Sexual Abuse, Rape, and Incest — What You Don’t Tell May Destroy You

Shhh!Simone, a shockingly beautiful teen, is on the downward spiral of destruction as she battles incest and self-hatred. She is the 14-year old daughter of affluent parents who expect her to be the perfect, well-behaved child. She can’t tell anyone what is happening to her because it would tear the family apart and ruin their image. She feels trapped. So she keeps quiet and resorts to dealing with the pain on her own terms. Cutting is her only way out.

What could Simone have done differently to change her fate and that of her family? How could she have better dealt with the shame and pain of incestuous sexual abuse? I imagine it must be extremely difficult for some to share this horrific secret, but what you don’t tell may destroy you. Check out this article below; it breaks it all down for you.
To learn more about Simone, order a copy of Who Is He To You today at www.MoniqueDMensah.com

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Sexual Abuse, Rape, and Incest — Finding Your Voice

By Donna Eder

Sexual exploitation takes the innocence and power from victimized children. There is a way to become empowered again. As long as an abused child remains stuck in guilt and shame, the perpetrator is still in control. The adult survivor of childhood abuse will remain a controlled victim. The key to freedom and empowerment is disclosure. Disclosure means, “telling”. Exposing the truth about sexual exploitation is the victim’s choice. No one has the right to force a victim of a sexual predator to confront him. There are a variety of methods of disclosing the sexual violence in one’s life. There is no one right way to disclose. Since one’s trust is grossly broken in sexual abuse, rape, and incest, it is particularly important for one to carefully and delicately decide for herself how to go about “telling”. The critical point is to tell, tell in one’s own timing, and in one’s own way. Perhaps a listener will be a sister, lover, or good friend to share one’s “secret”. Perhaps the victim of sexual abuse will find help expressing her thoughts about her sexual exploitation to a teacher, minister, therapist, doctor, or another person of authority. Perhaps one will find solace through writing, painting, or composing music to disclose the pain. One thing to keep in mind is this, “You are only as sick as the secrets you keep.” It does not matter how long it takes someone to tell. The sexual victim’s empowerment only depends on telling her story of sexual abuse, incest, and/or rape, sometime, and in some way. Now may not be the right time to disclose. There will be a right time later, when the sexually abused victim feels it is safe for her to tell her story. When one is able, take the time to disclose. Empowerment, fulfillment, and happiness throughout one’s life depend on it. Without disclosure, the victim’s pain will stagnant and seethe, crippling one emotionally. “Survivors of abuse are six times more likely to become abusive parents. Forty-five percent of abused children become adult alcoholics.” (http://www.pcao.org/whatis/stats.cfm) Nondisclosure has been shown to have long-term consequences for the sexually exploited. These consequences can include, but are not limited to: difficulty trusting others, trouble expressing emotions in a positive manner, difficulty coping with stress, poor impulse control, addictive behavior, destructive behavior, self mutilation, anger, anxiety, depression, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), psychiatric disorders, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and actions, difficulty with authority figures, sexual problems, sleep disturbance, low self esteem, isolation, shame, confusion, fear, and many other dysfunctions. Long-term consequences can be averted, or positively transformed, through disclosure. When one expresses and tells her abuse story, she begins to have a recovery story. Telling allows the devastated soul and inner child to have a voice. A person who chooses to live victoriously validates her life with her own voice. She denounces the perpetrator and claims back the power that was so viciously stolen from her. To break free from remaining a victim of sexual exploitation, claim your voice (http://thevoicesareloud.blogspot.com).

About the Author of This Article

Donna Eder is a published author and internationally juried artist. Her passions are compassion, teaching, and creativity. She has a Master of Arts from Columbia University, NY.

I Love Me Some Me!

Who do you love more than you love yourself?Monique May0909 074

Who loves you more than you love yourself?

Who fulfills you and determines your sense of worth?

If the answers to these questions are anyone other than yourself, maybe it’s time for a little re-evaluation. Too many of us are searching for that special someone to complete us and make us whole. We depend on that man or woman to make us happy and fill in the gaps in our lives. The truth is, you will never have a successful relationship if you don’t love yourself more than you love anyone else. When answering the first question above, “Who do you love more than you love yourself”, some of you may have stated your children, parents, husband, or wife. If you ask me, I’ll tell you no one. I am the mother of  a beautiful little girl. I love her to death and I will do anything to nurture and protect her. I love my mother deeply and I am eternally grateful for the exceptional job she did in raising me. My mother and daughter come very close, but I have to say I love myself more. The same will be true of my husband when/if I get married.

This means that I focus on my happiness before that of anyone else’s. I make sure that I am satisfied and fulfilled independent of the people in my life before I can give a piece of myself to those people. If I’m not happy, it effects my relationships. I can’t be a good mother if I don’t take care of myself. I will not be able to have a positive influence on my child if I’m not happy and I don’t carry myself in a way that makes my level of self-love and self-worth obvious. I can’t teach her how to be a dynamic woman if I am not one myself. How can you give a piece of yourself to anyone if you are not whole? Don’t start a romantic relationship because you need validation and completion. Don’t have a baby because you need someone to love you unconditionally. Don’t expect your relationships to succeed if you create them under these expectations because more than likely they won’t. If you don’t value yourself and focus on your own happiness, what can you honestly offer someone else? Not much.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we should be completely self-centered and selfish. There’s a thin line to cross. In making the decision to put your own happiness first, you must learn to find a balance. Realize that you are doing this not only for yourself, but also for the other significant people in your life. The success of your relationships are a direct product of your own happiness and sense of value. In short, get yourself together!

I know it’s hard. To be honest, I’m not sure that  am completely there myself. The words you’re reading are the same things I tell myself as I strive to create the kind of relationship that I want to have with myself. Fake it until you make it! Your man, woman, child, parents, and friends will thank you for it.

Depression: What Can You Do About It?

Ryan Stephenson has the outward appearance of confidence. As she walks her walk, slow and deliberate with a smoothly defined shutterstock_25552642sway in her hips, she exudes certainty and assurance. She is a successful accountant with a prominent Detroit based firm. She dresses in expensive couture and drives a high-priced foreign car. Her dark chocolate skin, silky black hair, and coke-bottle figure are sought after by every man she encounters. But no one knows the anguish she endures from within. She’s suffering  from depression and she doesn’t know how to cope with the pain.

Excerpt from Who Is He To You:

A blanket of silence covered the small office. Ryan’s eyes watered as she prepared to answer her therapist’s question. She felt like the walking dead, a zombie in the twilight zone. She had been feeling that way for weeks. She could barely make it out of bed in the morning. Her body was heavy and her head pounded with a migraine. She showed up to work two hours late. She hated her job. Once she got there, she cried for no reason until her supervisor sent her home. Her appetite was almost completely gone. She ate only when she reminded herself to do so; most of the time she forgot. She was irritable, lonely, and miserable. She felt like she was dying from a slow death. Her life was falling apart. She was losing her mind.

There is an apparent cultural divide when it comes to treating depression with therapy. It seems that African Americans are less likely to embrace the idea of baring all and sharing their feelings with a therapists. It is considered taboo to seek the help of a shrink and even more so to talk about it. Why is that? Is it that we’re afraid of being labeled as crazy? If you see a therapist does that mean you’re crazy? I don’t think so. I see nothing wrong with sharing your feelings with an unbiased professional. Sometimes you just need to let it all out to someone who won’t judge you or allow selfish motives to override his or her ability to give viable advice. Talk, let it out, especially if you’re depressed. Depression is often caused by a build up of emotions, events, stress, and/or dysfunctional relationships. What happens when you hold all of that hurt, anger, and pain inside? Overload. You need an outlet. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you are depressed and you need help. Yes, there is a chance that you can snap out of it on your own, but the chances are slim and the problem may be reoccurring. Why go at it alone when you don’t have to? Holding it in can lead you to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol or self-injury. Then you have whole new problems to deal with.

It may be hard for some to admit that they need help, but what is the alternative? You sink deeper and deeper into a dark and dismal existence, battling feelings of hopelessness and desolation. It’s a dangerous place to be. Black people, it’s okay to talk to a therapist! If you don’t want anyone  to know, don’t tell. But if you are suffering through a depression, it’s important to let it out. TALK, get someone on your side and start your road to recovery. You are not alone.

Do you know anyone that is suffering from depression? Have you been depressed before? Are you depressed now? What can you do about it?

To learn more about depression and what you can do about it, please visit: www.depression.com

To learn more about Ryan and her battle with depression, pick up a copy of Who Is He To You at www.MoniqueDMensah.com

WHO IS HE TO YOU Trailer

wihty-front-cover-800x12871.jpg

I am constantly thinking of new ways to promote my debut novel, Who Is He To You, so I can get the word out and sell some books! While researching different ways to promote and draw traffic to my website, I came across several adds for production companies that offer to make trailers for your book. You know, like the movie trailers you see on TV. I knew I had to have one, but the OMG they cost a lot! Being an independent author, my funds are limited and I need to save as much as I can whenever possible. So, while at the Black Writer’s Reunion & Conference, I met Sophia C. Simmons, author of Love Again. She suggested that I make my own trailer like she did. Hmm…make my own trailer? Why not? It’s free and, if done properly, very effective. So, I opened up my Windows Movie Maker application and went to work. WHO IS HE TO YOU Trailer.

Check out the trailer for Who Is He To You at www.MoniqueDMensah.com

Black Writers Reunion and Conference 2009, Las Vegas!

Last wBWRCeek I had the privilege of attending the Black Writers Reunion and conference (BWRC) in Las Vegas. I had my expectations, but I left Vegas on Sunday morning feeling more fulfilled and inspired than I had ever expected. When I arrived on Wednesday, I was nervous. I had never traveled out of state alone and I had no one to rely on to make my introductions and break the ice for me. I had to force myself to step outside of my comfort zone and make new friends and connections. On the first night, the other BWRC attendees and I met at the front entrance of the hotel so we could tour the Fremont Experience. As I surveyed my surroundings, checking out several women and a few men who shared the same passion for writing as I do, I immediately became more comfortable. Still, I was not ready to approach these strangers and spark a conversation. Then, Spoken Word artist, Marc Lacy, broke the ice and started a game to see who could get to know the most people in the least amount of time. That gave me an excuse to break loose and open up to my fellow writers. I met Sandra Hicks LaVenchi, Renee Flagler, Nakia Laushaul, Cherlisa Starks-Richardson, Sophia C. Simmons, Maria Jill Green, and a host of other wonderful writers who came with the hopes of spreading their God-given talent and making an impact on the world. I immediately felt like I was in my element, with people who understood me and my purpose.

Thursday we all attended the first installment of workshops, taught by the elite of the African-American literary world. My first workshop, “So You Wanna Write”, taught by ReShonda Tate Billingsly, gave me restored hope that I could top several best seller lists even as a self-published author. As the day went on and the workshops continued, I realized (even more so than before) that I was made for writing. I ended the night with pages of notes, a host of new friends and connections, and a smile on my face.

By Friday, I was hype and feeling like I was well on my way to a successful writing career. I ate breakfast with bestselling author, Venice Berry. One workshop that stood out to me, was “Fundamentals of Fiction”, presented by N. Kali Mincy. She taught us the do’s and don’ts, ins and outs or fiction writing. Now I pride myself on being pretty knowledgeable about the art of writing, but I left that class with new information and fresh perspectives. Bestselling author, Lutishia Lovely taught me to claim the “Bestseller” title Between workshops, we got the opportunity to visit the authors’ vending booths, chit chat, and purchase books to support each other. I purchased, Mountain High and Valley Low by Renee Flagler, Lyricode 256 by Marc Lacy, Black Rain by Vincent Alexandria, and Everybody Say Amen by ReShonda Tate Billingsley. I will be sure to post my thoughts on these projects in the future.

Even though the conference was over by Friday night, I decided to stay an extra night just to enjoy Vegas and my new found friends. We hit the strip, sipping on drinks, visiting casinos, and checking out the sights. We ended the night at Ray J’s club, Poetry. By Sunday afternoon, I was on a plane making my way back home to Michigan. I feel refreshed, confident, and anxious for the next conference.

Tia Ross, organized an amazing event for black writers and I am genuinely appreciative. She announced that the next conference will not take place until 2011, but I hear she is getting pressured to make it happen next year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that she gives in to the pressure and I get to do this again in 2010. I can’t wait!

Cool Sites you should check out:

www.Blackwriters.org

www.TiaRoss.com

www.MarcLacy.com

www.LutishiaLovely.com

www.CoachGreatWriters.com

www.Aspicomm.com

www.ReShondaTateBillingsley.com

www.Veniceberry.com

www.sophiasimmonsonline.com

http://readingwritingblogging.blogspot.com

My Official Website!

Today is a great day! I officially launched my new website and it is nice (if I must say so myself). It was designed by yours truly 🙂 It took me forever to get it to look just right. Then when the book cover was done, I had to redo the color scheme altogether. Overall I am happy with the outcome. You HAVE to check it out! Shout out to Wix.com for making it extremely easy for a tech novice like me to make a beautiful professional looking website. After you visit my site, check out Wix.com too. It’s hot! 🙂

www.MoniqueDMensah.com

WHO IS HE TO YOU: The Book Cover!

It’s done it’s finally done! No, not the book publication. But, almost just as exciting! The BOOK COVER IS DONE! I have stressed and worried, lost sleep, and suffered anxiety in anticipation for the book release and I now it is almost over. The cover is SICK! I couldn’t imagine it being any better than it turned out. It’s dramatic and in your face. It’s everything I wanted. I mean if I was in a bookstore and saw it, I would surely pick it up. Marlon E. Hines, my graphic designer, is a genius at what he does. Okay, okay, enough talking. Here it is! Tell me what you think….

WIHTY Front Cover (Full-Resolution 1538 x 2475)

Would you buy this book after seeing the cover?

Would you buy this book after seeing the cover?