For the last 15 years Maryellen Hess has worked in social service agencies helping people in dire poverty, many with serious mental illnesses. Most clients of these agencies experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Domestic violence happens behind closed doors in families at every socioeconomic level; it is a dark secret among rich and poor alike.
Yet even the most sympathetic observers question why women stay. It is hard to understand that the choice to leave is a mirage. Victims share many traits; a learned sense of powerlessness, shame and self-loathing. Some even take personal responsibility for their abusers’ actions and believe they “deserve” the abuse.
While the characters in “Come and Get Me” are fictional the story’s heroine makes the very real psychological descent that binds victims to their abusers. The author suffered painful emotional upheaval in her own childhood by her mother’s episodes of severe bipolar disorder and eventual suicide. It is drawn as well from actual stories of people traumatized by events from extreme neglect to incest. Kate is the voice of women driven nearly to the breaking point.
Maryellen Hess grew up in the rural south and graduated from the University of North Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She later completed her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Akron. This education led to her career in the social service industry dedicated to creating supportive environments where emotionally damaged clients can begin a journey of recovery.
Maryellen enjoys traveling, reading, and devotes hours to crosswords and Sudoku puzzles. She lives in Massillon Ohio with her husband and their blended family of five children.