I 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. 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 at her website, http://www.melissahassard.com.
Copyright © 2014 Writing for Peace. All rights reserved.