National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

It Happened on Maple Street

This post is brought to you as part of the It Happened On Maple Street International Blog Tour. For a complete tour schedule visit It is “The Writing of Maple Street: Part Four” by Tara Taylor Quinn.

I am so glad to be here. To be able to bring others here to a place where women truly are safe.

For so many years I didn’t believe I was worthy of a place like this. I believed my problems were of my own making. I take accountability for my actions. I am responsible for my life. And so I believed that the things that happened to me happened because I’d somehow made them happen. I’d created the circumstances that allowed others to mistreat me. I wasn’t a victim. I was simply paying the price for the poor choices I’d made. I couldn’t possibly take help away from those who deserved it by seeking that help for myself.

I am a USA Today bestselling romance author, you see. I’ve published fifty-five books with the world’s largest publisher of women’s fiction. My books are in twenty some languages in over thirty countries. I have a dream career. I am a success. Or so I told myself all those years. In reality, Tara Taylor Quinn, my alter ego, the woman inside of me who came to my rescue when Tara couldn’t handle the things happening to her, was a success. Tara was the girl who spent her time trapped in the little room inside of me. She ventured out to seep into the pages of my books. To love a child with all of my heart. And the rest of the time, she didn’t let anyone know she existed.

My journey is much like many of the women who are abused by those who vow undying love for them. I know that now. My epiphany is twenty-seven years late. And in the interim, I spent twenty-seven years of a lifetime living a lie. Twenty-seven years without peace in my heart. Twenty-seven years filled with moments of intermittent happiness mixed in with fear and panic, silence and hiding.

I am a lucky woman. I knew true love before abuse. The man I shared that love with was not my abuser. And when, twenty-seven years later, my true love, Tim Barney, came back into my life, it was that love, his love, the whole hearted love I’d felt for him before my heart had been shoved into a cement cask, that brought me out of the darkness and into he light. My true love knew that something horrible had happened to me. He could see the changes abuse had wrought. And he wasn’t willing to accept my silence. With his tender and gentle support, I spoke of something I’d never spoken of before. To anyone. One tentative step at a time, I came out, a little girl squinting against the glare of the sun, and trusted him with my truth.

I am four years post squint as I write this today. I am now married to my true love. Last summer we were asked to write our story. And today that story, It Happened On Maple Street, goes on sale. Today, for the first time, my family and friends will hear the truth about my life. Today, I think about the writing of that truth.

I had to do it alone. I knew that. I had to be strong enough to travel backward, to look at things I’d refused to think about, things shut so firmly away I wasn’t even sure I could still call them up in enough detail to write about them. Tim had a business trip coming up and I knew that was my time to write the hardest section of It Happened On Maple Street. He wasn’t in that part of the story. I also knew that I could not be at home alone while taking the trip into the past. And…I was long past due for a visit with my dearest friend, fellow writer, Patricia Potter. Pat welcomed me with open arms and a hospitality that I cannot describe for its goodness. Even now, I think of her home and know that the world holds a place that embodies emotional wellness, safety, and peace.

And for three days I sat on Pat’s couch with my laptop on my knees, my four pound poodle, who’d traveled with me, sleeping beside me, Pat’s two wild Indians whom I adore (rescue Australian Shepherds) close by, and Pat floating in and out of the room like some kind of angel, watching over us all. And when I got to the most painful scene, one where the details were blissfully sketchy, Pat sat in the seat perpendicular to mine and did not leave. I put on my headphones. I went down into the story. And by the time I came back up, I was trembling. I couldn’t breathe. The brain is a frightening thing. It lets you forget, on a conscious level, but it doesn’t ever let go of what it knows. As I went back in time, to the spring of 1980, it was as though I was there again. The details were clear. Vivid. I’d halfway convinced myself that what I’d thought happened back then really hadn’t, because I couldn’t logically figure out the logistics. After that night, sitting on Pat’s couch, I can no longer pretend. It happened. And I remember exactly how it happened. I also now know why I suffer so badly from claustrophobia.

Pat brought me a glass of wine. I sipped. But not much. I was afraid to let the alcohol take any measure of my control. And she sat with me. She asked, a time or two, if I was through. And when I finally told her that, yes, it was done, she sat with me some more. We talked some. I couldn’t say much. I was still feeling the pain. Trying to process the feelings of an eighteen year old girl as a more mature woman. Trying to find some kind of synchronization of myself. Trying not to cry. Because I knew that if those tears started to fall they would never stop.

I didn’t cry much then. I couldn’t. But when I got home and Tim asked me to read to him what I’d written, I couldn’t make it through. I read. And I had to stop. He sat with me, patient as ever, and waited. It was as though he knew I had to get through this telling of the whole story, the remembered parts, to him. It couldn’t be as removed as him reading my words. And it was also as if he really believed I could get through it. And because I thought he believed I could, because I trust him, I started to read again.

Tim, here. I can’t let Tara do this all alone. I didn’t have to contribute writing to the Part Four process, but I’ll tell you where I was at with it. My feelings about what had happened to Tara came to life when I actually had to hear about and read about the event. I couldn’t imagine what Tara felt when she had to write about it after 25 plus years. I wanted to fix things. I was angry for her. And I wrote to the university where things first happened and told them that they’d messed up. They hadn’t kept their student safe. They had made a situation where she felt safe, but didn’t make sure she was safe. I heard back from them soon after that. They’d changed a lot of their rules and now provide a lot of extra patrol and watch programs for their female students. Mostly, after hearing Tara’s words, I felt closer to her because now we could share her pain together.

And now Tara’s back.

You see, I’m a lucky woman. I am no longer alone. And no else needs to be alone, either. If there is no one else close, no one you can trust, if you need someone, contact someone right here, on this site. They are available twenty four hours a day seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year. Violence doesn’t punch a time clock and neither does love.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, or if you suspect someone is, please contact, or call, toll free, 24/7, 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). The call can be anonymous and is always confidential. There is not one second of life that is worth wasting.

All blog commenter’s are added to the weekly basket list.  Gift Basket given each week to one randomly drawn name on the list.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Bookmarks

To follow today’s Cyber Blog Party:

Part One:  MIRA Authors
Part Two:  HCI Books
Part Three:  RomCon
Part Four:  National Domestic Violence Hotline
Part Five:  Chapter’s Books
Part Six:  Border’s Books

 As part of the It Happened on Maple Street Blog Tour, we are offering National Domestic Violence Hotline bookmarks. Print yours today.

We will be giving away a copy of It Happened On Maple Street while we’re here so be sure to comment to be entered to win.  Comment on all six of today’s blogs and be entered to win a one of a kind Maple Street collectible basket filled with Tim and Tara favorites!!

Next tour stop, Saturday April 2, Deena Remiel’s Place.

About the author: Tara Taylor Quinn is the author of It Happened on Maple Street (HCA, 2011, $13.95). To get your copy, visit your favorite bookseller, or Also available on Kindle and Nook.


28 replies
  1. Nancy says:

    Good luck with your launch. What a brave thing you have done with sharing your story. May this help many women, but if it reaches even one you have made a huge impact. Bless you and Tim.

  2. Tara says:


    Thank you. My biggest prayer is that I can help my sisters. It’s as though, if I can make good come of what happened, I will find some measure of peace with it.

  3. Kaelee says:

    Tara and Tim ~ I’m glad you have each other to get through this day . It is getting harder for me to read your story so I know it must be so much harder for you to tell it.

  4. EllenToo says:

    I’m with Kaelee ~ if it is hard for me to read how much harder must it be for you and Tim. But it is a story that needs to be told not only for others but for yourselves as well.

  5. Lynda K says:

    Sharing your story, and especially the deeply emotional and painful journey you took, offers a candle in the tunnel of darkness that so many others are lost inside. With every word, your candle of hope will help others take one step, and then another, and then another, through the darkness and point a way towards help and support, including this hot-line.

    What very good and important work you two are doing!

  6. Tara says:

    Kaelee and Ellen,

    I hope the telling isn’t so painful you go away. Spoken like a true victim, right? I hear my own words and know what they say. But I still think them. I think so much of the reason that domestic violence is not spoken about is because it makes so many people uncomfortable. It could be any of us. And it hits too close to home. So many people can’t deal with that and they turn their heads away. And what I know is that for every turned head, there is another bruise.


    I’m thinking of you, too. You’re on the other side in a way I hope to be.


    Thank you from the deepest portion of my heart. The analogy just struck a huge chord. I’m off to light a candle to remind us what we’re doing here.

    • Ellen says:

      As painful as it is it is not going to send me away from it. I’ll continue to follow you and to help where I can whenever I meet domestic violence.

  7. Pat says:

    No matter how dark the situation, adding illumination brings enlightenment
    to all involved.

    Pat Cochran

  8. Karen C says:

    I hope that many are helped by your story. As others have said, it will be a blessing if even just one woman has been helped. Thank you, once again, for sharing your story with us and for publicizing as you have.

  9. Tara says:


    Thank you for being on tour with us! Every bit of support makes us that much stronger. The stronger we are, the more difference we’re going to make.

  10. crystalrclass says:

    Tara and Tim,

    The starkness of your pain does not send me away. Instead, I am feeling closer to you each step along the way. I feel proud of you, I stop and thank God that you had Pat and dear Tim to be there with you during this part of the writing. I wish I were there to hug you all in person!

    On to Stop #5.

    harlequin id: crystalrclass

  11. Lee says:

    Tara and Tim, I hope with this book finally in print and on the shelves that you can gain strength together by knowing yoou are helping others.Peace

  12. Anon says:

    I can appreciate all your stories and situations but I am male and I am and have been experiencing emo and phy DV for some time. I know my words seem hollow but my parents are dead, my family disowned me because I quit college ( mistake yes I know ) but the girl I live with makes me feel like I should just kill myself and get it over with. The next day all she says is she loves me, I know it is the alcohol bit still she is brutal. I am not a lil punk or anything like that. I always had the most beautiful girlfriends. But somewhere along the way I lost myself. See… Her family is super rich and I told myself I could deal with the issues to have a good life. And second of all she is not exactly a model. Matter of fact she has been gaining 15-20 lbs every 4-6 months. I am not here to bash, I love her I always have but she makes me feel like I am a piece of shit and I never left her since her weight gain. I am a. VERY good-looking guy and yet I am lost. She routinely calls me names and makes fun me, she hits my physically, and she drinks so much it scares me. What do I do? And for the record I do not care about her family money, I just want to be happy. Should I leave her?

  13. NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk says:


    Domestic violence does happen to folks from all spectrums and walks of life. Insofar as the drinking, we realize, too, that alcohol is not necessarily the cause of the domestic violence, but rather can likely amplify the behavior.

    Whether or not you should leave isn’t our decision to make. We can help you weigh your options, if you call us at the Hotline (1-800-799-7233). Our advocates are on the hotline 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.

    NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk

  14. Mona says:

    Unfortunately, most victims of abuse, adults and children alike, often blame themselves. The abusers make them believe that.

    • NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk says:

      You are correct, Mona. Abusers do have a knack of making their victims believe that they are less than confident and push the blame of the situation upon the victim. It’s never their own fault.

      The more often and the longer a victim hears this from the abuser, the more likely they are to truly believe that they are. This is often to manipulate the victim to further alienate them from their family and friends, to maintain the power and control over the victim, and to keep the victim from talking to others about what is happening in their home, etc.

      It is unfortunate because it is, oftentimes, that very voice from the victim that needs to be heard before many services, friends, family, community members, etc. can know to begin assisting them.

      NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk

  15. Catherine says:

    Dear Tara and Tim,

    I haven’t read your book yet but after reading your story here, I will. I was reading your blog and when you spoke about your mind never really forgetting, my breath caught in my chest. I have been married to my abuser for 24 years. Not to minimize but for the first 23 1/2 years the abuse was emotional, verbal and the violence was limited to broken glass and holes in the walls. The last 6 months are marked by a terrible physical beating followed by threats with a gun – both when I said I wanted to leave. I quickly learned to put it all inside but its killing me. I talk to no one about it, mostly because when I told about the physical beating and asked for help my “best friend” told me how much she hoped we could work it out. I am absolutely terrified to try and leave again and I am even more terrified for my sons. Both are adults now, which means I can’t pack them up and take them with me. They have wives and children of their own now. I will read your book for inspiration and help…thank you for sharing your life experiences with people like me. God willing I will find the strength I need in the pages of your book.

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Thank you for contacting the Share Your Voice blog. It takes alot of strength to reach out for help, and to share your struggles. It sounds like you are in a really difficult and scary situation. It is really important if you are thinking about leaving again, that you take the time to make a safety plan for yourself about how you can safely do it. Leaving an abusive relationship can be the most dangerous time, and it sounds like in the past the violence has escalated when you’ve told your husband you wanted to leave. It might also help to have a plan for what you would need to do if in a crisis situation and you had to leave immeadiately. You are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are completely anonymous and confidential, and are available 24/7. An advocate on the Hotline would be able to talk with you about safety, both in and when trying to leave an abusive relationship. They would also be able to get you connected to local resources for help. Email and the internet are not always the safest ways to talk about these things. Please know that we are always available when you have a safe chance to talk.


  16. Yvette says:

    As I was reading this story, I could not help but think, “I have been there,” but then I also thought that I need to speak out about what has happened to me. Maybe my talking about it could close some doors that have been left open..
    I was sixteen when I found out that I had become pregnant with my first daughter, I can honestly say I was meerly in lust with the father of my children who also turned out to be my abuser. I always dreamed of getting married one day on the beach in Mexico, but because I was only sixteen I settled for a magistrate courtroom. My reason for getting married was simply for the fact I did not want my baby to be seen as a child born out of wedlock. Immediately after I noticed a change in my abuser, the late night partying and drug abuse became more frequent, he could not keep a job, I had become a prisoner in my marriage. Not only did I have to take care of my health and schoolwork, I also took on the role of caregiver to my abuser when he would come home drunk and stumbling everywhere. This was some thing I never thought I would have to deal with, being sixteen going on seventeen. After the birth of my first daughter, the partying had become as frequent as every Friday, Saturday and sometimes Sundays. I have always been one to speak my mind and let people know when I did not approve of something, but because this was my husband, I did not want to start a fight and lose my family. Then one night I had enough and told my abuser that it would be either partying or his family, he then went on to stating that I had nowhere to go and I needed him. That is when the abuse started, it was first emotional then turned physical quickly. I had graduated high school with hopes of attending college in the fall, but my need to take care of my daughter shadowed those dreams and they would be postponed. The night of my graduation party was the beginning of what felt like my worst nightmare. My family was there celebrating the graduation of the youngest daughter, I felt like my worries were over, little did I know that the night was far from over. My abuser was drunk once again, and I took it upon myself to get him inside the house and into bed. He did not see it as me helping but rather me yelling and forcing him to be someone he is not. I tried to walk away and tell him it was his choice but he grabbed my arm and pushed me into the ground where I had suffered a fractured wrist because of the fall. It is a miracle that my wrist was the only injury attained because I was unknowingly pregnant with my second daughter. My wrist healed and I then found out that I was expecting again, I was unprepared for another child to say the least. The pregnancy was a bit of a shock but the mental abuse was what made me sick, day in and day out. I was afraid to leave, mainly for the fact that my one year old daughter had a home and a baby sister on the way. The mental hold my abuser had on me was thick and could not be cut quickly. The birth of my second child was difficult to deal with because I knew I was going to be the sole provider for them and their strength. When I took home my newborn daughter, I did not get a welcome home party, I was left alone in a two bedroom apartment with two small children while my abuser was out celebrating the birth of his second child. Heartache was my only feeling during my waking hours but with a brave face I pressed on working in a office part time, pretending to be happy. My children are what kept me going during those dark days of accusing, threatening, and the worst striking. I recall my first trip to the hospital due to his abuse, he had been partying once again and came home accusing me of keeping the money hidden. I responded by explaining the bills had been paid, he didn’t see it that way. I was struck on my face with a heavy hand twice. When I realized what had occured and got my vision somewhat restored, I was already on the carpet, I remember because I never liked that carpet. My abuser had left because he did not want to hear my complaining. I made it to the restroom only to see tears of blood seeping out of my right eye and my lip starting to swell. The only choice I had at that moment was to seek the help of my mother-in-law, I had taken her my children and made up an awful excuse of me falling in the closet. My abuser was at his mother’s home and persuaded me to allow him to take me to the emergency room, I am pretty sure it was to be positive that I don’t report him. I was the typical abused mother and lied for my abuser. It was my isolation from my family that made the days longer, and my nights darker. Then one day, as my abuser was out with an uncle doing a side job, that my sisters felt the need to pay their nieces and sister a visit. This visit was one day after another “incident” had occured. I heard two small knocks at my door, I opened the door slowly and barely to reveal the one eye I had that did not have a huge bruise surrounding it. My sisters asked if everything was fine and if they could come in. With a deep breath, I stated that they could come in but on the condition that they do not say a word about my injury. I opened the door completely and revealed what had happened to me. Immediately, my sisters’ tears poured out and asked that I tell them the truth, I agreed and told them of the incident that had given me this “black eye.” By telling my sisters what had been going on, we had devised a plan to get my children and myself out as soon as possible. A week went by and my abuser was gone for three days so I had already moved my belongings to my parents’ home. I was visiting with a friend that lived in the same apartment complex as me, Raul, when it had become late and I realized there was a box that I needed to pick up and head straight to my parents. As I rushed to the apartment, my name was called out and it was my abuser. He grabbed me by the hair and dragged me to the apartment of my friend accusing me of having an affair with him. Raul succeeded in getting me out of the hands of my abuser but he was then trying to fend for himself, I had then ran to my apartment to get the box I needed but was greeted at the door by my abuser. I felt as if I was in a scene of a horror movie. I ran for the room that was once mine and tried to lock myself in, but my attempt had failed. My abuser pushed his way through the door and instantly started hitting me with all his strength. I am not sure how long I was in the room because I had blacked out and when I had came to I found myself in what I thought was a dream only to be reality. My abuser had me pinned on the floor, choking me, when I heard banging on the front door. It was the police, they had been called by my friend who ran to another neighbor and told them what was going on. My abuser was arrested and taken away. I then sought out a divorce from my abuser and was given the courage to leave him for good. There were a couple times when I doubted myself, but i thought if I could live through what I had gone through I can face anything. Its been three years since the worst night of my life, and I have grown to be a strong minded young woman but not without the family and friends behind me letting me know I did not deserve anything that had happened to me.

    • NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk says:


      Wow! You have certainly been through a lot and could probably also write a book about your story of survival as well. I am impressed by your courage, tenacity, and perseverence to succeed in your escape from your abuser. It is great that you had the support from family and friends, although it didn’t sound like you were initially taking their advice, which is so much like many victims do. Wondering, would you have done the same thing — marrying the man because you were with child by him, rather than actually being in love?

      That often is the question of quandry by so many teens that are caught in that scenario. I’m sure that there are relationships where that does work out in the end, but when they are exhibiting abusive characteristics, it does give one an extra moment to pause, reflect and do some soul searching.

      A question, I’d like to ask you would be, too, what was the pivotal point to where what your friends and family said made more sense? Was it something that was said? Had they said that before they had, would it have changed your decisions possibly in the beginning of that relationship? (Many callers, who are friends and family members of victims of domestic violence, call us are always looking for the perfect thing to say oftentimes. What would you advise them to say that would have made a difference any sooner in your relationship with this abusive man?)

      So glad that you wrote your story here and shared it with our community. It’s great hearing, too, that you have been past that made-for-horror movies nightmarish night for three years now. Hopefully, you and your children will have many more years of continuing to gain renewed strength and wisdom!

      NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk

  17. IN-TOO-DEEP says:

    Wow… Those are the only words that I can say. I say these words refering tomyself. I am a victim of domestic violence. I have been for ten years now. I used to think that it was ok for the violence to happen because I would always fight back… Then I became scared to fight back and I always try to keep the confusion down and go along with whatever it is that he says or does. The sad part about it is that I just honestly realized this today after reading all of the material on domestic violence. The last incident was Saturday, May 8, 2011, the day before Mother’s Day! I have three beautiful children that I love very much and I know that they deserve better than to go through this with me. I just feel stuck in this marriage because I want the best for my kids. Although, I know that the abuse I endure is not healthy for them. In a sense I am abusing them by staying here. I am a stay at home mom and I have been for a while so it is difficult to just pick up and leave. I really don’t have any family members that I can truly depend on to help me get where I need to be without more violence occuring. Sometimes I wish I could just go away and never look back. I want to crawl under a rock and die sometimes. My friends don’t ever come around any more. I am really alone and I don’t know how much more I can take. Things seem to have gone from bad to worst. I appreciate this opportunity to be able to express my feelings and acknowledge my concerns! I hope that someone reading this will pray for me and my children that we will be able to move forward without this abuse in our lives. Be blessed all of you!

    • NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk says:

      In too deep:

      Please never, ever feel that you are alone. We are here, ready to take your call, and walk you through your journey in leaving, if that is what you want to do. There are so many programs out there ready and willing to help you; they are just waiting for your call out to reach for help. They are also not dependent upon any income from you. Just your call.

      I understand how difficult of a situation that you feel that you are in. It’s hard to see that there are wide open spaces beyond those four walls that seem to surround you now.

      Feel free to call us whenever (and from wherever) you can. Advocates are here 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week to assist you and match you up to any number of programs in our database.

      NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk

  18. JAMEELE says:

    I was in a abusive marriage for 4 years i wasn’t in love with him i was really afraid of him an what he would do to me and my kids if i try to leave and when i started not being scare of him; an left he came to my house and shot me in the head in front of my 11 year old daughter. I servive an im weak on my left side but im blessed now cause im alive and well and now i want to find out how i can help other like me.

    • HotlineAdmin_KL says:

      Hi Jameele,
      I am really glad to hear you are doing okay. I can imagine what happened to you was terrifying. I think you are a very strong and courageous woman! It is really kind of you to want to help other people in domestic violence situations. The National Domestic Violence Hotline operates 24 hours a day and can be reached at 1-800-799-7233. Any of our advocates would be able to help you find a local domestic violence agency where you can volunteer.

      Take care,

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