And a Child Shall Lead Them
Thus is a guest post from my good friend Peggy McAloon. She is answering a two part question. Why did you become an author and what do you hope to accomplish with your writing?
I grew up in what others viewed as the perfect family in a very nearly perfect little community in the Midwest in the 1950’s. It was a time when everyone’s life was centered in the four churches and bad news was broadcast as a whisper only, over a back fence.
Today we hear glaring reports of abuse and death through multiple layers of targeted media. It is much more difficult to hide dark secrets than it was in the 50’s, but some secrets continue to elude the microphones and cameras. The crimes against children have continued and many remain unreported.
Child abuse happens at every socioeconomic level, within all religions, and across all cultural lines regardless of education levels.
- The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused at some point in their childhood. (Only 30% are reported).
- More than six million cases of child abuse are reported in the U.S. every year…many more go unreported.
- The U.S. has one of the worst records of all industrialized nations in deaths of children due to abuse (4-7 children die each day).
Statistics would seem to indicate you already know a child who is being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused. I was one of those children. My sexual abuse started when I was seven. At the time, I couldn’t understand what I had done to cause it to happen. I must have been very bad. I didn’t get good enough grades. I constantly tried to find grown-up answers to my piercing questions, but I had to struggle with the thoughts completely alone. A child’s mind cannot comprehend evil until they face it undefended.
The fear of additional abuse prevents children from trusting anyone. They are ashamed. The child of abuse often becomes a victim of bullying in school. It’s easy for kids to spot the weak and take advantage, making things even worse.
I was eighteen when I finally found the courage to tell mother what happened to me. Her guilt and shame created a depression unlike anything I had ever seen. I survived my abuse alone. I knew things needed to change. I believe this nation can do more.
I have lived with books and stories in my head for a lifetime. As a child, books were my escape from a life I could barely tolerate. The question that constantly burned in my consciousness was: “What can I do to prevent the same abuse from happening to another child?
I have devoted much of my life to helping children, but it was never my profession. When my own children were born, I was unable to comprehend how anyone could harm an innocent child. They were the most incredible beings. I was committed to lay down my life to protect them.
My commitment to make a difference has become overpowering in retirement.
I received a family calendar a couple of years ago at Christmas. A picture of a little girl holding a butterfly became the inspiration for the Elle Burton series. I incorporated all the things that gave me strength and hope into Elle’s adventures. I wrote a story about a young girl who is seduced by winged creatures from another dimension (guardian angels?) to help protect and inspire the children of Earth.
Elle befriends and helps children who have been abused or bullied. She quickly becomes a role model in her school to encourage and inspire children to have a kind heart and do their best. Her adventures will touch on many of the problems children face today through an assortment of delightful adventures as she matures.
Elle discovers she has some super-human capabilities as a result of a pendant she is given in the other dimension of Fiori. In book one she discovers that the pendant can make her invisible. Her adventures and travel between this world and Fiori are aided by the reflective portals that allow her to move in and out of Fiori through the reflections of children.
It is my hope that I will be able to find funding so the book can be given to the children of women’s shelters throughout the U.S. These are the children who are at the highest risk of abuse and who need to believe there is someone out there who will help. Elle will help them find the courage to share their secrets.
Peggy McAloon’s blog: http://peggymcaloon.com/
“Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” will be available summer 2014. A reproduction of the magic pendant from the story will also soon be available on the website.
FACEBOOK PROFILE: https://www.facebook.com/peggymoundmcaloon
FACEBOOK PARENTING SITE: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Mcaloon-Parenting-Resources/644656588904936
LINKEDIN PROFILE: linkedin.com/in/peggymcaloon
GOOGLE PLUS PROFILE: https://plus.google.com/+PeggyMcAloon/posts
TWITTER PROFILE: https://twitter.com/PeggyMcAloon
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