Hi there, Happy Summer. You know that when I write to you I like to keep it light, about special moments, but yesterday I saw a feature story in the Los Angeles Times (7/10) and it reminded me of one of the scariest and hardest things I ever had to do.The article was about the 39 year anniversary of the Stuart House in Santa Monica, a program through UCLA'S Rape Treatment Program.
The House is what saved our family when we had to fight a horrendous legal battle to stop my father from abusing his 4-year-old granddaughter, my niece. The Stuart House provides a safe environment where victims can dare to reveal their secret and get help. The case in the article was against a step-father for hurting his 7 and 8-year-old girls. Those little girls were terrified to tell what had happened to them. The verdict was a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison.
You may know that my work these past decades has been to strengthen the laws to protect the children. I am glad to see serious consequences for such heinous behavior, but it reminds me that we must all stand together to protect the children. Reliable research shows about 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be abused in this way before puberty.
I am spending my summer writing the sequel to Cry the Darkness, which is Cherish the Light: Breaking Free of the Dark (which will be available this year). I have just released an expanded edition of my Cry the Darkness: One Woman's Triumph Over The Tragedy of Incest which is now available as an Ebook through Amazon.com's Kindle and will soon be on Barnes and Noble's Nook. It can also be ordered in printed book format through Amazon or through mywebsite.
That Stuart House story reinforces to me that you and I must be more vigilant than ever to protect the children in our sphere. Life often presents terrifying situations and serious challenges, our job is to somehow find the strength to face those fears and move forward making the best life we can. I like when Mark Twain said, "Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of it." Our family finally had the courage to face what we had to and we have moved forward, but it was not easy. I wish you the most strength and tenacity to deal with whatever life presents.