Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Alana Lorens…
It happens to nice men and women, too
Nice to meet you! My name is Inessa Regan, and I’m an attorney practicing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While I handle many different kinds of cases, one particular kind of client really calls to me—survivors of domestic violence.
While we don’t like to think about it, our friends and neighbors (and maybe ourselves) are victims of this sad crime. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience physical violence by their intimate partner at some point during their lifetimes. About 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 6 men experience some form of sexual violence during their lifetimes. In an effort to help reduce that number by any means I can, I often provide free legal services to clients who need to get out of a dangerous situation, and I work with the local shelters to help their clients when I can.
At the time in my life told in the novel SECOND CHANCES, I get the opportunity to help an Iraq veteran who’s being battered by his soldier wife. The wife suffers from post-traumatic stress from her own war experiences, but won’t get the help she needs. As is so often true, we wonder why the battered party doesn’t just “get out”—but it is very clear that each of these situations is more complicated than is seen from the outside.
Do you need help, or know someone who does? Here’s some numbers for you to call.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.
- Love is Respect National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
- Call 1-866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s (RAINN) National Sexual Assault Hotline
- Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
- National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
When Inessa Regan gets a pink slip, laid off from her law firm at the age of 42, without prospects she’s sure her life is over. She hides from the world, until her neighbor brings her a client, a young Iraq war veteran dying of cancer.
Kurt Lowdon only wants to make sure his affairs are in order should the worst happen, but meeting Inessa gives him encouragement on the road to recovery. His quest to help her realize her self-worth leads them into dangers they never expected, as horrors from the war and long-hidden family secrets come back to haunt them.
“A lot of people back home don’t understand what it’s like,” Rafe went on, his throat tight with the strain. “People get pushed to the wall. You’re on edge all day, all night. Things happen when guys get stressed out, you know? They need an outlet. Relief.”
“’Things’? You mean what? Fights? Drinking?” He shook his head and she wondered what other kinds of ‘relief’ he might be talking about. Her thoughts took a darker turn. “You mean the reports about women raped by their fellow soldiers?”
He nodded. “It happened all the time. It happened…to Susan.” He choked up. “Most of the girls, they’ll stay in their bunks all night, no matter what, just so they don’t have to hit the latrine alone. One night, Sus just couldn’t. No one would go with her. So…”
Inessa saw confirmation in Kurt’s face. “And Susan blames you for what happened.”
“If I-I-I’d been more c-careful, or let J-Jimmie get that b-bomb…I shoulda looked out for her. No one would have t-touched her if I’d been there!”
Kurt walked around the desk to put a hand on Rafe’s shoulder. “Susan’s been violent. I’ve seen the bruises. But he won’t retaliate—he feels responsible.”
“She’s changed. She’s a whole different person!” Agitated, Rafe ejected from his chair and started pacing. “She was never like this with me, not before I was sent Stateside. After she got back to the Real World, she was damned moody, man. We got into it at least twice a week, sometimes about nothing. She quit going to counseling after she lost the last job, just like all the others, always a fight with co-workers or a boss, and then it’s done. Seven months now, we’ve lived mostly on my disability.”
He turned to Inessa, gaze intent. “Living with her’s like living outside the wire, you know? I couldn’t stay any more. When I told her I was leaving, she shoved me down the stairs. I had two broken ribs.
“I would even have let that go, ‘cause I know she’s had a bad time. But since I been home with my parents, she won’t leave me alone. She threatens me, threatens them, follows me all the time. I’m not worried about me, I can take it. Damn her, my parents have nothing to do with what happened to me, or to her! I can’t let her do this.”
Alana Lorens has been a published writer for more than forty years. Currently a resident of Asheville, North Carolina, she loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. One of her novellas, That Girl’s The One I Love, is set in the city of Asheville during the old Bele Chere festival. She lives with her daughter, who is the youngest of her seven children, three crotchety cats, and four kittens of various ages.
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alana-Lorens/e/B005GE0WBC/