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Ashley Rodriguez

Ashley Rodriguez

Georgia, United States

As a young veteran, married, and having experienced a life changing assault I use personal, raw experience to tell this story of healing when I didn't know I needed it.

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About the author

From a young girl, growing up in challenging circumstances - parents that fought and divorced, an abusive step-father, mental illness and depression, faith and healing into adulthood - Ashley Rodriguez knew she would be anything but average. Often she attributed strength and perseverance to the bloodline of a Terrebonne. 

A dreamer, and Pisces, she often found it difficult to complete one task without evoking inspiration for another, and therefore has been on an ever-evolving journey to share and inspire.  

She is an accomplished individual having completed college courses from business management, entrepreneurship, and most recently is looking toward pursuit of a Bachelors in Communication. She has completed countless hours of Leadership Development and Training, Understanding Psychology, and is excited to use her personal accounts to tell a story of hope. 

Having recently completed her Military Service in the United States Army she aims to conquer her various interests and work on her Podcast Platform "Taboo Talks" full-time. Passionate about Mental Health and digging into the Taboo of topics she hopes to spread awareness and encourage others to realize that the human experience is everything but clean - and that's okay! 

As a mother, and wife, she currently uses writing as a hobby. Her ultimate goal is to become a Motivational Public Speaker and encourage adults of all ages to question the core of their beliefs in hopes that they will come to know themselves wholly. Ashley has a commitment to communication and lives to prove that communication is more than words or body language, it's an art that must be practiced to be mastered. 

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Success! DOWN TO THE CORE sold 9 pre-orders by Jan. 21, 2019, was pitched to 5 publishers, and will be published by Happy Self Publishing.
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DOWN TO THE CORE

The journey to healing after an assault. Early marriage, trials, and questioning core values in an effort to be whole.

A young veteran, her confidence warped by an ugly assault and an eagerness to be whole. Now, married she's willing to go to the depths in her marriage for answers.

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Mind & Body Mental Health, Relationships
50,000 words
25% complete
4 publishers interested

Synopsis

Life is complicated in the military. It's a classic clash of civilian independence and discipline at all levels. Hypocrisy is waiting at the doorstep of each experience and somehow re-enlistment is just too hard to pass up, I have come too far. It becomes a lifestyle, a mindset. I have defeated the odds. Here, women have been stereotyped as whores, a "mattress" for the many men that serve no matter how clean we keep our beds - no matter how tightly closed our legs remain.

As a new private in the United States Army, this young woman is faced with a difficult decision to make. For the first time in her life she feels herself succumb to the pressure of a good reputation and chooses to keep her assault a secret. Moving on with her life, choosing victory over defeat, she marries and carries out the successful completion of her first contract. At the same time, nearly 2 years into a happy marriage she finds herself unraveling at her core. Faith and determination won't shake the torment she relives each time her husband goes below the waistline. 

As her views about marriage change and the love between these two soldiers grow, she faces a difficult realization that society is not always right. Monogamy doesn't have to be the only answer, as she leaves all doors unhinged in her quest for ultimate healing. How far will this journey take their love, and how deep can one young woman go for answers? 

This book is an honest, vulgar peek into the reality of sexual trauma and marriage in it's first stages. For readers that relate to stories of their own sexual experiences, questions about the normalcy of ritualistic beliefs in matrimony, and a quest for soul-healing this book offers a unique and true insight to the cravings of the human experience. 

Audiences can take away a deep look into the taboo and vicariously live through trauma and healing from a young woman and man willing to take on some of the toughest challenges. The Army is tough, but learning the depths of oneself is tougher. 

Outline

"Down to the Core" is comprised of 7 chapters reflecting the stages of this young woman's life over the course of 4 years. 

Chapter 1 will focus on introducing the main character, who she is, and where she came from before the Army without giving away intimate details of her previous life. This book is geared toward the first 4 years of her Military Service, other books may reveal more about this character in the future if desired.

Chapter 2 features the meeting of her attacker and the assault itself, as well as the denial and conflict the main character felt as she tries to come to terms with her experience. 

Chapter 3 is all about a love interest, the excitement of a new relationship with intimate details that others will relate to, and the complications that surface when she reveals her assault to this relationship. 

Chapter 4 covers details of a rocky start to a new marriage with promise to the future. 

Chapter 5 highlights the closeness of her marriage and discusses the discomfort of confronting her attacker, the stress of being bullied at work by her boss, and struggles with miscarriage trying to start a family.

Chapter 6 is the new realization that she never fully recovered from her experience of the assault so many years prior, and reveals itself in unexpected areas of her life. 

Chapter 7 is about the healing process when she comes face to face with her new reality, solutions to find out who she really is and what she wants out of her relationship, and new ideals about the world. 

There will be a closing at the end of this book with a call to action, for all to share publicly or privately with themselves a hard truth or experience they have felt in order to find healing. This book is intended to share with others that it's okay to not be okay, to find healing, and to question common beliefs held by a majority of society in order to be fully aware of who we are and how we came to be. 

Audience

This literature is not for the light-hearted. This story explicitly describing an assault, questions of society norms, and a struggle for mental wellness along with a new marriage and a tough career make this book an uncomfortable, but forgiving experience.

In theory this book would do well for married or single adults ranging from ages 25-35, and an interest in taboo subjects or self-development. 81% of women and 43% of men report experiences of sexual assault, according to a 2018 study by SSH (Stop Street Harassment) and included 2,000 people. This makes the topics of assault relate-able. 

Narrowing the audience further, this book raises the question of monogamy and explores options for an open relationship. In 2017 Samantha Joel Ph.D published an article about the emerging research on non-monogamy. This study referenced shows that an open relationship can be highly satisfying. There are other, several reputable Doctors, Therapists, and Social Experts that have researched and dedicated their lives to understanding different relationship dynamics both historically and present. 

In addition, The Council on Foreign Relations published a census on military population in several categories based on age, gender, race, location of recruitment, and branch. Of all branches in the military, the Army holds 36.6% of the total amount of Active Service Members. In total, Active Duty service members of all branches are 1,288,596 as of 2018. 

 In a published article by the Department of Defense, on May 1, 2018, it was reported that the sexual assault reports increased by 9.7% fiscal year 2017 over 2016. The numbers exactly were 6,172 reports in 2016 and 2,769 in 2017. However, the numbers increase when taking into consideration the effects of sexual assault on loved ones of victims and military readiness within the ranks. 

Therefore this book featuring a sexual assault, questioning societal norms on monogamy, and military service makes this a contradicting story for those interested in these three topics specifically.


Promotion

I have a professional LinkedIn profile with 1500+ connections in reference to Entrepreneurship, Military, and Public Speaking. A member of Toastmasters in my local town I have unlimited potential to promote and share this story during competitions and local events for Public Speaking. My close social network of friends, family, and colleagues reach to roughly 500 people first-hand. This number likely doubles via word of mouth. I also have a Podcast "Taboo Talks" Launching officially the first week in January with featured guests lined up to interview.  

I have experience in marketing, photography, and graphic design having successfully run my own photography business in 2012 during my first 2 years of college. 

Lastly, I have access to military resources for promoting my work on military installations, for free during military sponsored events, and an opportunity to sponsor events related to mental health and sexual assault awareness. 

Currently, I am anticipating being able to participate in local and regional speaking events through the Toastmasters platform in my local community. I have extensive knowledge working with video and video editing material through my photography experience, classes on acting for the camera techniques, and my Podcast which is currently featured on YouTube. 

In addition to my personal and business connection I plan to utilize my University, passing out relevant fliers on campus and spreading the word throughout campus sponsored events targeting several hundred students in the 25-35 age range.

In total, without the use of paid advertisement I plan to reach upwards of 5,000-8,000 individuals. The possibilities of a larger reach are always made possible by sponsorship, donations, and advertisement on my social media accounts, local radio, and other podcast channels. 

Competition

I have been unable to find books involving both non-monogamist practices and military as it is illegal and a highly secretive community. However, there are several books on open relationships specifically written by therapists and life-stylists. A book for example being "A Therapist's Guide to Consensual Non-monogamy" by Rhea Orion. She is a well-known Therapist with a license in California and focuses on modern marriage and open relationships. Published in March of 2018 her book is different from mine in that I am telling a story and she is explaining the lifestyle from a professional standpoint.

 Another "The Body Keeps the Score : Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma", again written by an expert in this field. Published in September of 2015 , Bessel Van der Kolk M.D.  speaks about the truths and ways to heal after a traumatic, stressful event. Once again this literature is about the expert knowledge on sexual assault and presents science and psychology to show a way out of brokenness.

Although there are no books I have found referencing swinging, or non monogamous practices in the military, there are several others on the lifestyle itself. An example "The Lifestyle : A look at the erotic rites of swingers" written by Terry Gould and published in 1999 by Vintage Canada, explains the history and culture of sharing partners and the fact that this is not a new taboo. He mentions the first of it's kind in the military being pilots who shared wives, because they mostly believed they would not make it home after the war (they would decease). Although military in theme, his book varies from mine in that Down to the Core tells a story of healing through a journey.

 "First Class: Women Join the Ranks of the Naval Academy" by Naval Institute Press in 2013 and written by Sharon Hanley Disher in spoke about the harassment women faced when first joining the military. This makes sense for the time period referenced in the book, however in my book the military now has a zero tolerance policy on sexual assault and harassment and deals with the difficulty overcoming the old ways of thinking as referenced in Sharon's book.  

Paul A. Hansen Ph.D's book "Survivors and Partners: Healing Relationships of Sexual Abuse Survivors published in 2013 by Heron Hill Publishing Company talks about having a healthy relationship after sexual trauma, although his book is references childhood trauma. 

4 publishers interested
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INTRODUCTION

It isn’t often enough that a person is compelled to draw attention to themselves after a degrading event, one as personal as sexual trauma. After all, who really wants to stand up and play a game of “he said” “she said” and let the masses take their pick. Who seems more believable? Who has the better reputation? Friends and family on both sides claiming, “my child is not capable of something like this”. Is he lying? Does she have a hidden motive? Has too much time passed? Was it as bad as I previously thought it was? Or maybe I only feel the need to speak up because I’ve had time to think.

If you’re reading this, and feel a bit confused….well, welcome to the shit show.

My name is Ashley. I will use real names in this book. I will not respect the privacy of those who are offenders specifically because I realize now, more than ever, that I do have a voice. I realize today that all are innocent until proven guilty, however I also realize that my account through this story does not represent the court room. The purpose of my story, if you so wish to read, is an honest account of the confusion and difficulty overcoming a series of events – events that most of us will experience in our lifetime.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center 1 in 5 women will experience being raped. In addition, 1 in 71 men will experience this as well. This makes a grand total of 91% female, 9% male. That makes it 100% a necessity for conversation.

This story is not all bad. There are tainted pages of assault, hurt, and confusion that you can almost smell as you flip through the pages. On the other side is hope, strength, and unity.

If you’re reading this introduction now, you have almost certainly experienced your own struggles and can relate to the relief of victory when you made it to the other side. Like crawling under barbed wire or climbing a wall, you have already shown your strength. Use your voice and show your poise.

Join the fight, warriors. Uncle Sam needs you.


  • Update #1 - Wrapping up! Jan. 19, 2019

    Good Morning friends!

    If you have been waiting for an update - Here it is! 

    We have THREE days left of the campaign before it is ...


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  • Marcus Kruep
    on Dec. 22, 2018, 9:35 p.m.

    Is there anything you can’t do!? Excited to read your book, and to follow you through whatever else you put your mind to!

  • Rickey Terrebonne
    on Dec. 22, 2018, 9:51 p.m.

    I am extremely proud of what you have accomplished and the steps you have made.

  • Leila Vega
    on Jan. 4, 2019, 4:16 a.m.

    I know this will be an amazing book! Future New York’s best author. You’ll see !!