Author shares healing journey with other victims of abuse
FOR most of her life Catherine Bentley-Smith stayed silent about the abuse she suffered as a nine-year-old.
The trauma continued to eat away at the Mororo resident until she faced her demons and spoke out.
That decision started a healing process that has led to the release of her first book.
A Journey of Healing not only tells Mrs Bentley-Smith's story but includes motivational poems, advice and support for those who have been through trauma.
Mrs Bentley-Smith calls it a self-help book with a difference.
"There's no magic cure, it's about small steps," she said.
Mrs Bentley-Smith said she never thought she would reveal her traumatic past, let alone write a book.
It was only in 2010, after a long battle with depression and the breakdown of her first marriage that she was able to speak about her experiences.
"I started to see a psychologist and couldn't say the words. They knew what I want to say but I couldn't," she said.
"Every time I tried I would break down and cry. One day I picked the kids up from school and halfway home I drove them down to the beach and told them."
That's when the healing started. And when she put pen to paper, the words flowed.
"My husband and friends kept telling me I should write a book and I kept umming and ahhing," she said.
"When I did, I loved it."
So much so that she plans to start an associate degree in creative writing at Lismore next year.
Mrs Bentley-Smith said she was now happier than she has ever been and couldn't have done it without the support of her new husband Michael.
"I was silent for 35 years about what happened to me," she said.
"(This book) is about trying to break the silence and trying to help other people living through the same thing I've lived through, and knowing there's an actual answer.
"Happy ever after can actually happen."
A Journey of Healing is available through Amazon or can be purchased directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au.