The number of child abuse and spousal abuse cases in the United States continues to grow. We see them on TV and read about them in other media forms.
But what about the hundreds of thousands that are never reported? The dirty secret of those horrors lurk behind the doors of seemingly normal homes where victims are afraid to report what is happening. Some survive, and some don't.
Sandy’s Miracle tracks the personal journey of Patsy Giddings. Written with the help of John Borgstedt, Patsy reveals her personal journey through physical, mental and sexual atrocities committed against her as a child and the spiritual relationship that changed her life through the hardship.
Patsy was kind enough to grant this interview. Reliving such a past is a painful and usually traumatic occurrence which makes it all the more important to bring to the attention of readers.
Patsy, what gave you the strength to delve into your past and write Sandy’s Miracle?
I wrote my story because I want to help other abused children. When I was a little girl and was being severely abused no one was there for me. I was under nourished and a frail child in this world all alone. So because I know what it feels like to be abused and all alone is the reason I am so passionate in wanting to help other abused children.
What emotions did you experience that were directly related to the abuse?
Not having anyone to help me, as I grew older, I became very resentful and made many mistakes throughout life. I was diagnosed with PTSD in my mid-twenties, but had no clue what that meant and it took four bad marriages and memory problems before I sought out therapy.
I know from working on the soon-to-be-released memoir of a woman who was the abused child of a power broker with organized crime ties, that PTSD is a common symptom as are the memory problems. What did therapy do for you?
It took several years of therapy and the grace of God and now today I can thankfully and proudly say that I am a survivor of child abuse and not a victim. I know what being abused as a child can do to a person’s life. Its life altering, traumatizing, and causes deep hidden scars that never go away and all you can do is learn to live with them.
I find another common trait among the abused is a very strong belief in God. Was that something that was taught in your family?
The reason for my strong faith is because while in foster care I learned about God. I was only about 5 years old at the time so I really didn’t understand why I couldn’t see him, but I still accepted that he existed. So through all the times that I was being abused I would pray to God and ask him to take care of me, until I was big enough to take care of myself. My belief and faith that he was a real living person is what kept me holding on to life.
Did you ever lose faith because of the suffering you endured?
Because God protected and carried me, so to speak, through those years of abuse, is why up till this day, my faith in him is stronger than ever. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that God’s plan for my life is to help these children. Even though the path that God chose for me to walk down by far was no easy one, I still thank him for the wonderful life he gave me. I can honestly say this because, I know, had my life been different, I would not be a child advocate or Published Author today.
What is your greatest desire to accomplish through writing and publicizing this book?
My goal is to bring awareness to this horrific crime that strikes our children globally. Child Abuse is an epidemic that must be stopped at all cost! I would also like to see a Law put in place that would ensure adopted children would still be monitored by the State. I have spoken with Tennessee Senator Charlotte Burks and Tennessee Representative Ryan Williams, about this law; in hopes someday it will be passed.
And do you have other goals beyond those commendable ones?
Another goal I have is to have my book ‘Sandy’s Miracle’ placed in all CASA and child advocacy programs to be used as a training tool. I would also like my story in public libraries, schools and colleges and made accessible to children. In doing this my story could give an abused child hope of salvation and the courage to get help.
Do you talk about how the abuse began and what happened throughout your formative years?
In my book, before I was placed in State Custody, I talk about when and how the abuse started. Then I talk about what life was like in foster care and the abuse I suffered while I was in foster care. I talk about what it was like being adopted and how I was abused in my adopted family. I mention the death of my first child. I bring out about my failed marriages and the years of therapy I had. I talk about when my husband and I were foster parents and the experiences we had with our foster children. I mention the illness and two strokes that nearly took my life. And most importantly I talk about my spiritual encounter with Jesus while I laid on my death bed and how it changed my life forever. And then I talk about being a CASA Volunteer and advocating for abused children.
Patsy, thank you so much for sharing your story and your hope that it will help others who find themselves in the pain that you did.
A word from this Examiner
As I mentioned, I co-authored a book with many elements of abuse that will be coming out soon and I believe you have been in touch with Bella Capo, the woman whose story it is. I am beginning work on two more books that tell stories of abuse, and I sincerely hope that increased awareness of how prevalent it is and how similar the symptoms the victims suffer throughout their lives will pave the way for silent sufferers to come forth and seek help. The motivation to help others is very strong. It is also my hope that those in judiciary positions will rethink documented proof of abuse before returning children to homes where it exists.
MORGAN ST. JAMES is the author of ten books in publication and also writes Writers’ Tricks of the Trade columns in the Las Vegas and Los Angeles editions of examiner.com. Her latest book Who’s Got the Money? is a funny crime caper centered around a very clever embezzlement in the Federal prison system. Watch for the release October 15 of her upcoming true crime book, La Bella Mafia, Bella Capo’s shocking true story, co-authored with Dennis N. Griffin and Bella Capo.