A Victim Can Win

Mary J Schalla
Mary J Schalla Author Interview

Escaping My Predator details your experiences in an abusive relationship and the ordeal of bringing him to justice. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I started writing my story as a way to document everything that had happened to myself and my children. I didn’t want my story to disappear like so many others do. As I continued to write my story while continuing to go to court with my abuser, I realized I had to try to help others. I had to google a ton of information for my next steps to fight my abuser, and I realized someone in a way worse off position than I was in, wouldn’t think to do that. I wanted to make the court process slightly easier, by explaining where I had contact, explaining the protection orders I asked for and received, and also applying for a private information and how I was able to have charges laid on my abuser. Many do not know that this is even an option.

I also wanted my book to have the resources I was able to use. I wanted to show people that there are many resources to help them through something like this and to also give them an idea of how those resources help. I had to show people that a victim can fight and that a victim can win.

Upon completion of my book, my only goal at the time was the hopes of it helping even one person. Today my book is being read by police officers, lawyers and victims. My book won’t just help victims of domestic violence, it will help the police to understand that when they respond to a call like this, it is a call a victim will never forget. That call for the victim and how it is responded to will either save their life so they can escape if they haven’t already, or it will harm them further, possibly sending them back to further abuse and/or possible death because they felt unheard and now feel hopeless. My book details how I had a couple of officers who were very involved in my case, who took the time to listen, to document every detail, and who understood that I was calling because I was scared for my life and that of my children.

The police understood the importance of keeping my children safe from my abuser. They also understood the dire need I had, to ask them to come to court with me to explain to the Judge why my children and myself needed such protection. It will help family law lawyers and emergency protection lawyers better understand why it’s important victims fight for their safety and that of their children. This book gives them more than a glimpse as to where changes need to be made, from the first time they connect with a victim, to go through the multiple court battles, and between family and criminal court matters of the same two individuals (the victim and the abuser) when dealing with these particular matters.

Overall, I wrote the book to help victims in any way it can.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about being in an abusive relationship?

A big misconception I think people make is assuming it’s as simple as walking out the door. There are so many reasons people have a hard time leaving an abusive relationship. I had a hard time leaving because I didn’t understand what was happening to me, only realizing I was scared of him and of being alone with him. I was naive and truly didn’t know, my then spouse could sexually assault me. I didn’t understand that I was being pulled away from people I loved and cared for. I also didn’t realize the financial abuse and psychological abuse I was being put through until I left.

I had no money to leave, I felt guilty I was breaking up my family, I didn’t know where I was going to go, and I didn’t know if I would be able to get a place to live due to not having money and because he helped me ruin my credit. I thankfully didn’t have pets, but for many, this is also a big factor in whether or not a victim can leave abuse. There is a fear of what the abuser will do to the victim should the try to leave or successfully leave. It is not uncommon to be stalked and harassed by the abuser after fleeing.

So the big misconception is “if it is that bad, why don’t you just leave”, it is never, nor will ever be as simple as walking out the door.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given when you were younger?

I lived a very sheltered life as a child. My parents didn’t want us to see the effects of alcohol or drugs. My parents are old school and therefore never talked about sex or what rape and sexual assault were. As a child, I never experience or was ever around anyone being abused.

I remember learning about sex in school, but they only ever touched on the word consent. They never talked about sexual violence or what to do should you ever experience it. The schools also never talked about domestic violence. So I wish the schools had this in their teachings, and I also wish parents would talk about these issues more with their teens and young adults.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

I suppose the biggest things I hope readers take away from my story is that it’s okay to rely on resources, there are many that can help you. There may be road blocks, but you can walk around them. It’s okay to be scared, but call the police when you need them, even if you call the non emergency line to ask questions about your concerns, and it’s important to stand up and advocate for yourself and your children. Understand you are never alone, there are many people out there who have gone through this, who understand how you are feeling in these moments and who will listen and believe you. When you decide you are ready to leave, take it one day at a time.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Spousal abuse is all too common, and there are many-too many-families that are irreparably damaged.

This book is a first-person account of what it takes to survive sexual assault, emotional abuse, and long-term harassment by an intimate partner. It takes the reader through the fear and anguish, the hiding and moving, and the journey through the court system to finally achieve justice and safety for the author and her children.

Few of us can imagine that we could allow ourselves to fall victim to this kind of abuse, and this book is a perfect illustration of how a strong and confident woman can go from being on the verge of meeting her career goals to being under the control of a man who is not what he seemed, and who ultimately damaged her physical and mental health, her ability to support herself, and her sense of trust and safety in the world.

But this is also a story of hope: you CAN escape an abusive relationship; you CAN ask for help and be believed; you CAN keep your children safe; you CAN bring your abuser to justice through the courts; and you CAN come out the other side to happiness and safety.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on October 5, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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