What is Because You're A Woman about and what inspired you to write it?
The book is an autobiography, and my inspiration to write it followed on from those first few poems. Though I would emphasise that it is not a book of poetry.
I decided that I should try and write my story in a way that would impact the reader and show how an outwardly ordinary family life could hide the existence of abuse. And I felt that embedding the poems within the story of my life would work well as an effective means of expressing this.
I had shown the poems and first scribblings of my early life to a friend who was an English teacher. Her reaction was very positive, and she encouraged me to continue with the story because she was 'hooked' and wanted to know more and yet somehow made reading about the abuse less harrowing than it otherwise might have been.
What do you hope people will gain from reading the book?
In the main two things, depending on your viewpoint:
I hope that those readers who have been abused, will learn from my experiences that the devastating long-term effects can be overcome, and that in dealing with the issue head on they can develop character strengths that will help immensely with other trauma that life throws at them. In fact readers have already contacted me and told me that the book has inspired them to deal with all sorts of problems in their lives.
I also hope that it would help to give an understanding of the extent of emotional damage caused by childhood sexual abuse to those who have been fortunate enough not to have experienced it. I believe that the public generally have no concept of the long term damage that childhood abuse does, and I hope that by reading the book those who have not been abused will be able to have more empathy with women who have.
How did you come by the book title?
The title of the book was unwittingly given to me by a male friend, when I was complaining bitterly to him that whenever I took my car into a garage because there was a problem with it; or whenever I had to meet a tradesman on site to discuss a new development, I was treated with something akin to indulgence mixed with an impatient "you wouldn't understand the details" attitude.
His answer was: “It's because you're a woman.”