Finding Solace As A Writer

Woman publishes book about her daughter's rape

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For seven days Ann Moody sat through a trial in a Florida courtroom and listened to her daughter and other women testify about being brutally raped and beaten.

The man who raped and almost killed three women will spend the rest of his life in prison and Moody will spend the rest of her life fighting against sexual assault.

"I listened to my daughter and the other victims testify about the horrible things this man did to them, and within months, I started writing the book from what I remembered of the trial," Moody said.

Her book, "Hell in Heaven's House," is self-published, Moody said, because she didn't want to whitewash the truth.

Moody said she didn't want to give her daughter's story over to the experts, that she was compelled to write about the details of her daughter's rape and the aftermath of that crime despite concern from some family members that their name "would be dragged through the mud."

The tears welled up as Moody talked about her daughter's pain, her two young grandchildren's confusion and her son-in-law's enduring strength.

Moody had moved to Payson in 1992, just shortly before she received the late-night phone call from Florida that would change her life forever.

Her 26-year-old daughter was in her car, driving along the road just five minutes from home when she was run off the road by another car. Moody's daughter tried to flag down a passing truck, but it didn't stop. The rest is a nightmare that continues to haunt her.

The man grabbed her and beat her unconscious and she woke up in the back seat of a car with a towel wrapped around her head to prevent her from seeing him. Her teeth had been knocked out and she was repeatedly sexually assaulted and beaten. She was in and out of consciousness.

"He would drive and stop and drive again," Moody said. "He rolled her out of the car into a field and she managed to drag herself to someone's home to ask for help."

Moody learned many of the details of her daughter's sexual assault three years later when the rapist went to trial. He was not taken into custody for 2 1/2 years after the incident and Moody's daughter lived in fear for her family's safety. He had taken her purse with photos of her family and her identification.

The phone call Moody got from her son-in-law had her on a plane to Florida within hours, knowing only that something horrible had happened, but that her daughter was alive.

"This is a story I was personally involved with," Moody said. "This is what happened.

"Through all this madness, I saw that there are some good people out there that care."

Moody's son-in-law now volunteers as a rape crisis counselor.

Her daughter is still recovering. She has nightmares and fears that won't go away. She recently faced those fears and spoke before 30 convicted rapists, telling them how their actions hurt not only the victim, but the victim's family and friends.

"I'll spend the rest of my life fighting against sexual assault," Moody said, "and trying to bring awareness to people.

"I'm not trying to frighten anyone -- I'm just trying to tell them to be cautious. It happened so fast, there was nothing my daughter could have done."

Moody said when she saw the rapist in the courtroom, she experienced an anger that she never knew she had.

"I came from an abusive home, even though my father was a clergyman, and I didn't know until the fifth day of the trial that the man who raped my daughter was the son of a clergyman," she said. "It was like someone knocked the wind out of me."

Moody told the story to a friend, Hans Schuerer, who said that she needed to write the book, that it would help a lot if people knew what happened. Schuerer died last autumn, but Moody fulfilled her promise to him and finished the book by the end of the year.

"Unless someone has lived it, they can't imagine," Moody said. "They always think it happens to someone else. It could have been anyone, anyone who was on the road that night.

"That's why I wrote the book -- it could happen to anyone."

Moody will be taking her story and the book to rape crisis centers in Arizona and Florida and wherever she can. Funds from the sale of the book will go back to printing more books and to Moody's continuing fight against sexual assault.

Copies of "Hell in Heaven's House" are $8, plus $2 postage, and can be ordered by writing to: Ann Moody, P.O. Box 1362, Payson, AZ 85547.

The Ocean Roar
I awake and hear the ocean roar,
My heart cries, "Let my spirit soar."
At the window I see the rising sun,
Hastening to the sea my feet must run.
The prints I leave upon the sand,
Reminds me of the past that's span.
I found a stick upon the sand,
My name I write with stick in hand.
Further down the beach I go,
Must stop to see what lies ahead.
The past has tossed me to and fro,
The future holds the brightest edge.
The seagull flying high,
Lift my spirit to the sky.
The ocean hums the sounds of peace,
It soothes the soul that seeks release.
-- a poem by Ann Moody that appears on the cover of her book, "Hell in Heaven's House"

"My daughter and I would sit on the sand for hours and talk about what happened. We called it 'sand therapy.' The poem came out of those conversations." -- Ann Moody

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