The statistics are alarming. Nearly one-third of American women (31%) report being abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. For “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” we spoke to Sophia C. Simmons whose recent novel, Love Again, deals with this issue. Sophia, a survivor of domestic abuse, has participated and volunteered in teen ministries and groups for co-dependency. She is currently volunteering as a victims rights advocate. All of her work fuels her desire to write for those who have suffered abuse. This interview is the first part of a two part series.
BELLA: Your book Love Again is about a woman who is healing after having suffered from being involved in a violent relationship with her husband. Can you tell us how you came to write on this subject matter?
SOPHIA: That's what I know. That was my life. I think a writer makes the task of writing and completing a book less difficult when they stick to those subjects they are already fluent in and familiar with. Especially when writing the first book. My novel is loosely based on my own experiences, and it flowed quite naturally from my thoughts to the page.
BELLA: Can you give us a word of advice about what women can do to empower themselves?
SOPHIA: Involve God in their daily lives and pray often. I often get asked this…when I'm being interviewed or when I'm speaking about domestic violence, and I don't apologize for my answer to unbelievers.
Abuse is such a horrific experience. It damages the mind, body, and soul of its victim, then extends out to harm others in our lives. I don't believe there is true empowerment without calling on something greater than ourselves. Even when a person may not want to acknowledge that is where their strength came from, I believe God saw their agony and gave them the strength anyway. But in reality most women in this situation have, or are willing to rely on God, we realize we have nothing else.
BELLA: What should men know about domestic violence?
SOPHIA: Firstly many people, not just men, do not understand the meaning of what domestic violence actually is, and often think of it as physical abuse only. It's not. Domestic violence comes in many forms: Physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual. If a person is feeling, afraid or intimidated in the home. Controlled, harassed, isolated. Made to feel ashamed, afraid, embarrassed, or is degraded. These are all forms of domestic abuse. And also have many sub-titles within them.
If you are a father, love your family enough to not abuse them. Understand what your calling as the head of the home really means, and embrace God’s plan. Get help if you are a batterer, there are resources out there. If you are a husband or son suffering abuse, don't be ashamed to get help. The statistics are lower nationally on the abuse that men suffer, but I think that's because they are less likely to report it, not because it doesn't happen as much. If you are a boyfriend or husband to a woman who has suffered abuse in her past, learn about it and exercise patience and understanding.
Next week, we’ll continue this conversation with Sophia. In the meantime visit her online at http://sophiasimmonsonline.com/ to find out about upcoming appearances, read reviews of Love Again and much more