Not Marked by Sexual Abuse

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I’m going to be honest, here, folks. I’m scared.

It’s never easy to open yourself up, particularly about sexual abuse, but the time has come for me to step out fully, to be “out there” once again, all for the sake of your healing (and perhaps even some of mine).

It’s been an interesting journey that started after I wrote several vulnerable blog posts last spring. I realized there was such a HUGE need for a book about healing from sexual assault. So many people feel like they’re soiled, marked by an indelible ink, and they’ll never be whole or free from the memories. And then there are victims worldwide who suffer trauma after being trafficked in the sex industry. And there’s the multiplication of p*rnography that only seems to fuel further abuse.

This is a broken, broken world. And we are a broken, broken people.

In light of the need and the new place where I am in my healing journey, I wrote a book last spring entitled Not Marked (Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse). I shopped it to my publisher, but they declined. This didn’t surprise me. I know this book is risky. It certainly was hard to write. In fact, I had to limit my time writing it because it took such a toll on me. It’s never easy to go back there, you know? All I can say is I’m utterly grateful for my prayer team who prayed me through, and my family who loved me well. I’m humbled by such amazing cheerleaders.

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(artist’s rendering. The book is not yet released)

Nothing in this life happens well without struggle. The butterfly has to fight to emerge from the cocoon to see the light of day and flap its now-free wings. It’s the same with writing a book. It’s a fight, but eventually the wrestling turns to flight. It’s a metaphor for the process of writing this book, but it’s also my heart for you–that you would finally, finally be set free from what cocoons you.

And now that the book is finished (and not yet published), my fear is starting to give way to sheer anticipation.

Here are 3 Reasons Why I’m ecstatic about Not Marked

  1. It’s the book I was meant to write. I feel like all that wrestling, healing, pain and joy have come to fruition so I could offer you hope. I’m not marked by sexual abuse any more. I’ve been set free, and this book is the how and why of that journey–not from a counseling perspective, but from a victim’s viewpoint.
  2. My husband Patrick contributed to this book. He shares his story too–how difficult it is to be married to an abuse victim, how helpless he felt at times, how hard our journey has felt, but also how amazingly far we’ve come. Click on the red button below to see the Not Marked campaign. Scroll down and you’ll see a video of Patrick sharing his heart in this project.
  3. I’m publishing this on my own, which is both exciting and scary. And I’m experimenting with crowd funding via the IndieGoGo platform. I’d like to see if I can pioneer a publishing model where the reader is part of the process from the ground level, from idea to publication. Crowd funding creates an instant tribe.

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Here’s Where You Come In:

I need your help to get this book into the hands (and hearts!) of sexual abuse victims. I want to publish this book right, which means it needs a professional editor, interior and exterior design, and capital to pay for an initial print run.

Would you be willing to partner with me to publish Not Marked? Simply head on over to my IndieGoGo site and choose a funding level. You can give as little as $1. On the Not Marked Indiegogo page, I’ve answered all your questions about the book and the process. Click the button to get started:

There are several different backing levels, some of which will fill up fast.

  • If you’d like to get an ebook of Not Marked for only $5, fund the Earliest Ebook Bird level.
  • If you’d like to be featured in the book, there are only five spots. (See The Story Bird level for details).
  • If you’d like your name to be in the Acknowledgments section, we have a limit there too. (See the Name Bird level).
  • And once the signed copy is filled up, I won’t be offering signed books. So pick the Signed Bird level early.
  • There’s even an option for churches to book a half day seminar with Patrick and I, talking about this very important topic. (5 spots total for the Seminar Bird).

You also can just plain contribute, if you’d like. You don’t have to fund a specific level. You might just believe in this project and want to help out. That’s cool too. When you get to the funding page, you can opt for “No perk, I just want to contribute.”

And if you’re freaked about PayPal, you can absolutely use a credit card. (You first have to click the pink button that says GO TO PAYPAL), but then you’ll see this page:

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Click the Pay with a credit or debit card link in blue, fill out the form (It’s secure and encrypted), and fund that way.

How Else to Help Not Marked

You can tweet or Facebook or Google+ about Not Marked. Here are some sample posts:

  • Sexual abuse is evil, but you don’t need to be marked by it. Help @MaryDeMuth’s book, Not Marked: http://bit.ly/18ZgnQL (Click to tweet).
  • Sexual abuse victims find freedom in @MaryDeMuth’s book Not Marked. Help fund it here: http://bit.ly/18ZgnQL (Click to tweet).
  • Sexually abused? There’s a path to healing & freedom in @MaryDeMuth’s Not Marked. Help fund: http://bit.ly/18ZgnQL (Click to tweet).

To give you a taste, here’s an excerpt:

How can it be that so much pain in the world has gone unnoticed? Why haven’t we talked about sexual abuse openly? Why is it that so many suffer in silence, trying to cope with haunting memories all alone?

It should not be.

Which is why I’m writing this book.

If you’re like me, you may feel that the sexual abuse you endured left an indelible mark on your soul, straining your emotional, physical, relational, and sexual health. It has permeated the way you view the world. It scars the way you process information, and it has left you cynical, scared, and hyper-vigilant. I’ve walked that path. It’s painful and bewildering. There have been times when I’ve yelled (screamed) at God, asking Him why in the world I’d been “entrusted” to this abuse. I’ve railed at the utter unfairness of it all, suffering years for other people’s sins. Wondering why it is still a struggle for me to enjoy sex. Worrying if I’d ever feel emotionally healthy in sexual abuse’s aftermath. The mark the abuse left has deeply injured me.

And yet, I dare to believe that we serve a God who heals. Not instantly. It takes years to lighten a deeply tattooed mark, after all. But He does salve the wounds of sexual abuse. Like Jacob who wrestled with God, we who are sexually abused have our own sparring matches with the Almighty, hurling a slough of why-why-whys and why-why-why-nots His way. Like Jacob, we walk with a limp in the aftermath. Yet, we walk.

You don’t have to trod this earth as a marked victim. I’m writing this book to offer you hope.

If this resonates with you, or you know someone who needs this book, please help fund the project. Every little bit helps. The kicker: If I don’t raise the $10,000 by September 25th, I don’t get any of it (and all the donations are refunded.) That’s why I can’t do this by myself. I need your help to spread the word.

Click the button to read more:

God is stretching me in one hundred ways with this campaign. It’s not easy to ask for money. It’s not easy to write such a personal journey. It’s not easy to work so hard on something and not know if it will fly. Please pray for me over the next month, will you?

Thank you, thank you, thank you,

Mary