Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Courage, a guest post by Helen Laibach

Today I'm pleased to have Helen Laibach, author of A Soul Less Broken here on the blog. I recently finished reading her book and I have to say, it's heartbreaking and empowering at the same time.

Helen is here to share a look into the rape statistics that drive her book. Catherine's situation is terrifying, and yet very real people face that every day. I'll let her explain.

I’ve heard it said that the definition of courage is “doing what you know is right even when you are afraid.” There are the obvious examples of people who display courage every day - soldiers, police officers, firemen, rescue workers, etc. But there is another group of people who display a very different type of courage and those are the women who come forward to report being victims of sexual assault. The main character Catherine, in A Soul Less Broken, endures just such an attack, and must find her own inner strength to face her attacker in court.

Statistics show that:
  • Every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. 
  • 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to police. 
  • Approximately two-thirds of sexual assaults were committed by attackers known to the victim - often referred to as "acquaintance rape". The number of ambush attacks by complete strangers - the type Catherine experiences in A Soul Less Broken - are much lower.

Unfortunately, the statistics also show that in many cases, the women who have been victims of acquaintance rape have impaired judgment at the time of the attack, either from the attacker slipping drugs into their drinks, or simply because they have consumed excessive alcohol on their own. Either way, the attacker takes full advantage of the woman’s extreme vulnerability. In these situations, the women often feel ashamed, and reporting the attack becomes very humiliating. The legal tactic for the defense team is to attack the woman’s character, life-style, and morals. So as if being raped by someone she knows and then reporting it wasn’t humiliating enough, the woman now feels as though she is suddenly the one on trial.

And yet, every day across America these women are coming forward and reporting the crimes against them, fully prepared to push through their fears and endure the almost certain humiliation that awaits them. We rarely hear about these courageous women in the news, they are seldom praised for their bravery. But in almost every case, even though the women want justice for themselves, ultimately what drives them to come forward is that they want to prevent their attacker from ever victimizing anyone else. They do what they know is right, even when they are afraid. We should all be inspired by the courage it takes for these women to come forward. If you have been the victim of a sexual assault and haven’t yet reported it, please let these women inspire you. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of A Soul Less Broken will be donated to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), so if you or someone you know needs help please use the RAINN resources found here

After majoring in psychology in college, Helen Laibach realized that her aspirations to be a marriage, child, and family counselor did not suit her temperament–so she began a family and chose a more satisfying career as an executive assistant. An avid reader and talented nature photographer, Laibach lives in Southern California with her husband of twenty years and their youngest daughter. A SOUL LESS BROKEN is her first book; 10% of the profits from the sale of the book will be donated to charities related to violence against women and to brain cancer research and treatment. 
You can visit her website at www.helenlaibach.com.


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