Behind the everyday bargains we all love - the $10 manicure, the unlimited shrimp buffet - is a hidden world of people bought and sold to keep those prices at rock bottom. Noy Thrupkaew investigates the human trafficking industry - which flourishes in the US and Europe, as well as developing countries - and shows us the human faces behind the illegal labor that feeds global consumers.
Learn about RMH and their programs with this short video.
Recent events have put domestic violence in the news lately. How common is it? Tara is here to discuss the startling statistics about domestic violence.
Insights into the thought process of abusers.
In August of 2007, I joined the Navy. By November of 2007, I was in an abusive relationship with another seaman. It took a year to have him arrested, but it has taken years to understand how to heal from him. Leaving him nine times was very easy, staying out of the abuse wasn't easy. The last time we broke up I had him arrested, and I felt as though a part of me was torn out. I struggled to forgive him because I was taught to forgive, but I wasn't ready to even acknowledge that he really hurt me. So I lashed out and cried often.
My friends, at the time, were not supportive. My family was not supportive. All I had was the pain and my struggle to forgive. Eventually, I realized that my needs needed to be met, and the most important was to admit that he had hurt me. I hurt over what he did to me, and there was no shame in that.
Everyone said I was crazy, but after studying psychology I understand battered woman's syndrome and how abuse becomes addictive. It's a hormonal issue that must be addressed because once you know what the core of the problem is it's much easier to combat it.
Four years after his arrest and subsequent promotion I finally had my day in court only to have him acquitted on my charges. Thank God I'd been taking care of myself through my writing and my therapy. A week after that horrible verdict I felt such peace that I couldn't explain it. I credit how God led, is leading, me to my healthy place. I faced my abuser in court, after people said it wasn't anything to carry on about, and survived his acquittal. That takes an amazing strength that I must give to God, and now I really understand why God didn't let the aftermath be easy.
Had I gone through my post break-up years like I wanted I'd have never felt the need to take him to court. (He was acquitted of my charges, but the four other women who came forward because of me got justice since he was dishonorably discharged from the Navy over their charges.) I'd have never decided to write my books, or get my degree in psychology. I'd have never taken the interest in domestic abuse or human trafficking. Change comes from pain, not happiness or an easy life.
I write this blog hoping that others won't have to walk this journey alone.
Sometimes the depression can be engulfing, but photography captures the beauty of the world. At times when everything hurts, I look at the world through a camera lens and it becomes lighter, sweeter, and safer. Pictures can capture the best of life.
Once I left the military, for depression, I had nothing. My ex had been promoted and I had no job, no support, and very little money. I did have the G.I. Bill, so I went back to school to study psychology. (Graduated in 2012) While I was in school my abusive situation wouldn't let me go. It was mental torture, and life looked as if I had a brown lens over my eyes. For catharsis, I wrote.
At first, all my heroine did was cry and her man was cold and, well, cold. Each rewrite of my first book happened each time I would make a breakthrough, and the final draft of the book became what comes after abuse instead of abuse. This story is about a survivor who doesn't go through the steps like other women, just like I couldn't. The book is about when the path to healing is lonelier and rockier than the abuse. This is my story.
After I wrote that book I added three more to that series, another series set during the Civil War, and a stand-alone story about a rape victim. I'm anticipating a kind of backlash because most of my heroines are victimized (as are the men), and to be strong a woman can't be a victim. The truth is that 1 in 5 women are the victims of domestic violence, so why is ignoring their raw and powerful stories of abuse and their path to healing wrong? Everyone can't start at the top. Some of us had to crawl bloody and beaten. I write stories about those men and women because they need a voice, too.
I began my writing career in January of 2011, and my first editor stole my money. After that, I spent a few months getting nowhere in a book critiquing group. My editor saved my book, but that wasn't until 2014. Penning a novel is mentally hard, and authors need all the support available. I began this business with my friend to pass on what I have learned about creative writing in the six years I've been doing it.
I used to think that empathy is a burden, but having a brain geared toward the creative and empathetic bent works in my favor for beta reading and editing. Allison and I are very honest because honesty helped me. If you want your hand held I'll hold it, but that won't help you. This is a painful process. Even easy edits are painful because all first drafts are bad. Mine was simply atrocious, but hearing the truth about my work helped me heal and encouraged me to get to know myself and my characters better.
Since I've worked with my editor I've had betas say that they saw themselves in my heroines, that they've decided to heal, and that my book jerked them around emotionally in the best way. One man even said he understood his wife better after reading my book. I've been told that writing a romance book (books) that men want to read is awe inspiring.
I had a good story, but it was my editor who chipped away the rough parts to expose the diamond. Every story needs new eyes, so let us be yours.