Today's post supports April as Child Abuse Prevention month.
Yvette L. Allen-Tatum is here today talking about her powerful book, I Didn’t Know: Identifying, Confronting and Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse.
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Author, Teacher, Advocate, Conference Host, Public Speaker, Encourager, Motivator, Ordained Minister of The Gospel, Radical for Christ, the list goes on... Born some 40 plus years ago, this mighty Woman of God is Blessed with Grace, Intelligence and a Prophetic Teaching Anointing.
Yvette is in the process of earning a Master of Arts in Human Services, Concentration in Executive Leadership, at Liberty University. She earned her Master of Divinity Degree and a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Grace Christian College; she is also a graduate of the University of Richmond, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance and a Minor in Leadership Studies. In addition, she has 30 plus years of experience in income tax preparation and bookkeeping.
Yvette is the Founder of Surrounded By Faith Ministries, Inc. Surrounded by Faith Ministries is a DESTINY-DRIVEN outreach ministry with a mandate from God to transform LIVES with the Word of God. The Word of God is not only ACTIVE and ALIVE but PERPETUAL. Because of this, we expect God to EXPONENTIALLY reach those we may never see simply because of those HE has entrusted us to TRAIN and EQUIP.
To date, Yvette has authored two books "Welcome to my Morning Glory" and "I Didn't Know", She has taught numerous Bible Studies, has been a featured speaker at several conferences and hosted numerous ministry events; most notably The Throw Yo' Hands Up Conferences sponsored by Surrounded By Faith Ministries, Inc. On April 19th, Yvette will host her most compelling conference as of yet, The I Didn’t Know Public Forum to RAISE Public Awareness and Raise Public Consciousness About Child Sexual Abuse (CSA).
What began as a mandate from God to train and equip women in the ways of the Lord so they would become like the Proverbs 31 woman in the Bible, has expanded to a platform of child advocacy. Actually, her spiritual focus has always been on the family unit – to receive and achieve spiritual wholeness. God has taken this mighty vessel by various routes to touch and reach the masses. First, targeting women – to strengthen them as the nurturing forces they were created to be; and now giving a voice to the voiceless – our children.
All of this is how she started; it has yet to be revealed who she shall be or how she will finish. You'll just have to wait and see.
Welcome, Yvette. Please tell us about your current release.
I Didn't Know - Identifying, Confronting & Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse - the title is indicative of the subject matter. In this book, I bring to the forefront the many faces of child sexual abuse; those of the victims and the abusers. I boldly confront my past of child sexual abuse to demonstrate that TRUE deliverance is possible. I believe that we ALL (victims, abusers, enablers, nay-sayers, etc.) can OVERCOME the horrible effects of child sexual abuse.
This book proves that true healing is possible and necessary for us to become more than CONQUERORS through Christ Jesus.
As a community, we have to:
§ Identify Child Sexual Abuse –
o We have to talk about it (raise public awareness)
o Know the signs & symptoms
§ Confront Child Sexual Abuse –
o Error on the side of caution – THE CHILD
o Be quick to BELIEVE the victim and make all necessary inquiries
o Studies show people are more apt to believe the innocence of the accused; this has to END
§ Overcome Child Sexual Abuse – We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the WORD of OUR TESTIMONY
What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for writing I Didn’t Know – Identifying, Confronting, and Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse came from watching Tyler Perry on The Oprah Winfrey Show one day. On this particular show, Tyler Perry came forward to tell his story about being sexual abused. Then, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry took his story to the next level by having an audience filled with nothing but men who had been sexually abused. I really cannot remember the actual format of the show or shows; I just remember the impact it had upon me. I thought what he had done, his coming forward, was very brave and took a great deal of courage.
I remember sitting on the sofa crying, thinking to myself those must have really been some horrible experiences. It was at that moment, I heard the Lord speak to me saying, “You have been sexually abused, as well.” I sat for a moment thinking to myself, “When and how could this have happened to me?” That is when the Lord reminded me of the things that happened to me. As He began to share my experiences with me, I became compelled to tell someone; anyone who would listen. After this walk down memory lane, I pondered this thought, “If I did not realize I had been sexually abused, then how many other children, including those who are now adults do not realize they have been sexually abused?”
As a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), I strongly believe that victims of child sexual abuse can no longer afford to be silent. As a community, better yet as a nation, we cannot continue to allow these heinous acts to be swept under the carpet. Someone has to be bold enough to come forward!
From there, I started writing. As God took me down memory lane, I just began to write down everything He said to me. It was like taking dictation. So, why did I decide to share my story? I decided to share my story because people need to know what happened to me and to countless others. More importantly, people need to know that Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) can happen to anyone! The number of people (victims) who remain silent and never tell their stories far outweighs the number of people who come forward. Therefore, my quest in writing this book was/is:
· To expose the enemy (I believe this lessens his power);
· To overcome the guilt & shame by being able to confront it head on;
· To encourage and educate others on how to identify, confront & overcome sexual abuse; and
· To set the captives FREE
Feeling aroused during abuse is not an issue for every survivor. Some survivors never felt any kind of sexual arousal during the abuse. Others felt some sexual arousal, but readily accept that it didn't mean anything more than an automatic reflex response to touch. Still others experienced some pleasurable feelings in their bodies during the abuse, but because those feelings were overshadowed by the pain of the abuse, it isn't an issue for them either.
However, there are many survivors who are deeply affected by their bodies' natural responses. Some agonize over how their bodies responded to the stimulation; they experienced the sexual arousal as a humiliation, and believe it reflects negatively on them that their body responded at all. They perceive their body's response as a betrayal, with the abuser "winning," and they hate their bodies for it. This is compounded by the fact some abusers deliberately try to force a victim to have an orgasm so that the survivor will mistakenly believe that they wanted or enjoyed the abuse. ©Yvette Allen-Tatum
What powerful story are you working on next?
I have plans to write a children's book speaking to children on their level about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). With this book I hope to help children to be able to identify Child Sexual Abuse and to encourage them to tell a responsible adult that they have been touched inappropriately. I understand that children may not know what I mean by responsible adult, therefore, I plan to identify for them who those responsible parties are: parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, older siblings/cousins, teachers, school nurse, policeman, firemen, etc., in the book. Yet, I am not ignorant of the fact that some of these people could have been the very one(s) who touched them. Statistics show that 90% of child victims know their offenders. Moreover, I aim to equip parents with tools and techniques to get the conversation started with their children. Ultimately, I aim to start a movement to eradicate Child Sexual Abuse one community at a time.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I do not know that I actually consider myself to be a writer. I’m really not sure what or who inspired me to become a writer. I have always written in some form or fashion nearly all my life. Most of my early writings probably came from my day-dreams and then just writing down what I dreamed about. From there I picked up journaling and began to write-down different things that I believed God was speaking to me through visions and/or Scripture.
When I started writing plays for my Church, specifically for the Children’s Church program, was when I actually began to believe my writings were for more than an audience of me. During those days, most of those stories came from my personal experiences while going through a divorce.
I guess the short answer is that I have always believed that I had a story to tell.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I do not write full-time. My day job(s) are numerous: analyst, income tax preparer, full-time graduate student and founder of a ministry. I squeeze in writing whenever I am inspired to do so. I wrote both of my books in a weekend. It’s the refinement and research that takes longer.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I really don’t know; I’m not sure that I have one. I do know that I don’t like open cabinets or open doors. My children use to tell me they always knew where I was in the house because I would walk around closing all the open doors.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child growing up and even now I have always wanted to be an actress.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Lessons learned from reading I Didn’t Know:
I believe there are many lessons to be learned from my book, but the most important lesson is to be able to identify Child Sexual Abuse. Identification is where it all starts. We cannot confront what we don't know and we definitely cannot overcome those things we do not confront.
The Bible states, "My people suffer for lack of knowledge." I hope to equip people with the knowledge of CSA and together we can make a mark that cannot be erased by annihilating Child Sexual Abuse.
Thank you, Yvette.