Publication Date

Spring 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Cathleen Miller



Subject Areas

Individual & family studies; Women's studies; Early childhood education


There are many forms of child abuse. Some forms leave visible scars, and other forms leave invisible ones. Both forms, and especially a combination of the two, change the behaviors as well as the decision making of the person who has been abused, whether a child or an adult. And while an adult may choose not to have the abuser in her life, a child rarely has that choice. The child usually loves her parents unconditionally and cannot comprehend why she is being mistreated. As a teenager and then an adult, she often times looks for the same type of abuser in a partner in an effort to satisfy her need to repair her emotional scars. The child needs psychological help as early as possible before she grows up and sabotages her life by making life-altering mistakes.

The writing process, by the memoirist, can be a way of healing the wounds that have been carelessly left behind by the abuser. But, on a larger scale, the memoirist who touches people with her writing has the ability to heal many more people than just herself through publication. The memoir, unlike the autobiography, has become a popular form of reaching out to large groups of people. In this way, when people who have been abused know they are not alone, and that there are many others in the world who suffer the same emotional scars, they can now begin the healing process