that speak out. You guys give me great hope :)

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  71. I can't imagine having to live with what you did. I myself was molested by a neighbour when I was 7 years-old. My parents knew right away that I was tramatized, convinced me to tell them the truth, and had the police involved immediately. At nineteen I was assulted by a boyfriend, and again, my family was there for me.
    When I found SPEAK, I read it in one sitting, then immediately passed it on to my daughters. They KNOW to talk to us, they KNOW we are there for them, but they may still need the reminder. A lot of girls do need to know they need to speak out.
    I'm glad you found a way to have yourself heard. Just speaking out about things can take away the power they have over you. My prayers are with you.

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  72. Thank you cinette for visiting. Yes, these books are so important. Books like SPEAK remind others that their voice needs to be heard. I am so glad you passed it on to your daughters. :)

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  73. I love you, Tab. I love you and I've never really met you. Yet we know each other better than I know most of the people in my life. You inspire me. You are so brave and strong and beautiful. I wish I could hug you. I wish I could be more like you. I love you!

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  74. Hi Tab, why is it that we meet and don't really share truths and insights, i never knew any of this stuff about you, all i see is the wonderful wife, mother and sister-in-law. promise we will share in a more real way in the future! You should be the one sharing at Mops, I feel embarrased that I waffled on about my little world but in itself it was my way of doing what you have done here and the first time I had spoken publicly. I agree THERE IS HOPE AND A FUTURE, and what happened in the past WAS NOT OK

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  75. Thank you tara :) I'd hug you too :))

    Joan- yeah, there is so much we don't know about the people we see everyday hey. I am sure there is much I don't know about you :) But thank you very much for stopping by and commenting. Public speaking is hard. You did fine :) Thanks for the show of support :)

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  76. Tabitha,

    Thank you for being brave and not silent. There are so many who need to find their voice, a precious loved-one of mine included. It happened in a Christian community as well, by a family friend, elder in the church and youth group leader. When the Pastor was informed so many years later, after she had her own children, he did nothing. I can understand your distaste with the word, "Christian." But so much of what goes on and is hidden behind the name of Christ is the opposite of who He is.

    I have spent the last 10 years getting free from the harsh realities of religion, and learning to know the real Jesus, who paid the price for me and empowers me to walk in His freedom. He has introduced me to the Father, who loves purely, holy, unconditionally; and His Spirit who comes to reveal the truth, nurture my spirit and heal my soul.

    I was praying for a woman a few years ago who I didn't know. I had no idea she had been abused as a child by her father. When I approached her I began to choke uncontrollably. I couldn't get my breath, so I stepped away and prayed, and I heard the Spirit say to my spirit this woman wanted to speak and couldn't. She was being cut off by fear.

    So I approached her again and shared what I heard, asked if there was something she needed to say or share with us. She began to cry from the depth of her soul, and as she did, my choking stopped. Then she told her story, how her dad used to come into her bedroom at night and molest her. Her brother was in the room next to her. She was told she must be quiet so her brother wouldn't hear. She was still keeping quiet all these years later! But God! He knows. He cries our tears. He was there, and felt every pain and shame of it. And because Jesus paid the price, He is able to heal and restore us as we forgive.

    As we prayed for this beautiful woman--who always felt so ugly--she forgave her Dad. And when she spoke the words--I had my hand on her back--and I could feel the light of God coming into her, chasing away the heavy darkness that had been choking her. Fear is an ugly enemy that keeps us from being who we were created to be. I saw this woman transformed--she could breathe and speak again. And laugh.
    It is amazing what happens when God is invited in. He looks nothing like the religion I have known.

    I am so honored to have read your story. You are a beautiful writer. May God bless you and continue to heal you, fill you with His Spirit, and use you to reach many who need to tell their story and know they are loved.

    Hugs, M.

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  77. You are a beautiful writer Tabitha. Thank you for so so bravely telling your story. I have a precious loved-one who went through something similar--she was abused by an family friend, elder in the church and youth group leader. I can understand your distaste for the word, "Christian." But most of what goes on and is hidden in the name of Christ, is opposite of who and what Jesus came to reveal to us. I have spent the last 10 years getting free from the harsh realities of religion, and learning to know the real Jesus and His Spirit-who loves, heals, saves, and leads us to the Father.

    I prayed for a woman a few years ago who I didn't know. I had no idea her father used to molest her. When I approached her I began to choke uncontrollably. So I walked away and prayed. I heard the Spirit say that this woman had something to say but couldn't--that fear was cutting off her voice.

    So I shared what I heard, and she began sobbing. We learned that when her father came in to molest her, he would tell her she couldn't make a sound, because her little brother, who was next door, would hear her. She was still not making a sound all these years later.

    As we prayed, this beautiful woman was able to forgive her dad, and as she did, there was a visible transformation in her whole being. I could see and feel the light and love of God coming in and driving the heavy darkness of guilt, shame and fear away.

    There are so many who need the healing love of God. It's a process. Keep writing! Many blessings to you! M.

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