A Gift of Empowerment, by Melissa Hassard

Melissa Hassard, Writing for Peace AdviserI grew up in the South, the daughter of a misogynist who physically abused both his wife and her son. I remember spending a lot of time in my room with books and journals, trying to escape the yelling, trying to escape the dark mood in our home.

My father did well at his work and we had money, that was never an issue, but his demons were deep — he the son of an abusive father and raised by an abused mother. His youngest brother died accidentally, but at his mother’s hand, and so thick was her trauma and mental disease, that she was committed for the rest of her life in Dorothea Dix, the state mental institution in North Carolina.

And while it’s true that women suffer at the hands of men, so do men suffer at the hands of women. In this world of wars and violence, we must listen to the voices that advocate for peace, compassion, and empathy. We ourselves must also speak out.

Writing, to me, is a way of not only expressing yourself, but also — when you find your voice and learn to use it — a gift of empowerment, a gift which comes with the responsibility of speaking up for those who cannot, and speaking out against the inhumane and the wrong, the cruelty and injustice in this world. In that voice, we also find our work.

I am deeply honored to have been asked to serve on the Writing for Peace Advisory Board.

Melissa Hassard is speaker, writer, poet, mother, womanist, and activist — currently residing in North Carolina.

Her background is public relations, advertising, and travel, and she considers herself a student of the world, who loves travel, history, culture, and language.  Writing is as much a part of her life as breathing.

Partner at Sable Books and founder of Women Writers of the Triad, she is blessed to work with writers on meaningful projects — from helping writers publish, to teaching writing to survivors of domestic abuse, to organizing local community workshops and readings.

Her essays and poems have been published in various journals, is she is now revising work for a first book, that will no doubt take her years to finish.

Learn more about Melissa here.

Writing for Peace News

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DoveTales, a publication of Writing for Peace Our Second edition of DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts, is available for purchase. The 2014 issue is themed “contrast” and includes the beautiful black and white photography of Writing for Peace Artist-in-Residence Paula Dawn Lietz, as well as the 2013 Young Writers Contest winner, and the following contributors:

Jodi Alonso
Cassandra Arnold
Maggie Bàra
Henry Braun
Loraine Caputo
William Cass
Lorraine Currelley
Colin Dodds
John Garmon
Diane Giardi
Mark Goad
Veronica Golos
Sam Hamill
Dawnell Harrison
D. Iasevoli, Ed.D
Allan M. Jalon
Shelley Kahn
Richard Krawiec
Paula Dawn Lietz
Cory Lockhart
Shannon K. Lockhart
Veronica Marshall
Sandra McGarry
Iwona Partyka
Sy Roth
Andrew Sacks
Carol Smallwood
Julia Stein
Samantha Peters Terrell
Bänoo Zan

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3 Responses to A Gift of Empowerment, by Melissa Hassard

  1. Melissa,

    So proud of you for advocating for peace and for speaking out and telling your story. I know how hard it is because I’ve had bits of mine published. So when I see other people who’ve suffered abusive through either witnessing it or living it, I’m empowered. We, the survivors, need to empower each other. So with that in mind, here’s my “Good Job, girl.” I’m impressed by you. Hope to read your writing one day.

    Sincerely,
    Torie Amarie Dale
    http://www.torieamariedale.com

  2. Melissa,
    The more I read about you, of you, from your heart, the more I hope we meet some day. Kudos and admiration. xo
    Ginny

  3. Welcome Melissa Hassard,

    Great article! Looking forward to reading more of your work and getting to know you. You have joined Writing for Peace, a wonderful organization committed to global peace. We need the loving, insightful, compassionate and peaceful voices coming from the pages of Writing for Peace. One of my great joys is being a part of an intergenerational community. Special thanks and love always to our founder Carmel Mawle, her vision makes our participation possible.

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