Miss America by Day: Lessons Learned from Ultimate Betrayals and Unconditional Love

Miss America by Day: Lessons Learned from Ultimate Betrayals and Unconditional Love

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by Marilyn Van Derbur
     
 

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Miss America By Day won first place in the prestigious Writer's Digest national competition. 1900 books were entered in 9 categories. Miss America By Day won first prize in the "inspirational book" category.

Marilyn Van Derbur, a former Miss America, tells the story of how she was sexually assaulted by her father from age five to age 18. She was 53 years

Overview

Miss America By Day won first place in the prestigious Writer's Digest national competition. 1900 books were entered in 9 categories. Miss America By Day won first prize in the "inspirational book" category.

Marilyn Van Derbur, a former Miss America, tells the story of how she was sexually assaulted by her father from age five to age 18. She was 53 years old before she was able to speak the words in public, "I am an incest survivor." When her story appeared on the cover of People magazine, she opened the door for tens of thousands of sexual abuse survivors to also speak the words, many for the first time, within their own families and communities.

Van Derbur describes in detail what specific "work" she did on her successful journey from victim to survivor. From powerless to powerful. She writes about confronting her father when she was 40 years-old and her mother when she was 48 years-old. Their responses were different and devastating.

Using her story as the scaffolding, she shares knowledge and insights she has gained after talking personally with adult survivors in the 225 cities in which she has spoken and the 8,000 survivors who have corresponded with her. With her extensive research on the long-term impact of trauma, and her belief that prevention is the best weapon for keeping our children safe, Van Derbur urges parents to talk with children, as young as five.  Suggesting specific words, she helps set the stage for conversations that can evolve into positive continuous dialogues. Knowing that vulnerable children are targets, she gives unique ways of building children's self-esteem.  

Van Derbur also gives the hope that a richly satisfying and long lasting-marriage is possible if healing is passionately pursued.

 

About the Author:

Anyone who knew Marilyn Van Derbur as a child and young adult believed she had it all. Born into an affluent, prominent family, she was a popular, outstanding student (graduating from the University of Colorado with Phi Beta Kappa honors) and athlete (she swam in AAU swim meets, broke and trained her own horses and raced for the University of Colorado's ski team). But beneath the surface, she suffered from horrific panic attacks unrelenting insomnia and excruciating body pain. No one could imagine that her father "incested" her from age five to age 18.

Van Derbur was an overachiever with a subconscious need to stay constantly busy. She realizes now that 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 accomplished.

While a sophomore in college, her sorority sisters nominated her for Miss University of Colorado. Three months later, she was crowned Miss America. Ignoring the sheer terror she felt at the prospect of speaking in front of others, Van Derbur chose motivational speaking as her career and, within a decade, she was named "Outstanding Woman Speaker in America." Believing people would look at her with disgust and disdain if they knew her secret, Van Derbur had an obsessive need to be successful and respected. As her life unfolded, she began to understand the complex ways in which her childhood trauma was driving her adult life. Through dogged persistence and gut-wrenching disclosures and confrontations, she began to heal the gaping wounds of her childhood.

When a newspaper reporter learned of her story, Van Derbur's private shame became front-page news. When she landed on the cover of People magazine, there was a national outpouring from survivors who turned to her for help and support. It became instantly clear that her new role was to help others who had suffered from rape and sexual abuse and to help educate parents on how to keep their children safe from predators.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780972829847
Publisher:
Oak Hill Ridge Press
Publication date:
05/15/2003
Pages:
561
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are saying about this

Eve Ensler
This is the finest book ever written on this subject.
author of The Vagina Monologues
Eleanor Hamilton
Marilyn's book has been an enormous help to me as a psychologist who has worked with trauma survivors for over 20 years. It provides insights into the experience of adults sexually abused as children in a complete and compelling way. It will be a reference for me as long I work in the field of sexual trauma recovery.
PhD
Susan Heiter
As a psychologist, I purchased 60 copies to give to my clients. I now assign it to couples as homework reading to help liberate victims from their blight of shame and pain, and to enlighten their spouses so they can be more compassionate.
PhD, author of From Conflict To Resolution

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4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this amazingly honest book, Van Derbur tells the story of how she grew up in a family that seemed perfect on the outside but which was harboring an ugly secret: Starting when she was just a child of five, she was sexually abused by her father until she turned 18. The devastation and shame of incest, which Van Derbur repressed for many years, stayed with her through adulthood. This remarkable book tells of the night child who suffered at the hands of her father¿and the day child who was happy and outgoing. She also covers all-important tips on how people can protect their own children from sexual predators. This book should be required reading for every parent, teacher, judge, clergyman, and incest survivor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Review of Miss America By Day: Lessons Learned from Ultimate Betrayals and Unconditional Love by Marilyn Van Derbur, Oak Hill Ridge Press, Denver, CO: 2003. ISBN: 0- 9728-298-4-9, Autobiography/Abuse I chose this book because April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month as well as National Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month, and those topics are my work. The topics are thoroughly covered in Van Derbur¿s voluminous non-fiction story. Marilyn Van Derbur, a native of Colorado, is one of four daughters of a prominent Denver businessman (he is deceased). Her father was on numerous boards and committees, was honored with buildings named for him, and was president of ¿all the college fraternities in America.¿ Both parents were active volunteers, donating time and money to culture and civic organizations. Marilyn¿s mother would often state that she had the ¿perfect marriage¿ and Marilyn was told that she was ¿blessed by being born into a perfect family.¿ Marilyn¿s life appeared to be perfect, as depicted by the smiles in the pictures she shares throughout the book. Marilyn was crowned Miss America while she was attending the University of Colorado in 1958. When she graduated (with honors) Marilyn was a guest host on Candid Camera and a panelist on To Tell the Truth, as well as in commercials. She also waved to the public while in the Cotton Bowl and Thanksgiving Parades. She chose motivational speaking as her career, and was named the ¿Outstanding Woman Speaker in America¿ and was inducted to the ¿Colorado Woman¿s Hall of Fame.¿ Indeed, anyone reading her story might experience a twinge of envy for all the fame and fortune that seemed to come to her so easily and effortlessly. Except¿Marilyn suffered from physical symptoms including insomnia, tics, ulcers, and panic attacks. When her body and mind rebelled against the constant travel, she experienced full body paralysis, yet doctors found no organic cause. What else might Marilyn be rebelling against? She had to search her mind and spirit to find the answers. One of Marilyn¿s earliest memories is of her mother reading the Bible before bed. Another of Marilyn¿s earliest memories is of her father entering his daughter¿s bed after dark. What came next was repressed for decades until Marilyn realized that her father had committed incest from the time she was five until eighteen, an estimated six hundred times. All the while, her mother knew. Marilyn shares her split between the ¿night child¿ victim in contrast to the ¿day child¿ over-achiever. The physical symptoms she had endured were a manifestation of the connection between child sexual abuse and adult ailments. Marilyn writes, ¿I had never prayed. I didn¿t want a more powerful father and I knew, deep inside, that the Father my mother was praying to when I was a child wasn¿t protecting me.¿ However, when her story went public via the Denver media and People magazine, she asked of a Higher Power: ¿I want to help¿If you show me the way ¿I will do whatever you ask me to do.¿ Thus began the next chapter of Marilyn¿s life. She writes that it is ¿my mission to educate judges, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, therapists, and especially parents¿ about child sexual abuse. Not only does she educate with this book and her speeches, she also helps victims become survivors by sharing her healing journey. Throughout the book, Marilyn also shares with the reader her relationships with her husband and daughter, and the reader relishes in the emotional relief their unconditional love offers Marilyn. Ultimately, Marilyn manages to find peace. I would recommend this book as an astonishing story and educational tool regarding child abuse and sexual assault. Review written by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor¿s Story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Review of Miss America By Day: Lessons Learned from Ultimate Betrayals and Unconditional Love by Marilyn Van Derbur, Oak Hill Ridge Press, Denver, CO: 2003. ISBN: 0- 9728-298-4-9, Autobiography/Abuse I chose this book because April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month as well as National Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month, and those topics are my work. The topics are thoroughly covered in Van Derbur¿s voluminous non-fiction story. Marilyn Van Derbur, a native of Colorado, is one of four daughters of a prominent Denver businessman (he is deceased). Her father was on numerous boards and committees, was honored with buildings named for him, and was president of ¿all the college fraternities in America.¿ Both parents were active volunteers, donating time and money to culture and civic organizations. Marilyn¿s mother would often state that she had the ¿perfect marriage¿ and Marilyn was told that she was ¿blessed by being born into a perfect family.¿ Marilyn¿s life appeared to be perfect, as depicted by the smiles in the pictures she shares throughout the book. Marilyn was crowned Miss America while she was attending the University of Colorado in 1958. When she graduated (with honors) Marilyn was a guest host on Candid Camera and a panelist on To Tell the Truth, as well as in commercials. She also waved to the public while in the Cotton Bowl and Thanksgiving Parades. She chose motivational speaking as her career, and was named the ¿Outstanding Woman Speaker in America¿ and was inducted to the ¿Colorado Woman¿s Hall of Fame.¿ Indeed, anyone reading her story might experience a twinge of envy for all the fame and fortune that seemed to come to her so easily and effortlessly. Except¿Marilyn suffered from physical symptoms including insomnia, tics, ulcers, and panic attacks. When her body and mind rebelled against the constant travel, she experienced full body paralysis, yet doctors found no organic cause. What else might Marilyn be rebelling against? She had to search her mind and spirit to find the answers. One of Marilyn¿s earliest memories is of her mother reading the Bible before bed. Another of Marilyn¿s earliest memories is of her father entering his daughter¿s bed after dark. What came next was repressed for decades until Marilyn realized that her father had committed incest from the time she was five until eighteen, an estimated six hundred times. All the while, her mother knew. Marilyn shares her split between the ¿night child¿ victim in contrast to the ¿day child¿ over-achiever. The physical symptoms she had endured were a manifestation of the connection between child sexual abuse and adult ailments. Marilyn writes, ¿I had never prayed. I didn¿t want a more powerful father and I knew, deep inside, that the Father my mother was praying to when I was a child wasn¿t protecting me.¿ However, when her story went public via the Denver media and People magazine, she asked of a Higher Power: ¿I want to help¿If you show me the way ¿I will do whatever you ask me to do.¿ Thus began the next chapter of Marilyn¿s life. She writes that it is ¿my mission to educate judges, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, therapists, and especially parents¿ about child sexual abuse. Not only does she educate with this book and her speeches, she also helps victims become survivors by sharing her healing journey. Throughout the book, Marilyn also shares with the reader her relationships with her husband and daughter, and the reader relishes in the emotional relief their unconditional love offers Marilyn. Ultimately, Marilyn manages to find peace. I would recommend this book as an astonishing story and educational tool regarding child abuse and sexual assault. Review written by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor¿s Story.