A Voice For The Victims

Victimhood is a very personal thing. Many survivors of abuse are finding their voices and are making a valient effort to speak for these victims.

Some are saying that it increases the pain of the victims and that we should stop.

Others are saying that we must speak out in order to give a voice to the victims.
Josh Duggar and Words as Magic by Rebecca Diamond
What Does The Josh Duggar Dialogue Say To Assault Victims? by Stephanie Tait
It’s Not Just The Duggars by Dana of Lemon Lime Adventures
Nice girls don’t talk about stuff like this by Rebecca Diamond *Trigger Warning*

I don’t want to add to the girls’ pain but nor do I want this swept under the rug. Since there are 5 victims, some might feel one way and some might feel the other.  Also, since the information is already out, that cannot be fixed.  The only thing left to do it to work towards healing.

My main goal in posting is to expose the paradigm behind all of this in hopes of preventing situations like this in the future.  My hope is that those who are considering getting into Gothard/ATI/Patriocentric  teachings will see the danger and run away.  I also hope that those who are friendly with such families will be much  more observant.

Here is an in depth explanation of How Fundamentalism’s Teachings on Sexuality Create Predatory Behavior from Diary of an Autodidact.

Jason Harris looks at 10 things every person should be able to affirm in the face of the Duggar family tragedy.

Barefoot Betsy responds to my first link.

Rebecca’s Review of 13:24

Rebecca has written a very helpful review of the crime thriller 13:24 by M. Dolon Hickmon.  This review explains how triggering this novel is for victims of abuse and why it is not appropriate for everyone.  I, for one, appreciate the warning.

Please see the conversation which ensued between M Dolon Hickmon, myself and Rebecca Diamond on my Facebook page here.  Since Facebook has mixed up the posts, I will reproduce it here:

M Dolon Hickmon: I appreciated this review and understand her confusion. This book was intended to be very different from what people who read child abuse books probably expect.

First, I do appreciate the many readers who have shared their own abuse experiences and a
re far along enough in their own recovery to read and say, “Yes, this is accurate in describing abusive corporal punishment and what it is like living with PTSD.” Those testimonies are invaluable for establishing the credibility of the book. However, this book was definitely not meant to be read therapeutically by survivors. Nor was it intended for any of the other audiences that Rebecca mentioned!

The goal of this book was to reach crime fiction fans — for instance, the six million people who watch Law and Order Special Victims Unit each week — with a story that combines stylish, horror tinged entertainment with the accuracy of a child abuse memoir and the factual medical information of a semester of abnormal psychology.

One reason for doing this is the vast difference in the size of the crime thriller and child abuse audiences. This was dramatically demonstrated this weekend: I ran a small ad targeting people who’d signed up to get offers of discounted ebook thrillers in their email. Before the emails were even finished being sent, my book was catapulted into the top twenty of all child abuse titles. With an additional push from several activist communities, the title strolled easily to number one. But while maintaining the number one slot in child abuse by a huge margin, the book barely registered in the top 100 for Crime Thrillers. Viewed in the other direction, what this means is that if ANY book about child abuse were to reach the top twenty in crime thrillers, it would be selling more copies per day than ALL of the child abuse books on Amazon combined. That is a tremendous opportunity, and that is the first thing i had in mind when I was writing.

Of equal importance, from an activism standpoint, is that all of the books aimed at the traditional child abuse audience are ultimately read by the same small group of readers. This accomplishes next to nothing as an awareness campaign, because it doesn’t reach anyone who doesn’t already know all about the topic.

This weekend was a huge success for me, not because the book had number one in child abuse, but because it actually made it onto the crime thriller chart, peaking at #75. This is the first time I have managed it, and the difficulty shows just how much bigger the game is on that level. I now realize that the number of books sold per day in the thriller category dwarfs anything I even imagined.

Finally, I hope it’s obvious that this book was not written for Christians or to change the minds of parents who are on the fence about spanking. This is a book about child abuse. Primarily, I wanted people on all sides of the modern spanking debate to consider that conversations they have with other adults can be overheard and misunderstood by children who are being physically abused. It is not enough to frame our conversations in words that a reasonable adult could understand–we all need to consider how every word that we speak and write about corporal punishment will either empower victims to seek out help or convince them that are not deserving of any.

Why Not Train a Child?: Thank you for that clarification. I do hope you understand that I wish you success in your endeavor while also needing to take my intended audience into consideration.

M Dolon Hickmon: I think we need to have a shout out on corporal punishment–from every angle and with every bit of creativity and energy that we can muster. Having said that, the USA didn’t abolish slavery by convincing the slave owners that it was wrong and they should give it up. It was accomplished by making the people who didn’t own slaves appreciate the horrors of slavery so they felt obligated to do something about it.

I don’t think that people who beat their kids are motivated at all to stop. They will stop when the law steps in and says, “Enough”. And the political will to get those protections in place is going to have to come from the broader culture. It goes on for the same reasons that slavery continued: the people responsible LIE about what is being done. When the public understands what their euphemisms actually mean, they will say, “enough”.

Why Not Train a Child?: Yes. That we have different audiences was kind of my point.

M Dolon Hickmon: Rebecca was dead on with all of her observations. But, for example, anger, hostility, aggression and violence are typical male reactions to trauma; it is how men deal with feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy. To point it out as something unusual in survivor writing is exactly right – but the REASON it is strange is that the tenor of survivor discussions has so far been heavily led by female voices. I related to this review. Basically, I read what others were writing and thought that it didn’t really reflect my experience. So I wrote something that did.

Rebecca Diamond M Dolon Hickmon – I really did – I don’t want to say I enjoyed reading the book, because it was honestly a hard read – but I truly appreciated your voice throughout it.

I tried to convey in my review that it definitely wasn’t for the audiences I list
ed, so I appreciate your clarification on who the audience is. And I congratulate you on your success! That’s amazing to get into the top #100.

Have you considered doing a James Rollins-esque summary at the end? (Yes, I confess, I read some of his books. Guilty pleasure and all.)

I think that an epilogue or author’s note explaining the real-life connections; that this wasn’t just a thriller, but actually is happening around people more than they think, that the compliant smiling child that everyone compliments on their behaviour could indeed be a victim of horrific abuse, is an important point to make.

And it would be great to see a list of tangible ways that the reader could do something in response, as well.

Your novel is well-written, and I think it will linger in the minds of readers, even those who aren’t survivors. Giving ways to react/change/make a difference would take that lingering energy and help transform things, I really do believe.

M Dolon Hickmon: Thanks for reading and reviewing; Its really interesting to see what people think who have read it cold. I spent more than five years writing, and there are so many little details that some people notice and others don’t. It’s fascinating to see what, in particular, comes to the front for different people.

There is a prologue that steers people to the book’s website, where I have collected some of the stories of real life cases that the book is inspired by. I think that if you read the EBook it starts at chapter one, so you may not have seen it. A lot of reviews on goodreads have mentioned it but it may need to be handled differently. It’s always a challenge between essentially luring people in as a thriller, and making sure that they know that all of the crimes in the book are based in fact.

I would like to do more with that website but I am working full time at a sweaty, calloused hands job and taking care of a three year old, while also doing tons of writing and managing promotions like the one this weekend–which was the culmination of a year of lining up a complex choreography.

Every step is a learning experience as I am trying to do something that has not been done before. Ultimately, my hope is to create a new genre of survivor fiction. I would like to see others taking their stories and presenting them in ways that are marketable beyond the small circles of survivors and professionals.

I sold as many books in April of this year as I did all last year; the main reason is getting away from branding it as a child abuse book and trusting that people will accept it as a straight thriller. So much of that is just confidence from many many readers, and from the support I have gotten from professionals like the editors at Publishers Weekly.

This weekend it really hit me that what I have been guessing at, about the relative sizes of audiences, is not only true, but is obvious to professionals at PW and Kirkus. All along, people inside the book business have immediately understood that the potential of the concept to influence the world is phenomenal. The trick is getting the blend exactly right and figuring out how to market it.

Your comments about the audience are right on. This is a book that does not have a ready made shelf. But that’s not a flaw; it’s how I designed it from the beginning. In police procedurals, the victim is given one monologue to describe being abused and how it affects them–it’s not enough to do justice to the experience. Child abusers memoirs do justice, but people don’t want to read them. So I created something new. It puts me in a bind because I need survivors to endorse the book as accurate–but it’s not a book that was written for them. It’s written for everybody else.

Publishers are in business to make money, not to change the world, and they would rather print something that fits a known genre with a predictable number of sales. So it’s basically been up to me to believe in it, to develop the product and the funding for it and to do all the publicity. It’s a lot – lots of time and energy and money.

Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

I am also working on a second novel, by the way. I am learning at every step. When the next one is done I will have so many advantages. Have to remember that a year ago I was a guy with a stack of papers, zero Facebook friends and a dream of changing the world. The things that have actually happened since then I can hardly believe.

 

About Adrian Peterson

Crystal Lutton discusses responses to the Adrian Peterson case.

Speaking of Crystal Lutton, she also explains what the Bible says about spanking.

When considering Adrian Peterson, Rebecca Diamond says that she was spanked and she turned out… well, you’ll have to read her post to find out.

Jennifer McGrail compares Adrian Peterson with Ray Rice in Hitting is Hitting is Hitting.

Well known NBA player, Kareem Abdul Jabbar condems spanking in Time Magazine.

Hana and Pearl Are All Over The Internet

There has been a lot of attention being given lately to the Pearls and the part their book, To Train Up A Child, played in the death of Hana Aleumu “Williams.” So much attention in fact, that my blog could not handle the traffic generated by Google searches and was taken offline from the 19th until today as explained here. So, here is a rundown of the posts and articles I missed posting during that time.

It started with this article on Nov 15: Another couple found guilty of murder for parenting by “To Train Up a Child” by Alicia Bayer of the Mankato Attachment Parenting Examiner. [Read more…]

It’s Good To Be Back

So, I guess many of you noticed that this blog was down from Tuesday, November 19 at 1:00 PM PST until today.  I’m sorry to disappear without warning, but the truth is that I did not even know about it until 2 hours after it happened.

I did notice on Monday the 18th that my traffic had gone up ten-fold, but I did not know that my host would pull the plug over that.  They put up with it for what I assume was 24 hours and then advised us that they had placed a temporary block on the account because “This account was found to be consuming an inordinate amount of processor time, to the point of degrading overall system performance. While we do limit each account to no more than 25% of a system’s CPU in our terms of service, we do not actively disable accounts until they greatly exceed that number, which is what happened in this case.” Wow. [Read more…]

There Is More Than One Way To Train A Child

Rebecca Diamond considered one kind of Child Training but ended up embracing Child Training of quite a different sort.

Raising a Spoiled Brat?

Rebecca Diamond explains why she is not worried about raising a spoiled brat in He’s A Spoiled Brat – And I’m Proud Of It!

Another Interesting Quote from Pearl

My friend, Rebecca Diamond, brought this quote from Michael Pearl to my attention.  It is from his website: Rodless Training from June 1999 (emphasis mine):

“There will be times when a spanking is appropriate. But you are prevented! Then use your power as the caretaker and dispenser of all privileges and responsibilities to make his actions totally counterproductive. If you can’t spank the flesh, starve it with an embargo. Stand your ground and do not let the little fellow find satisfaction in his pursuits. Stay on duty, demanding obedience until he surrenders his will to your persistence. If there is a way to deny him access to some means of indulgence that relates to the offense, then by all means as governor of the island on which he lives deny him normal privileges until he complies.”

The reason I find this quote so interesting is that the bolded reminds me so much of the Williams Tragedy. For more posts about the Williams see here.

Giving Thanks

As you probably know, today is the day set aside in the United States for giving thanks to God.  Therefore, I would like to devote today’s post to doing just that.

First of all, I am very thankful to God for my life and my salvation which  He has given me  instead of what I deserved.

I am also thankful for my family, friends and church.

I am thankful for Gentle Christian Mothers for teaching me a more healthy way of thinking and for the fellowship there.  If it were not for Gentle Christian Mothers, this blog would not exist.

I am thankful for Rebecca who convinced me to allow her to make this blog for me.  Without her this blog would still be nothing but a webpage.

I am thankful for my writers and for all the bloggers to whom I have linked, without them this blog would be small indeed.

And, of course, I am thankful for my readers, without them there would be no purpose for this blog.

All the glory to God.

Document of Abuse

Rebecca Diamond has posted a copy of the Criminal Complaint against Timothy and Andrea Wick (son and daughter-in-law of novelist Lori Wick) and the other church members in Read It And Weep.

Lori Wick involved in Child Abuse Scandal

Rebecca Diamond exposes the teachings or Lori Wick and her church in Preach Jesus and Carry A Big Stick. In case you hadn’t heard, this best selling Christian Novelist has been funding a church which teaches that babies should be switched as young as 6 weeks old. Her son is among 8 people who are facing child abuse charges in Dane County, Wisconsin.   Also see the article in the Daily Mail.

Speaking Out Against Patriarchy

Here is Rebecca Diamond’s testimony and explanation of what she has against Patriarchy. Note to the easily offended: she does give this post a PG-13 rating.

And here is an exposé of the dark underbelly of the Father and Daughter Retreat offered by Vision forum. This is not for the faint of heart.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation, so full and free.

This old chorus expresses well the first and main reason for my thankfulness. I am also thankful for so much more.

I am thankful for my life, for my family and for the way God is using me.

I am thankful for this blog and the many people who have let me know that God has used it to help them.  It never fails to humble and amaze me when I see that God is using me in this way.

I am thankful for Rebecca Diamond who God used in a mighty way to allow me to move this site to Word Press. I am also thankful for everyone else who God has used to build this blog by writing for me or allowing me to link to the words which God has laid on their hearts.

And, of course, I am thankful for my readers whom God has used to share my posts so that more might learn.

Thank you.  <3

The POV of a Non-Spanked Child

I found this conversation to be very touching and profound. It shows the thinking of one 6 yr old child who has been raised with gentle discipline.