My stories share a common foe, in that they all struggle to expose lies and secrets along with the devastating power to destroy. Each story is an unveiling of sorts.
Layer under layer I peel and prod until eventually revealing the raw truths lurking behind the many practiced facades. I attempt to delve into my characters’ histories, their hidden desires along with their protected secrets, and then shamelessly demand from them to come clean, to take a stand once and for all. Disclose the ugly and the vile, vindicate the pain, and rid the shame that binds them forever to the past.
Even as a child I despised bullies. Had more than my fair share of fights trying to stick up for somebody I thought was being teased or tormented. However, I also firmly believe that people who take pleasure in hurting others are emotionally and spiritually diseased, compromised in ways they don’t even understand, perhaps victimized themselves. This is also why I have chosen to use fiction as a social platform. Fiction allows me to expound on the kind of behaviors that flagrantly allow or perpetuate abuse in whatever insidious form it manifests, and then hides the remains, treating the consequences as a taboo topic. As Stephen King so eloquently has said, “Fiction is the Truth inside the Lie.”
As a wordsmith, I am driven to produce the kinds of stories, which give voice to the concealed heartache and haunting memories perpetrated mercilessly upon the vulnerable. Dissecting predatorily motivated behavior as a way to shed light on deceit and the charming manipulations of an abuser, as well as attempting to expose the damaged mindset that believes they are entitled to control and exploit another person’s life while perpetrating fear overtly or under the guise of veiled threats. Those who use fear, manipulation and threats to denigrate others are my targets. By writing about these uncomfortable issues, I hope to help others question the status quo, demand validation, and make those who endorse abuse accountable.
Topics like domestic violence, sexual assault, incest, PTSD, anxiety and depression, seclusion, misogyny, bigotry, racism, narcissism, these kinds of immoral behaviors have been permitted by apathy and silence to wreak havoc on so many lives. They continue to do so unimpeded, free to permeate the souls of women, children, and men like daggers. And the hurt, grief, and destruction caused will not end at the individual’s doorstep, but continues to destroy through countless generations. Festering for decades and decades, and the only way to make the abuse stop is through honest disclosure, through exposure, through open dialogue, and through the candid telling of victims’ stories so that revictimization no longer is an option.
I honestly believe that as a nation, we need to stop protecting the ugly ‘secrets’ rather than the victims, and to hold abusers responsible for their behaviors rather than making excuses. We need to stop blaming survivors, making them feel culpable for the attacks against them and start believing those who are telling us they need help. We need to protect our most vulnerable amongst us, to learn to listen better to our children, and watch for any and all signs that something isn’t quite right, and we need to honor our elderly, -these admirable keepers of history instead of treating them like burdens and throwaways.
Admittedly there is a high personal cost to pay when writing about these types of difficult topics. First off, they aren’t popular so – ‘starving artist’ is a constant occupational hazard, but beyond fiscal considerations, the sense of responsibility I feel to disclose these truths is daunting. I become absorbed with each telling. At times, mentally frayed. I’m not past drowning myself in copious amounts of tea while my sleep remains interrupted. Dreams plod through countless scenes and revisions as I live day and night behind my computer screen, wrestling with every word and turn of phrase, and determined to make each entirely accurate and compelling.
I remain truly humbled by the idea that my books have given reprieve, validation or insight, but I would be terribly remiss and an outright liar if I didn’t admit that my stories are also written to entertain. But please, make no mistake, my first responsibility, as a writer is to tell the damn story, the real story as I see it unfold. To pull out the plugs, rip back the curtains; unlock the gates, while throwing caution to the wind. I pray my readers enjoy the journey, but I also hope that within each narrative produced, my efforts becomes yet another reminder to those who practice their nefarious behaviors cloaked in darkness that there is light waiting around the corner ready to expose them for the criminals they are.
Sahar Abdulaziz graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology before going on to earn her master’s degree in community administration and wellness promotion. She holds a Certification as a Domestic Violence Counselor/Advocate as well as in community health. Abdulaziz Co-Facilitated a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Group, provided direct client contact, and counseled within individual and group settings to victims who were culturally or geographically isolated.
Abdulaziz is an Outreach and Community Speaker. Speaking engagements have included: East Stroudsburg University, Kiwanis Luncheon, Women’s Resources, Peacemakers at Kirkridge Fellowship Reconciliation, Unitarian Universalists Fellowship of the Poconos, Sistah Chat [WESS 90.3 radio] Radiant Hands Tampa, SUNY Empire State College
Featured in: The Blue Minaret, Storeybook Reviews, Internet Mentor, Rusty’s Reading Blog, Linda-Parkinson-Hardman Blog, NbAMuslims, and The Writing Life
Abdulaziz uses her writing platform and voice to advocate for the underrepresented, the disenfranchised and/or maligned. Her multidimensional characters are described as having “substance and soul”. The author of The Broken Half, As One Door Closes, But You LOOK Just Fine, The Dino Flu, as well as the recently published novel, Secrets That Find Us, Abdulaziz again demonstrates that those who have suffered abuse are not victims, but survivors. Represented by Booktrope Publishers