Women search for happiness no matter where they live. They want to build a life, family, career in order to insure a wholesome future. But in much of the world the patriarchal cultures women are born into simply nip at a woman’s potential and brutally guards the slave-like position that women occupy.
Women struggle as they are bought and sold as property. Their inheritance of an unequal and corrupt system that works against them. All while being enforced by domestic violence which women must deal with alone.
These issues, and so much more, are addressed by the voices of real women in ex-USSR nations. We included anonymous letters that will touch and terrify you on a personal level, while learning what women still have to deal with today.
Can you please tell us a little about My Whispers of Horror: Letters Telling Women’s True Tales from ex-USSR Nations?
This book is a collection of true stories from real women in Ukraine and Russia, where brave women from those countries had sent to us letters telling us their tales of domestic violence, human trafficking, child abuse, and more. Their stories tell what many other women consistently experience within these countries.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding women that were brave enough to openly discuss about what they experience, especially in countries where there is very little encouragement to confront or escape it. Or even any real assistance to break free. Some still manage to find a way in such dire circumstances, but it is far from easy. It is hard enough when there are social programs in place like in western nations, but in countries where there aren’t much of any it is much more difficult.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, could you please share it with us?
This is from the story of Ekaterina whom was brought over from Russia to New York City where she was then forced into prostitution:
Even so, during our final goodbyes, our families and my husband exchanged many kisses, hugs, and tears with me before I finally departed. They all mentioned how they loved me, would miss me, and how they respected my sacrifice for our family. Everyone was there for the goodbye: my parents, my grandparents, his parents, his grandparents, my two brothers, and his sister along with his brother. They were all there as one supportive family to show their love and care for me and their support for our family’s decision. I even received a few little gifts and many pictures to take with me, along with my favorite thing of all: a photograph of my husband holding our small baby.
All mothers I’m sure understand the kind of pain involved in leaving behind a child. They must understand how difficult that is. To leave my husband and my baby girl! It brought me to tears countless times during those weeks.
I finally arrived in the United States, the land supposedly for the free; well, maybe anyone but me. After retrieving my bags, I found my boss, an older woman of obvious Russian decent. She explained to me that she had been in the same position as me, and that if I was obedient and good at my work, much success could come my way. Believe me, I tried to find out more about my duties on the way from the airport, but all she’d do was just smile that charismatic smile and then tell me that I’d be fine and learn in good time. Plus, she explained, there was no rush. It was best to enjoy the sites on this drive as I might be too busy to see much of them for a while.
And, that I did, as it was my first time seeing any city outside of Russia. The city was beautiful and, truthfully, I was charmed by the new and different culture along with the surrounding architecture. Not even for a moment did I question what was about to happen. Who would ever think that anyone could do anything so cruel to, well, anyone else?
When the taxi dropped us off at an old apartment building, that was when I began to feel unease wave over me. This place didn’t look as charming as the rest of the town. The apartment building didn’t appear appealing at all.
And, that was when things started to go downhill. The older woman, Helga, took me into the building where there appeared to be vacant halls, though it looked like there was a lot of use not long ago.
I was brought to one of the flats, and there were two men already there. They offered me a drink, which I had at first declined, but after some pressure I reluctantly accepted their offer. One of the men, along with Helga, sat with me at the table, while the other man stood by the door as if he were some kind of security. They were discussing with me about my home and family. All seemed quite normal at first, until he finally said, “And, you better do as we say... if you care for their wellbeing.”
I stood up to try to leave, but the other man moved in the way of the door. I was also beginning to feel very odd. My drink! Drugged with some kind of substance to make me more obedient. It was then that I slipped and fell to the floor. The man at the table was quickly on his feet, only to push me down further toward the ground as I tried to get back up.
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
We hope that our readers will be inspired by what they read, along with gaining a better understanding on what women experience around the world. Unfortunately women's equality still has not been won and the battle is not yet over. Even less so in these other countries.
What was your writing process while writing this book?
I wouldn't call it a writing process as we didn't write the majority of the book. We gathered the material from brave women whom opened up to the world on what is going on. We merely translated, edited, added a foreword, and published it. It is the women in these letters that deserve to be applauded for what they had done
Who or what was the inspiration for the book?
For myself, my wife and co-publisher would have been my inspiration. She had told me all of what she had seen while growing up in Ukraine. If I never met her then this book would have never happened as I wouldn't have known just how bad it was. She deserves a lot of credit.
Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?
One of my great mentors of my past was my publishing teacher. While the publishing industry has changed considerably since my university days, it had taught me the patience and dedication necessary to get a piece on the market. While sooner or later you have to let it go and not expect absolute perfection, you do need to put it through the steps to bring forward a quality piece.
I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?
I would say that every writer has their own inspiration in order to draw their inspiration and influence from. No two writers are alike. What you mainly need to know is your audience and what will inspire them, and what will make them feel for your work. Do I think that you have to be of the highest calibre when it comes to literature and with their grammar? No. There is always editing after all. The job of the writer is to bring the stories and characters to the page and to make sure the reader feels something.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
We are actually a publishing house with a greater emphasis on human rights issues around the world. We will also be coming out with more books soon, so keep watch on our website at http://BrineBooks.com! Thank you!
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