Legal Property

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

This Is My Story - Fran Elizabeth Grubb


Anne: Today's interview is a little different. Most have been somewhat lighthearted, but this one digs into the author Fran Elizabeth Grubb's very real and horrifying past. She endured a childhood of unbelievable cruelty, sexual abuse, and constant fear and hunger. Her story hurts my heart, and I sit here in humble admiration of this woman who used that terrible past to create a book of incredible hope.

Fran, would you tell us what inspired you to write this memoir?

FRAN: Actually, it took over ten years to write Cruel Harvest. With my husband's encouragement, I started giving my testimony and speaking at churches, orphanages, women's prisons, abuse shelters, and where ever I was invited. He felt speaking would help me  as well as others who knew abuse victims or were abused themselves. I realized when speaking  that people wanted to hear more. I found out by travelling and speaking to groups,that many women as well as men had been abused, but they were not comfortable talking about it. Hearing my life, seemed to help some of the people. My decision to write Cruel Harvest came because audiences wanted to know more than I could tell in one hour. Once, while speaking at a large church in South Carolina, I noticed two white haired ladies standing in the back ground. They seemed to be waiting to talk to me alone. When their turn came, the smallest of the two told me that she had been sexually abused by her father. She shared with me that she left home at sixteen to marry a man she did not love in order to escape the abuse she endured at home. Her friend since childhood stood with mouth gaping. This was the first time she had ever told anyone her secret. The friend said. "I've known her all my life and she has never told me this!" Writing Cruel Harvest is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It is also on of the most rewarding.

Anne: Do you have advice for a person now undergoing abuse like you endured?
 
FRAN: It sounds easy to say, "report it" but that is the only way you can get immediate help. Most victims of abuse are afraid to tell for fear of not being believed. I would encourage anyone who is being abused to find someone you can trust and tell them immediately. No one should have to suffer abuse or stay silent. The abuser gathers strength from the victim's fear and shame. I want everyone who has ever been abused to realize,that the shame is not on you. The person who hurt you or is hurting you is the shameful one. The victim is innocent. The laws today have changed a lot since I was a young girl. The authorities will help the victim and find a safe place for you to stay. You don't have to ever go back.

Anne: Have you ever tried to "get into the head" of your father? Do you know if he was abused as a child?
 
FRAN: I have wondered why a father could hurt his family the way he did. The only answer I can think of is that he could not have had a conscience. I don't know if he was abused as a child. He had two brothers and a sister who were very loving.

4. When you had children of your own, did you ever have to fight yourself becoming violent with them?
 
FRAN: I made a vow when I was a young girl watching my mother and sister get hurt  that my children would never be abused. I promised I would protect my children with my life! I would make sure that my children would not live in fear or be unloved. I left their dad because he was an alcoholic who beat me. We moved away before he had the chance to do any damage. I guess I spoiled them, trying to make up for what I never had.

Anne How would you advise people to overcome similar pasts to become healthy happy adults?
 
FRAN: Forgiveness is the first step. In my opinion we need Jesus to forgive us before we can totally forgive others. That's the way it was for me, anyway.

Anne: Are you ever able to free yourself of the past?
 
FRAN: Absolutely! I refused to be a slave to what I had no control over. I refuse to be unhappy and continue to be a victim. When I was saved and asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins I asked Him to help me to forgive the ones who had hurt me. I needed God's help to forget the past and move ahead. If we choose to let go of the anger and any feelings of wanting to get even, that frees us up for a wonderful life. I don't believe that we can be happy with anger and unforgiveness living inside of us. It eats like a parasite until all the good disappears, and what's left is bitterness and hate. I made up my mind after I was saved that I did not want to keep reliving the past. It's not easy to forgive, but it is necessary. If you want to forgive you can, with prayer.

Anne: Do people ever ask you if you are an illegal alien?
 
FRAN: Some folks think all migrant workers are illegal aliens crossing the border. In the late 1950s and 1960s this was not the case. My parents were American and I was born in America. I often saw American children working the fields beside the illegal residents.

Anne: What kind of stories will readers encounter reading Cruel Harvest?

FRAN: Cruel Harvest is a powerful, emotional thriller, filled with human emotion, suspense, unforgettable characters, and it will keep you turning the pages. My story has made people cry, laugh, shudder, and cringe. For example, we saw  hundreds of giant, black, hairy spiders crawl out from the walls, floors, and ceiling of a deserted, dilapidated hunting shack we found shelter in to keep from freezing to death during an ice storm in Missouri, when our old car wouldn't go any farther. That was like something from a horror movie. There were so many spiders covering the walls and floors of that shack it seemed the floors were moving!

I think the night I escaped from my dad, at fourteen, is both harrowing and humorous. I was fleeing for my life, but at the same time I found satisfaction in the fact that just for one moment my dad was on the receiving end of fear.

When eating my first meal at the children's home, I was allowed to eat all I wanted. I didn't know when to stop filling my plate and the other children stared at me, unable to believe one small girl could eat so much. I wasn't sure when we would be allowed to eat again and I wanted to eat enough for all of us. Cruel Harvest is filled with human emotion. It's powerful, intense, romantic, heartwarming, and has a happy ending. I believe it will keep the reader engaged and turning the pages.

Anne: Do you have plans for more writing?
FRAN: Yes, I plan to write another book to tell what happened when I left the Spensers and found myself in a large city at sixteen years old. I was literally just off the cotton field and felt like a sheep in the woods. Living with a mean alcoholic took its toll on me.Many readers have asked about my mother and how I managed alone without an education or anyone to watch out for me. I am hoping to have the book that answers these questions completed sometime in the fall.
 
Anne: Thank you so much for being here with us today, Fran. I hope people will order your book and see for themselves what a triumphant life looks like. God bless you.

Readers, if you'd like to check out a review of Cruel Harvest, click HERE.

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