Some of you have undoubtedly heard of Lacresha N. Hayes, the author of The Rape of Innocence: Taking Captivity Captive and Becoming: My Personal Memoirs. She's been busy compelling women to speak up about their sexual and domestic abuse. Her books are just an extension of who she is as a woman, a minister and a mother. The interview I conducted with her was candid. I asked the hard questions and she gave me straight answers. (This interview was conducted over the telephone.)
E.N. ~ Lacresha, tell me what inspired you to put your experiences in a book.
L.H. ~ I've been a writer all my life. I would write poetry. I even loved writing essays when it was on a topic I cared about. Writing is therapeutic for me. It was just a natural step.
E.N. ~ Do you ever feel, or have you ever felt, that you were to blame for the things that happened to you?
L.H. ~ Of course. I think that's just nature for victims to feel that way, especially if they were victimized as a child or if it was an ongoing thing. I know it wasn't my fault now, and I want to teach other women that it isn't their faults either.
E.N. ~ I have to ask this question, otherwise this interview would not be real. In your book, you mentioned substance abuse being prevalent in your family. How did you escape it yourself?
L.H. ~ Honestly, I was never tempted to use any kind of drug or alcohol. It wasn't my thing, so to speak. I guess looking at the effects of it on my parents was enough to send me the other direction. I believe God wanted to preserve me from that area of life. Of course, just because I didn't use drugs doesn't mean I didn't have a drug all my own.
E.N. ~ Please elaborate. I mean, most children who grow up in environments like you have some form of behavior dysfunction.
L.H. ~ I didn't say I didn't have some behavior dysfunctions, as you put it. I did. I was terrified to say no to sex, and even years later, sex was both comforting and disturbing. It's hard to explain, but it took years to work that out of me. I hated men, but I desired to be loved by one. I trusted not a soul. So, even when hundreds of people were around me, I still felt alone.
E.N. ~ Give us a candid look inside your book, The Rape of Innocence.
L.H. ~ As in details of something I wrote or...
E.N. ~ As in something that was written in the book that shows us why we should purchase it.
L.H. ~ To be truthful, this book isn't for everybody. Some people would never want to know the twisted minds that operate around them everyday. There are a lot of them out there too. Just look at the statistics. But, in one particular part, I discussed the way my stepfather approached me. I discussed what my great grandfather and great, great uncle did. Basically, a person can make a wise assumption that molestation comes from those closest to you and that just because a person is "old", does not mean they are trustworthy with your children. All of it is equally compelling to me. I lived through it.
E.N. ~ Are there parts people ask you about often?
L.H. ~ Yes. They ask me about when I stabbed my first husband. So many women who go through traumatic experiences often have something like a temporary amnesia hit them. I truly did not remember the event as it actually happened until months later. I was very young and very tired of abuse. I struck back. Some women have asked me where I found the courage. I need to please go on record and say this: that was fear that took me over the edge. It felt wrong. Courage would have been to pack up and walk away for good. That takes courage. Faith gives you that kind of courage.
E.N. ~ I'm sure someone will happen upon my blog that was sexually abused. What would you like to say to them?
L.H. ~ I'd tell them to build a relationship with God. Rather than blame Him for the terrible things that happened to them, trust Him to heal their hearts. He can do it. Sexual abuse can make a person feel so worthless and nasty inside. The anger, depression and hopelessness mixes and brings confusion. Just because you've been a victim does not mean you ARE a victim. We have strength inside us to pick up the pieces. We can decide just how much the perpetrator takes. He/she may have taken our bodies. We must stand up and say "No" when it comes to our minds, our peace, our esteem, our joy, and our power. My motto is "Make your pain your power" and I try to live by that. I don't feel great about things everyday, but I don't feel guilty when I grieve either. That's my right. That's your right, for those who are reading. You have the right to FEEL and deal with it and move on.
E.N. ~ It has been a pleasure to interview you. I went over my time, but it was worth it. You are a strong woman and I can see that your faith is important to you. I will definitely recommend your book, and I hope to hear more from you in the future.
L.H. ~ Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity!