A Solitary Man by Aisling Mancy and Shira Anthony
Making a Difference in the Lives of Children
Thank you Melanie and Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting the A Solitary Man book tour! Aisling and I are so excited to finally see our labor of love in print. Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of the post for a chance to enter the tour giveaway!
For this, the final stop on the A Solitary Man book tour, I want to discuss the important subject matter of the book. A Solitary Man was born of many conversations that Aisling and I shared about something very near and dear to our hearts: keeping children safe. Both of us have professional connections to the struggle to prevent child abuse and neglect, and continue to be vocal advocates for children, each in our own way.
For me, that advocacy comes from a very personal place: I’m an abuse survivor. I share that fact only because it’s important to understand that chances are you know more than one survivor of child abuse. It could be a relative, a friend, a colleague, or a child in your son or daughter’s class at school. The statistics are truly frightening. The National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA) estimates that:
|· There are over 42 million survivors of sexual abuse in America.
· Somewhere between 2/3 and ninety percent of sexual abuse victims never come forward
· 293,000 children and youth are estimated to be at risk of exploitation
· 100,000 children are prostituted annually.
· 90% of those abused children are abused by someone they know, love or trust
· 20% of child sexual abuse victims are under the age of 8. Most never tell, and some don’t recall the abuse.
· One in 7 children who are regular Internet users receive sexual solicitations online.
· 800,000 children are reported missing every year in the U.S. or 2,000 every day
· An estimated 200,000 are abducted by family members; 58,000 by non family members, the primary motive for which is sexual.
Now that I have your attention, you may be asking, “What can I do about it?” The simple answer is, “More than you know.” First, get involved. Report suspected abuse or neglect to the authorities. Most states have mandatory reporting requirements and shield the reporter’s name from discovery. Don’t hesitate and don’t wait. A child’s life may depend on your speaking up.
What else can you do? Talk to your own children about abuse. As I child, I remember feeling that something was wrong with how my neighbor was treating me, but I didn’t understand and wasn’t sure what to do about it. It took me nearly a year to tell my parents about the abuse. When I did, they believed me, and that was a huge relief. As an adult and a parent, I spoke to my children about abuse. I told them to come to me if they ever felt uncomfortable about something an adult, teen, or anyone did or said to them. You, as a parent, know how much your children can understand. The point is to make it clear to them that you are not only there to listen to them at any time, but want to hear immediately if they are uncomfortable with anything. Even very young children understand that concept.
Don’t have kids? Or want to do more? Be an advocate for an abused or neglected child through your state’s CASA or GAL program. My state, North Carolina (where A Solitary Man is set), has a fabulous Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program where lay people (non-lawyers) advocate for the rights of abused and neglected children in court. It’s a great way to help kids who need someone to speak for them or help them to speak about what they need. You can find more information about programs like North Carolina’s on the CASA website.
There’s an amazing video that brings this all home. It’s not long, but it has a powerful message:
A Solitary Man is fiction, but it’s based on real life events which occur regularly all around us. In wealthy neighborhoods, in poor neighborhoods. In cities, in the more rural parts of states. The fictional children of Dare’s Landing have their champions, Xav Constantine and Chance Fairchild. It’s up to all of us to make sure that real children have theirs. Step up and make a difference in the life of a child! You’ll be so glad you did. –Shira (and Aisling)
A Brief and Frank Discussion of A Solitary Man
A Few Notes Behind the Music Playlist
Writing Supporting Characters
One of the Biggest Benefits of Co-Writing
Entertainment With a Message
More Notes Behind the Music Playlist
Shira is at The Novel Approach Reviews
TO BE ENTERED TO WIN A TOTE BAG,
SIGNED BOOKS FROM SHIRA & AISLING,