For 25 years, I have worked with victims and survivors of domestic violence…and with offenders for over 10 years. Recently, a literary agent asked that I compile a series of real life domestic violence stories (in addition to my writing about abuse and how pervasive it is)…2 books of actual testimonials in which men, women and teens, in their own words, recount their personal experiences/stories. Individual privacy will be protected; names will not be used.  The only information given will be 1) age 2) location 3) occupation and 4) years away from abuse will be added to the end of your piece.

Sample chapter topics will include:

  • Physical, financial, spiritual and emotional abuse and assault;
  • Sexual harassment in the workplace;
  • Resources - or lack of resources (for survivors and offenders);
  • The court system;
  • Obstacles/reasons for remaining in abusive environment;
  • Why I abused;
  • Friends and family reactions around my abuse and assault;
  • Why the way society talks about abuse matters; and
  • Others might develop. 

The request is that you write. Sit down and allow your story to flow. Think about any of the topics above (or any others that come to mind) that will assist you in sharing your experiences. Do not worry or be concerned about how your story develops - just let it come out.  Your work will be edited for spelling, grammar, word choice, etc. to add clarity and meaning for the reader. But it will stay true to what you wrote. After all, it is YOUR story.

The goal is to be as complete in detail and thought as possible. Feel free to put together a rough draft, walk away from it, revisit it another day and fill in blanks that would help others clearly understand the “who, what, when, where, and why” your experiences are conveying to them.  Please, remember, you are not limited in the number of “chapter topic” testimonials you would like to submit. 
The purpose of the book  -- to encourage many, many, many women and men to share their life stories .  Should your testimony not be included in the collection, it simply means it did not fit the parameters of the chapter -- your story will still be yours, and we are honored that you were willing to participate. There may be future opportunities to share the submitted stories.

I fully understand you are being asked to reveal some very personal and emotional times/moments that can be difficult and painful to put on paper. 1 in 5 are abused. Your words could:

  • Educate and enlighten an otherwise often ill informed public;
  • Seek to define what domestic violence and assault are (which will surprise a large segment of the population);
  • Recognize the violence, whether in an individual’s own life, or someone else…be it as a survivor or offender;
  • Raise awareness concerning victims and offenders and the impact they have on those around them;
  • Ignite a conversation to spotlight, identify, promote, establish/expand resources and remove the violence from the shadows.

Finally, the outgrowth of the writings will culminate in two books…one featuring stories from adults AND another surrounding teens--for teens. If you, or your (now over 18 year old) children, have experiences that occurred during the teenage years, those stories would be welcomed and appreciated as well.  Recognizing not everyone is accustomed to writing, the Submission Guidelines page provides some questions that could prompt you in remembering, concentrating and starting the process of writing.  They are intended to be nothing more than ideas/suggestions.   

Your help in this project will be greatly appreciated as we begin this journey together.


Tell your Story...

carrie outhier banks