Monday, April 18, 2022

A Small Sliver of Justice

Our community of writers highlights a wide range of styles, processes, levels of success and, most importantly for this blog, reasons to write. We all have different and personal motivations. Some write for the challenge of developing and thinking their way through a perfect caper on paper. Others want to share their enthusiasm for classic crime stories or put to paper the greatest story ever written. My biggest drive has been to create a small sliver of justice, however unreal and intangible, for those who may never actually see such treatment.

Often, I write about characters with a history of abuse, whether they have suffered cruelty, neglect and mistreatment or they are the abusers, trauma often shapes who they are. I attempt to create a realistic time and place where those who have been hurt, might somehow find justice and peace. Find hope. It doesn't always end that way, of course. Still, I strive to bring friendship and comfort to the lonely and neglected of my characters, however fleeting or hard earned those gifts might turn. And I hate how really satisfying it feels when I get to rain down horrors on those of my characters who deserve all the misery. Fiction writing can be cathartic and fantastical.

I say fantastical because we all know only a fraction of child abusers are caught or brought to justice. Most children are too afraid to speak up. Sometimes grownups are too bothered or busy to hear. We only see the tip of the iceberg. Those kids, and the adults they become, are who I think about when I write.

Writers can offer readers a safe place to visualize their own lives, but with a changed perspective or tone. Reading gives us a chance to escape or reflect though writing a different ending to a tragic story. There are other ways to help. 

As a community we need to offer at-risk families support, whether we vote for proper legislation, volunteer or donate. Children need to be respected and supported so that we might listen to them and hear when they are in trouble. After all, every child deserves to live in a safe and loving household.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. During this month, as well as the whole year, we should raise the issue of child abuse and the well-being of children around the country. We need to recognize the signs of abuse and speak up when we are concerned. Action and awareness are particularly important these days as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to families, including increased child abuse and neglect, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

National Child Abuse Hotline

1-800-4-A-Child (422-4453)

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