Empower Yourself

In many of the books I write, the story can touch on topics that are important and relevant to today’s society, and echo challenges we might be encountering within our own lives. This section of the website is to provide links to information I researched for the story, so folks invested in the subject matter can cultivate greater knowledge. Not intended as a “be all, end all” source of information, these curated links should be looked at as more of a jumping-off point. Go forth and conquer!

The topic of addiction is first addressed in my title, Born Into Trouble

When you read my books that address addiction, I pray that you don’t see a reflection of yourself, or anyone you know, but if you do, please know that there is help, and hope. Among many available resources, both AA.org and NA.org stand out as beacons for people who are in need. Addiction isn’t something that only impacts young folks, our seniors are at increasing risk. RehabNet.com is the National Council on Seniors Drug & Alcohol Rehab, and as a 501(c)(3), they provide a much needed resource. If those organizations aren’t a workable solution for your situation, then tell someone you trust and allow them to help you find what will work. You can do anything, as long as you hold on.

For those of you who have never seen the face of addiction, the FBI released a movie that shows how these dangerous behaviors are not restricted by economic boundaries, nor do they recognize sex or age as defining factors. Addiction can reach into any family, through multiple vectors, and as with so many things, our first line of defense is knowledge. Watch, and learn, and pass it on. Hold on.

The topic of homelessness is first addressed in my title, Hoss

Homelessness is a real issue in the U.S., as well as other countries around the globe. In the U.S., families make up about thirty-five percent of the total sheltered homeless population. Most are single-parent families headed by women, making up more than eighty percent of all sheltered homeless families. At least sixty percent of sheltered homeless women have children, but only sixty-five percent live with at least one of them. Families broken.

Please note the use of the word “sheltered” in those statistics, because these are the ones we know about. The ones who are lucky enough to find safe beds, warm meals, and helping hands. These figures do not count the most vulnerable families, the ones separated from society, subject to predators, and living in tent cities, automobiles, motels, or on the street.

More than four million single parent families in America were homeless in 2013. All studies indicate that figure has only grown in the intervening years. In large urban areas the evidence is painfully present on the street and asleep on park benches or in doorways every day, but even small, rural towns are not exempt as families struggle with finances, health issues, job loss, or any combination of the three. Homelessness can be just one financial misstep away.

Resources can be difficult to track down when you don’t have stable housing, which opens the door, giving us all a chance to help, even if we cannot afford to assist monetarily. Simply being familiar with the opportunities in your area can allow you to become that desperately needed alternative resource.

For someone struggling to keep their family together, to lift themselves up and keep from drowning under the weight of it all, seeing your outstretched giving, helping hand can mean so much. Take a moment and become that supportive shoulder, give yourself a chance to hold out that caring hand. It can matter more than you might ever know. We’re all in this together, trying to make our way as best we can. Help make that process a little easier for someone. Become the brother, sister, or friend they didn’t know they had.

For more information about homelessness in your region of the U.S., and to find resources to help combat it, please check out the following resources:

The topic of mental health is first addressed in my title, Gunny

The characters in my books are drawn from many sources, including a young man I met on Knobstone Trail in Indiana in the spring of 2014, and a recently separated vet who was gracious enough to grant me several interviews to talk about the hard topics of coming home accompanied by the demons of PTSD.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is very real, and many people don’t realize the existence of the condition is not restricted to soldiers returning from dangerous deployments. PTSD can be present in an abused spouse or child, as a result of a car accident, or, as was my case, a single parent of an explosively reactive special needs child.

For more information, talk to your health care professional, or contact one of the following sources:

The topic of sexual assault is addressed in my titles: Hard Focus & Born Into Trouble

Research articles and information:

  • RAINN.org
    Review information in the public policy and action section to see what laws apply in your state. You can drill down into various information to see exactly what the laws are.
  • NCSL.org
    More information about parental rights and rape. Do a search on their website for “parental rights and sexual assault” and navigate to the search. Look for your state, and see what laws exist now. Search for “child support and family law database” and select “Family Violence Collaboration” then click search. This gives a blow-by-blow recitation of all bills passed, pending, and failed from 2012 to current day.
  • Political Opinions Have to Change
    As recently as 2012, we saw a prominent political figure saying he believed a woman’s body would reject a pregnancy resulting from rape, and by his words we know there is a long road still ahead of us.
  • Study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    A 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that approximately 32,000 pregnancies result from rape every year. They stated that “rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency.” Roughly 5% of rape victims between 12-45 become pregnant. We know from other studies that rape is woefully under-reported, which means the real numbers are significantly higher.
  • CNN
    Want to get involved? Check out what laws your state has regarding custodial rights of a child conceived during rape.
  • Technology to Help Sexual Assault Survivors Document Their Experience
    The statistics regarding repeat offenders are staggering. When there are better reporting tools, more assaults are reported, and perpetrators are caught.

Get Involved – #BeTheChange

  • State Government Information
    Want to get involved? Find out who represents your district and contact them. Add your voice to the growing weight of opinion that says victims shouldn’t be forced to co-parent with their rapist:
  • Federal Government Information
    Not getting answers you want at the state level? Remember, you’re also represented in federal government.
  • Sample Email Template
    Sample communication for contacting a congressional member about how you feel regarding the laws in your state pertaining to this matter. Fill in the blanks, and of course add anything specific to the legal matters in your state.Date
    The Honorable ___________
    Office Address
    United States House of Representatives/United States Senate
    City, State ZIPDear Representative/Senator ___________:As a responsible human being and a constituent, I urge you to support any matters before the courts today restricting and refusing parental rights to rapists. The law on the books now surrounding custody does not take into account how the child was conceived.This continued victimization of a woman who has suffered through sexual assault is reprehensible, and should be stopped. Forcing these women to share their children with their attacker cannot be the best answer, and we the people look to you to make things right. The impact of the existing laws extends far beond the mother, to her family and of course, to the child.Regardless of race, creed, color, origin, or age, this law _________________ strips victims of any power to control their own lives for years to come, forcing them to walk in lock-step with their attacker. Help make things right by overturning this ancient and barbaric law.Thank you for your consideration and please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this issue further.Sincerely,Your Name
    Your Title
    Your Address
    Your City, State ZIP
    Your Phone Number