Won the prestigious Writer's Digest award. 1,900 books entered the national competition, Miss America by Day won first place in the "Most Inspirational Book" category. In this award winning book, former Miss America, Marilyn Van Derbur, describes, in detail, her healing process after 13 years of incest. "I wrote the book, not because I want someone to learn more about me but so readers can learn more about themselves. And so that loved ones can better understand the brutal recovery process and never again say, "just get over it." The pain ends, I promise . . . IF you do the 'work' of healing. A loving, long-term relationship and grounded well, adjusted children await you. A judge for the Writers Digest book competition wrote: "Seldom as a judge have I wanted to read the entire book but I devoured every word of this riveting story... Told with stark honesty and vivid details that were so important in ridding herself of the pain, torment and shame..." Anyone who knew Marilyn Van Derbur as a child and young adult believed she had it all -- a loving family, a beautiful home, an active social life. But beneath the surface, Van Derbur was a troubled young woman who lived through horrific panic attacks and excruciating physical pain every day of her adult life. Starting when she was just a child of five, she was sexually abused by her father until she turned 18. Van Derbur uses the term "incested," eschewing the more vanilla terms of "molestation" or "abuse." As a student and young adult, Van Derbur was an overachiever with an unconscious need to stay very busy. She realizes now this was a coping mechanism to keep her two worlds separated-the "night child" who suffered at the hands of her father and the "day child" who was happy and outgoing. After being named valedictorian of her high school class, she went on to college. Persuaded to enter a local beauty pageant, she ultimately was crowned Miss America. Ignoring the sheer terror she felt at the prospect of speaking in front of others, Van Derbur went on to become a highly successful motivational speaker. She writes of her endless need to be respected by others, all the while believing that if others really knew who she was, they would hate her and look at her with disdain and disgust. The perfectly poised mask she showed the outside world was a far cry from the tortured, panic-stricken, anxious woman within. The shame she felt within was a constant in her life, reminding her that she was "unworthy." When a newspaper reporter learned of her story, Van Derbur's private shame became front-page news. Then she landed on the cover of People magazine. Soon incest survivors from around the country were reaching out to her, desperate to tell someone what had happened to them. It became instantly clear that her new role in life was to help others who had suffered incest and to help teach everyone how to make sure their children are safe from predators.
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