TEXAS, October 20, 2008: Beth Fehlbaum, a long-time English teacher, drew on her experiences as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse to craft her debut novel, Courage in Patience, which released September 1, 2008, from Kunati, Inc.. Kunati was ForeWord Magazine's 2007 Independent Publisher of the Year.
Courage in Patience is the story of fifteen-year-old Ashley Nicole Asher, who is sexually, emotionally, and physically abused by her stepfather, from the age of nine. When she at last tells a trusted teacher what has been happening to her, Child Protective Services steps in and Ashley is removed from her mother's home then reunited with her biological father, who has not been a part of Ashley's life since infancy. Through the summer school English class taught by her stepmother, Ashley learns to face her greatest fears and, along with other teens, discovers just how strong she is.
"It is important to me that I identify myself as a survivor of sexual abuse, because I want others who may have suffered at the hands of another person to know that they are not alone, and that that there is hope for recovery," Fehlbaum said. "People who are sexually abused experience every inch of their lives as covered in shame. And the message I have for them is, 'The shame does not belong to you. It belongs to the person who stole your innocence.' "
Initially, Beth Fehlbaum did not openly identify herself as having what she calls 'the life experience' to write a book like Courage in Patience. Instead, she attributed her knowledge of what it is like to be sexually abused, to working with abused children over the years in her capacity as a teacher. "I realize now that that was just more hiding-- and, to tell you the truth, I don't want to hide anymore. I've spent enough of my life in small, dark, places, and the time has come for that to end."
Childhood Sexual Abuse is all too common. According to statistics from Darkness2Light.org
"The statistics are shocking
- 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18. (96)
- 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18. (96)
- 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet. (30, 87)
- Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under. (76)
- An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today. (1)
Even within the walls of their own homes, children are at risk for sexual abuse
- 30-40% of victims are abused by a family member. (2, 44, 76)
- Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
- Approximately 40% are abused by older or larger children whom they know. (1, 44)
- Therefore, only 10% are abused by strangers.
Sexual abuse can occur at all ages, probably younger than you think
- The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old. (64)
- More than 20% of children are sexually abused before the age of 8. (76)
- Nearly 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are children under 12. (74, 76)
Most children don't tell even if they have been asked
- Evidence that a child has been sexually abused is not always obvious, and many children do not report that they have been abused.
- Over 30% of victims never disclose the experience to ANYONE.
- Young victims may not recognize their victimization as sexual abuse.
- Almost 80% initially deny abuse or are tentative in disclosing. Of those who do disclose, approximately 75% disclose accidentally. Additionally, of those who do disclose, more than 20% eventually recant even though the abuse occurred.
- Fabricated sexual abuse reports constitute only 1% to 4% of all reported cases. Of these reports, 75% are falsely reported by adults and 25% are reported by children. Children only fabricate ½% of the time.
Consequences of child sexual abuse begin affecting children and families immediately. They also affect society in innumerable and negative ways. These effects can continue throughout the life of the survivor so the impact on society for just one survivor continues over multiple decades. Try to imagine the impact of 39 million survivors."
Health and/or Behavioral Problems:
- The way a victim's family responds to abuse plays an important role in how the incident affects the victim.
- Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who "tell" and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems often lasting into adulthood.
- Children who have been victims of sexual abuse are more likely to experience physical health problems (e.g., headaches).
- Victims of child sexual abuse report more symptoms of PTSD, more sadness, and more school problems than non-victims. (10, 16, 55, 72)
- Victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to experience major depressive disorder as adults. (55, 72)
- Young girls who are sexually abused are more likely to develop eating disorders as adolescents. (16, 40, 89)
- Adolescent victims of violent crime have difficulty in the transition to adulthood, are more likely to suffer financial failure and physical injury, and are at risk to fail in other areas due to problem behaviors and outcomes of the victimization.
Fehlbaum says her decision to go public came about because of a realization: "Courage in Patience is about courage. It is not 'an abuse story'-- it is a survival story, as evidenced by the bravery shown by all the teenagers in the story who face life-changing events head-on. A huge part of Ashley's ability to begin to heal comes from her witnessing acts of profound courage, all around her."
Beth Fehlbaum, who continues to teach in an East Texas school district, is on an extended book tour on the weekends, traveling throughout Texas. She is available for television, radio, and print interviews.
The following dates remain in her extended tour:
October 25: Barnes and Noble, 4916 S. Broadway, Tyler, Texas
November 1: Barnes and Noble, 18030 Hwy. 281 North, San Antonio, Texas
November 8: Borders, Preston . Royal, Dallas, Texas
November 15: Hastings, 2404 Texas Ave. South, College Station, Texas
November 22: Barnes and Noble, 2415 Soncy Road, Amarillo, Texas
November 29: Hastings, 2200 E. Veterans Memorial, Killeen, Texas
January 10: Barnes and Noble, 4100 Deer Creek, Highland Village, Texas
January 31: Barnes and Noble, 5129 Blanche Moore Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas
For more information about Beth Fehlbaum or to schedule an interview, please e-mail beth.bethfehlbaum.com.
For more information about Kunati Books, please call or e-mail the following:
Derek Armstrong, publisher: 1-866-356-2442, or e-mail Derek at publisher.kunati.com