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Esther Francis Joseph's Memoir Offers Hope for Child Abuse Victims

(December 14, 2011)

UNION CITY, NJ -- (Marketwire) -- 12/14/11 -- In her new memoir, "Memories of Hell; Visions of Heaven" (www.estherfrancisjoseph.com), author Esther Francis Joseph shares the story of how she overcame a childhood of emotional and physical abuse by giving herself a fresh, new start in adulthood.

"No matter one's past, it does not define them, nor determine their future," says Joseph, who wrote "Memories of Hell" for her own healing and now speaks publically on breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

"Everyone can break the bonds of their past experiences and find their way to the life and future they crave," she says.

Joseph was born in the 1960s, the youngest of eight children, in the countryside of an idyllic Caribbean island, Saint Lucia. Her father, Lionel, was a farmer who seemed motivated in all he did by the opportunity to drink rum -- an activity with violent consequences for her mother, Suzanne.

Suzanne, meanwhile, developed a thirst for religion when Joseph was of elementary-school age. She became active in a Pentecostal church that demanded much from its impoverished parishioners, including exhortations that they not "spare the rod" on their children.

Joseph's father berated and beat her mother, who suffered numerous broken bones. Joseph's mother, in turn, beat her children, and the older siblings beat the younger ones. Esther was at the bottom of a long line of physical and emotional abuse.

"It was usually up to us kids to erase the evidence left behind," she writes. "We would straighten the furniture... tape up the broken windows. The most heart-wrenching part was getting the blood off the walls."

It wasn't until years later that Joseph realized her childhood was holding her adulthood hostage. The abuse had long since ended, but she felt no happiness. She was drinking too much and "sleepwalking" through life.

Sitting in a bar one day, she decided to change that. She got up and walked out. What followed was a long process of education and self-discovery.

"Give yourself the gift of forgiveness," she now urges others. "And spare the rod."

About Esther Francis Joseph

Esther Francis Joseph was born on Saint Lucia and moved to the United States at 16 with her mother and two brothers. She holds a Master's Degree in international affairs from New York University. Her goal is to help others break the cycle of domestic violence.

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Ginny Grimsley
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