YAT: I’m really not sure what or who inspired me to become a writer. I have always written in some form or fashion nearly all my life. Most of my early writings probably came from my day-dreams and then just writing down what I dreamed about. From there I picked up journaling and began to write-down different things that I believed God was speaking to me through visions and/or Scripture.
When I started writing plays for my Church, specifically for the Children’s Church program, was when I actually began to believe my writings were for more than an audience of me. During those days, most of those stories came from my personal experiences while going through a divorce.
I guess the short answer is that I have always believed that I had a story to tell.
YAT: The inspiration for writing I Didn’t Know – Identifying, Confronting, and Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse came from watching Tyler Perry on The Oprah Winfree Show one day. On this particular show, Tyler Perry came forward to tell his story about being sexual abused. Then, Oprah Winfree and Tyler Perry, took his story to the next level by having an audience filled with nothing but men who had been sexually abused. I really cannot remember the actual format of the show or shows; I just remember the impact it had upon me. I thought what he had done, his coming forward, was very brave and took a great deal of courage.
I remember sitting on the sofa crying, thinking to myself those must have really been some horrible experiences. It was at that moment, I heard the Lord speak to me saying, “You have been sexually abused, as well.” I sat for a moment thinking to myself, “When and how could this have happened to me?” That is when the Lord reminded me of the things that happened to me. As He began to share my experiences with me, I became compelled to tell someone; anyone who would listen. After this walk down memory lane, I pondered this thought, “If I did not realize I had been sexually abused, then how many other children, including those who are now adults do not realize they have been sexually abused?”
As a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), I strongly believe that victims of child sexual abuse can no longer afford to be silent. As a community, better yet as a nation, we cannot continue to allow these heinous acts to be swept under the carpet. Someone has to be bold enough to come forward!
From there, I started writing. As God took me down memory lane, I just began to write down everything He said to me. It was like taking dictation. So, why did I decide to share my story? I decided to share my story because people need to know what happened to me and to countless others. More importantly, people need to know that Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) can happen to anyone! The number of people (victims) who remain silent and never tell their stories far outweighs the number of people who come forward. Therefore, my quest in writing this book was/is:
- To expose the enemy (I believe this lessens his power);
- To overcome the guilt & shame by being able to confront it head on;
- To encourage and educate others on how to identify, confront & overcome sexual abuse; and
- To set the captives FREE
YAT: The best advice I can give someone who is dealing or struggling with sexual abuse is to FORGIVE yourself!!! It is not your fault. No one has or had the right to violate you and take (steal) your most prized possession – your body! From there I would encourage the person to tell someone. Now I realize this could be very challenging in and of itself, but it is necessary.
Please know I understand the process of sharing some of the most intimate details of your life with another person is no easy task. Let’s face it, finding a person to confide in that you trust is harder than some may think. I mean, nine times out of ten it was a trusted person (a family member, close friend of the family, a neighbor, teacher, coach, etc.) who violated your trust to begin with. Statistics show that 90% of child victims know their offenders. As such, the first person or persons you may need to confide in or consult with are yourself and God. And that’s ok. I cannot think of a better person (even though God is not a human being, but you get my point) to entrust with this information. Besides, it is not as if He does not already know. Actually, sharing this information with God is more for you and your healing and release anyway.
I truly believe God can and will heal you from everything that “ails” you or causes you to have “dis-ease.” You simply have to come unto Him. The Bible tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, (KJV). The Amplified version of that same passage of Scripture puts it this way, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.” From here, trust God to instruct you with your next steps. He will never steer you wrong!
BBB: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
YAT: I believe there are many lessons to be learned from my book, but the most important lesson is to be able to identify Child Sexual Abuse. Identification is where it all starts. We cannot confront what we don't know and we definitely cannot overcome those things we do not confront.
The Bible states, "My people suffer for lack of knowledge." I hope to equip people with the knowledge of CSA and together we can make a mark that cannot be erased by annihilating Child Sexual Abuse.
YAT: I have plans to write a children's book speaking to children on their level about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). With this book I hope to help children to be able to identify Child Sexual Abuse and to encourage them to tell a responsible adult that they have been touched inappropriately. I understand that children may not know what I mean by responsible adult, therefore, I plan to identify for them who those responsible parties are: parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, older siblings/cousins, teachers, school nurse, policeman, firemen, etc., in the book. Yet, I am not ignorant of the fact that some of these people could have been the very one(s) who touched them. Statistics show that 90% of child victims know their offenders. Moreover, I aim to equip parents with tools and techniques to get the conversation started with their children. Ultimately, I aim to start a movement to eradicate Child Sexual Abuse one community at a time.
You can find out more about Yvette Allen-Tatum by visiting www.yvetteallentatum.com.