Thank for so much for having me Lucy!
Can you tell us how you got to be an educator on sexual abuse?
I believe the most troubling times in life are what build and strength our character, and so after I was assaulted I knew I’d eventually want to use my experience to help others. The first time I was asked to speak was by my legal advocate at their annual fundraiser in front of a thousand people. It was such an honor that she thought of me as the type of strong person capable of doing such a thing, I knew I had to prove to her she was right to believe in me.
As a professional author and speaker what do you feel is the medium that reaches the most people?
Dealing with a subject that can be very hard to talk about, it’s almost impossible to understand the wideness of your reach. Not everyone who was impacted by your story is willing to come forward and say so. So, sometimes it’s hard to feel like you are making a difference at all. But I believe the deepest way to reach people is sharing such an emotional experience through my writing. It is one thing to spend an hour listening to someone speak on stage, and completely something else when you spend 30 hours deep inside their emotions and mind connecting with them. Plus, I can never express what I’m wanting to quite like I do in my writing.
Do you feel yoga helps you cope with daily life and its challenges? Which pose is the one you would love to master but can’t?
I do yoga for fun and strength but I run to cope with daily life and its challenges. I try to run 3-5 miles every morning before I start my day. It helps keep my anxiety in check, and gives me a chance to think clearly when I have no distractions. It is hard to run while I’m working on a project though, because I find myself constantly getting great ideas I have to stop to jot them down!
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
Fruit. And wine (so totally, fruit too). My three year old would eat berries for every meal if I let her, so we are always picking up something fresh at the farmer’s markets or our neighbour’s gardens. And life always needs a good cocktail.
What is your favorite dish and can you give me the recipe?
My mom was always cooking gourmet meals for my family growing up, so I picked up my cooking skills and taste for good food from her. I never realized how lucky I was in that way. One of my favorite things she makes (that now I cook) is braised short ribs. They take all day to slow cook in the oven, and the meat is so tender it falls off the bone. The wine that it’s braised in makes the flavor so rich, you don’t even want to add a starch. And it’s actually not that difficult to make. You can find the recipe on foodnetwork.com
What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give us a small taster of it?
Where Fault Lies: A Survivor’s Story of Game, Shame & Blame was written after I was sexually assault by my boyfriend. There are a few books out about this subject, but none dealing with the interesting dynamic of partner rape. It was hard for people to understand. “I mean, you had sex hundreds of times. What’s the big deal?”
Of course I have an excerpt from Where Fault Lies
“As much as I don’t want to admit it, this is going to impact me the rest of my life. The way I love, the way I trust. If my mother told me she was making chicken for dinner, I wouldn’t believe her. It’s not just that he pinned me down and had sex with me; Sayid wedged his way into a place no one had ever been and he used that to control me. It’s not just him that lost my trust. How can I ever trust myself again?
I can’t even hug my dad. This is not me.
I guess, there isn’t much I can do about that. The FBI considers sexual assault as the second worst crime to murder, but it’s a hard crime to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s easy to get tangled in the argument of consent, or find a way to insinuate the victim had it coming. She was wearing a short skirt, she was flirting, she was drinking. But rapists are not animals that snap when a target is vulnerable in front of them. Women cannot protect themselves from rape by wearing less revealing clothing or not drinking too much. Rape is not a crime of opportunity. Rapists calculate and plan and perfect their craft. They will only do it in an environment to which they feel they have the utmost control. It’s not that they cannot help themselves, it is that they simply do not want to.
And in a very real way, it’s as serious as murder. Rapists cut to the core and go after one of the most primal things we have that is sacred. So to cut deep, to take over, to take from, to rape—in the form of what may look like a sexual act, something that should empower and give pleasure and life—is horrid. It is the most horrid of actions that not only rapes what’s physical, but also what is not. They take from us our personhood. They empty the shell of our bodies. That is why they call us survivors. We are left to fill in the hole that is left after surviving our own murders. Rape spares the finite of the human body, while sacrificing the infinite of the soul.”
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
I actually named the book several times. I went through a process of asking myself who was the book really for, and who was my audience? Only once I was able to answer those questions, was I able to really have a good grasp on a solid title. I came up with many that I thought were excellent but they were too similar to other very popular books out there. When I found the final word combination, it felt similar to naming my first-born child. You toss around names for so long, and you even test one or two out. Then one just sticks. It’s like you call it that for so long, and nothing is any better, so you just start to feel like that is the name. And now, it’s her name so nothing else will ever feel right. It just fits.
And finally can you tell me something none has ever heard before from you? I just love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
I told everyone all I cared about was having a healthy baby, but I really wanted a girl. I even convinced myself it was a boy until the ultrasound because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Now, it’s not like I would have thrown him out with the bath water, or not loved him with all my heart. However, I was very ill my entire pregnancy and knew I wouldn’t be able to do it again. I always imagined having a daughter who I could teach to use make-up and who would sneak into my closet to wear my heels or dresses. I was a dancer growing up and I wanted to see the same from my child. I may have got more than I bargained for with my daughter. She is SO girly it’s obscene. But I love every little ounce of her.
Aww, thanks, Carrie. I hope you will want to come back when you have more news, or just when you have a soapbox moment. 🙂