Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why write a book about this subject manner?

"Child sexual abuse is a global public health problem and can no longer be considered a taboo that societies are reluctant to address."  Excerpt from the Afterword of Silent No More:  Victim 1's Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky.

I just finished the Kindle version of this book, of which I highly recommend, and it reminded me why I wrote Cat's Eye Marble.  I think almost every one in America has heard at least something about the Jerry Sandusky case in the past couple of years.  I had never heard of the man, not that I remember, until it hit the media.  I have never been a Penn State fan so the impact it had on me was different than what it would be for those loyal to the Nittany Lions.  What struck me was the incredible sadness for his victims and the amazing courage it took for those young men to come forward.  Victims of child abuse, even as adults, often fear not being believed.  These young men not only had to take on their abuser in court but a portion of the nation as well.  Thankfully, they succeeded legally.  But does that mean their fight is over now that their abuser will spend the rest of his life in prison?  Sadly, they are still left with the burden of overcoming the scars left behind. 

Child abuse is an epidemic with devastating consequences.  Statistics on child abuse vary from organization to organization but the general numbers are that one in three girls and one in five boys are sexually abused during their childhood.  These numbers are based on REPORTED cases.  Stop and think about that a moment.  The next time you are in a restaurant with your friends or family, take a moment to look around.  How many people sitting in the room with you had their life altered by abuse?  And keep in mind, there are many victims that do not report their abuse.  I wrote Cat's Eye Marble in honor of all survivors of child abuse but especially those that never told.  Prior to writing the book and after its release I have had many people tell me their stories of child abuse.  Most of them endured long term abuse and more than a few began their story to me with, "I've never told anyone this before,"  I wanted to convey for them, the horrors of abuse, not only physically but also the emotion price that is paid.  Many that have read the book have told me the characters seemed so real that they cried for Dani and despised other characters in the book for what they had done to her.  Although the book is fiction, sadly, many of Dani's experiences are reality for an enormous number of children. 

I hope that all readers that became so emotional reading the book do not forget those emotions.  I want you to hold onto it and use what you felt to help a child.  Did you cry?  Did you hurt for Dani?  Did you want to rescue her?  Did you hate and become enraged at her abusers?  Did you wonder why no one saw what was happening to Dani and come to rescue her?  Did you wonder how one child could endure so much?  I don't have the answer to how to make child abuse extinct, unfortunately, but I do know that everyone has the power to make a positive difference in a child's life.  If you suspect a child is being abuse, please do not turn a blind eye or assume that someone else will report it.  Please do not assume that because someone is a pillar in the community, allegations could not be correct.  If nothing else, I think the Jerry Sandusky case has hopefully taught us, that child abusers don't have a certain "look" that tells us they are dangerous people for our children to be around.  Many are masterful at fitting in society and fooling the adults around them.  They live life with multiple personas.  This is why we must keep a watchful eye open for our children.

Today is the day to make a difference in a child's life,
Leeann Smith

p.s.  As always, I welcome any and all comments.


  1. I just wrote a long, heartfelt comment and it didn't upload and disappeared. Frustrating!

    I wanted to say, in short, Kudos for bringing light to this topic. I have 3 survivors of abuse in my family and none of them felt that they could say a word about it when they were children. The memories were repressed and the horrors buried until they were adults. When I hear them talk now, when there is no ability to "triumph" over their abusers, I cry for their loss of innocence, their loss of a childhood. The fact that they, and others, receive so little validation in society makes me want to scream from the rooftop about the "elephant in the room."

    Thank you for being able to put forth this book with the compassion you have. It is a very good thing, I think. For, the more light we shine on the situation of abuse(sexual and non) in childhood, the fewer places the perpetrators will have to hide!

  2. R Hays,

    I completely agree with you that more needs to be brought into the public eye about child abuse! It is my belief that no matter what type of abuse occurs, it alters the child's life in some way and like you said, often times the degree of the effects come to light in adulthood. I encourage everyone to talk about the "elephant in the room"! Silence and secrecy are abusers best friends. We need to be the voice for children until they are able to find their own.