Why Did I Choose to Write About Domestic Abuse?

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by the very lovely Deb Nam-Krane over at Written By Deb.

The interview focused on my debut novel Tainted Love, wherein Faith McKenzie is the wife of wealthy psychiatrist, Calvin. Over twenty-five years their relationship is tested with unexpected pregnancies, tragedies, successful business empires, and of course the everyday challenges found in any family. The more strain faced by Faith and Calvin the more their marriage decays into Calvin’s unpredictable anger and violence. 

Faith tries to protect her children from the violence she suffers, insisting if Calvin wants to treat her that way he does it behind the closed door for their bedroom where the children won’t see it. But in reality its not possible to protect those in an abusive household from it. They hear the arguments and the cries, they see the wounds afterwards and when they’re old enough they can tell the difference between truth and lies. 

I wanted to share a one of questions from the interview about the “ripple effects” domestic abuse has on those involved. 

When you say “ripples”, it makes me think about the after-effects of domestic abuse.  As a writer of fiction, that’s some rich territory, but that must be very hard to delve into.  What were some of the after-effects you found for the children of abuse survivors and, without giving too much away, what might we expect to see for Faith’s children?

That’s exactly what I mean. So without giving too much away… In Behind Closed Doors, Darryl has set up a charity for victims of domestic violence, triggered by the events that happened between Faith and Calvin. Now those ripple effects have just spread a whole lot wider. In this one book alone there is Darryl’s relationship with Julia, add an extension to her family, and extend it again to Julia’s best friend Krystal Valentina (who has an integral part in the entire series) and once more to Krystal’s family.

To watch how this net filters across each life is very rich territory but you’re absolutely right. It’s a very dark place to go. Once you’ve opened yourself up to seeing this world you can’t close your eyes again and it’s difficult to step back from. I found myself unable to write for nearly two months because of the world I’d voluntarily walked into.

There is a lot of conflicting advice on the subject of after effects. I’ve read in a Canadian research paper that in 40% of homes where the wife is being abused the children are also being abused. Another startling statistic it stated was that 39% of children see their mother being abused, but when broadened to hearing or seeing the after effects of their mother’s abuse this jumps up to 60-80%. This is a way of life for them. They will carry the things they see and hear with them into adult life. 

Many who have come from abusive homes end up in abusive relationships themselves. Although the research into the after effects is still new, I don’t think this link is as black and white as some people would like us to believe. Abusive relationships are complex. Even the most strong-willed and intelligent people can be misguided by the cocktail of their sense of love, trust, loyalty, faith, the abuse, and the abuser’s promises to change. 

So without giving too much away, I’m exploring the effects of what happens when an abused wife eventually snaps, Calvin’s first marriage and the unanswered question of what really happened to his first wife. I’ll be looking at Caleb’s desire to protect his siblings from their father and Georgia’s desire to protect her father from Caleb. I’ll be taking a deeper look into Calvin’s indifference to Caitlyn and Zoe. And you’ll learn all about what Lisa’s been up to as soon as you open Behind Closed Doors so I won’t spoil that for you, LOL! But over the next nine books you can expect unexpected grandparents, tears, tantrums, sibling rivalry, taking sides, declarations of war, and one or two visits from the grim reaper.  Not all of my main characters are safe.I chatted with Deb about why I chose to write about domestic abuse, what you  can expect from the characters introduce in Tainted Love and the Valentina Secrets series in the future. Read the full interview at Written By Deb.

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