Diamond In The Dark


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The Daily Beast (Women’s Channel) - Excerpt

Conversations Live with Cyrus Webb (1.1 million listeners) “Diamond in the Dark was voted one of the Top 50 Nonfiction Books in Conversations Live Bookclub” – Interview.

WSRE - Conversations with Jeff Weeks - TV Interview

Readers Entertainment Radio (Online global network 2.6 million listeners) – Interview

W3 Sidecar - Q&A

Authors Corner with Neil Haley - Interview

* Pensacola Magazine - Review

Independent Florida Sun (Op-ed)

Praise For Phyllis Hain’s Diamond in the Dark

“I received the book and truth be told, I opened it in the car after driving into my driveway. An hour and a half later, I was still in the car, still reading. I could not put it down! Phyllis Hain is a truly remarkable woman, and living proof that resilience and optimism work! I knew Phyllis first as a strong victim’s advocate, but until this book, I had no idea that her determination was based on a lifetime of personal experiences. I am amazed that she could go into, and stay in, the business of helping others through the same sorts of adversity that she faced, but I guess it’s like vets, who only feel safe talking to other vets. So thank you, Phyllis Hain, for writing this book, and thank you for your service to the helpless people who desperately needed your advocacy. I am grateful that you’re sharing your experiences and wisdom with us. I can only hope that this blurb will do justice to your wonderful, riveting book.’ Not only is it an exciting story, but it should be a powerful, positive example to people facing almost any kind of adversity.”

―Brigadier General  Rhonda Cornum, USA, MC (Ret) , author of She Went to War; Onetime training leader for the Army’s “Learned Resilience” program,; and Former Commander of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, operated by the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense, as the largest military hospital outside of the continental U.S.

“Phyllis Brown Hain's story shocks, challenges, and engages the reader. It’s her hardball account of the complexities of violence against women, its profound and traumatic impact on them, and their often long journey to a place of healing. Ultimately, hers is a story of hope and even promise that there is a way out―that women are able to break the cycle.”                                                         

―Niki Fiedler, LCSW, Former Family Advocacy Representative, Fleet & Family Support Center

Diamond in the Dark is the memoir of Phyllis Hain, who survived a very difficult life to eventually become a victim advocate and then sexual assault response coordinator at Pensacola.  Her story is strong testimony to human resilience, eventual growth even in the face of adversity, and the critical value of concerned and loving support from others.  It is also testimony to the long-lasting impacts of abuse.  Her story is a mixture of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse starting in early childhood and then continuing, especially after pregnancy and marriage as a teen.  Her two worst abusers were her father (brain-injured as a Marine at Saipan) and her young first husband. The book is not an easy read . . .   but it  is engaging, and I progressively found myself eager to see how it ended.  I also found myself having vague personal memories of the news stories and Navy settings in the book. Throughout the book, Ms. Hain seems much more focused on the effects of emotional (threatened with death many times) and physical abuse than on sexual assaults.  She mentions episodes of sexual molestation as a child in a few buried sentences that I re-read several times to see if had missed something.  Her much-later rape at home by a stranger gets similar short-shrift and seems in itself not to have had much impact on her.  After finishing the book and some reflection, I was left with several thoughts.  My ‘provider’ side was inspired by her story of resilience, growth (with support), and eventual health.  In the end, I found the book valuable, and I’d recommend it to anyone engaged in supporting victims of domestic or sexual abuse.”

―Paul Garst MD, MPH, Deputy Director, Department of the Navy Sexual Assault and Prevention Office (DON-SAPRO)

“Many times around 2 p.m., before I take my afternoon nap (I'm 78), I like to read a book to help me relax and go to sleep. I tried this book several times. It didn't work. In fact, the exciting chapters ruined any chance of a nap. I’m a friend of Phyllis Hain and, after reading this book and learning what her earlier life was like, I’m amazed at how upbeat, happy, fun-loving, generous, accomplished, and resilient she is. This must be due to her unrelenting persistence, and those brief periods of help from loving family members and her good and brave friends. I also should say that I’m from this area. Through my father's family and then my father, I’ve known the true-life characters Phyllis presents. She is right on in her descriptions and characterizations. Her book is very readable and truly interesting. Each and every paragraph is interesting and always leads you to look at the next.  There are no dull spots―it’s all exciting! In sum, Diamond in the Dark is not only a great book, but, through the artful use of story-telling, the best book I’ve ever read that deals with the very tough subject of child- and spouse-abuse.”

―Dr. Henry Payne, Retired OB-GYN (5,000-plus babies delivered),  Pensacola, FL

“Phyllis and I grew up three houses away from each other, beginning in the early sixties. As kids, we played at each other’s house all the time and went to school together until Phyllis ran away at sixteen to get married. There’s a saying that you can know someone without ever really knowing her. That rang loud and clear when I read Phyllis’s book. I could not believe that someone I grew up with had lived such a different life than the one I’d perceived. Never having lived with abuse as a child or as an adult kept me turning the pages.To know the abuse continued after her marriage to JJ was awfully sad. But on the other hand, I was exceptionally proud of her for being resourceful and determined to better not only her own life, but also the lives of many others. Coming out of the dark through this book, she can now truly shine like the diamond she is.”

―Belinda Thomas Ard, Pensacola, FL

“I have known Phyllis Hain in a professional capacity for almost three years.  Her book is an incredible memoir – it is honest, it is compelling, and it reads like a good murder mystery!  But, to anyone working in the field of child protection and advocacy, the book means so much more. Woven in between the engaging narrative is the story of a victim finding her voice; of a person reflecting on her experiences and realizing the impact a childhood of victimization can have.  Phyllis’s life, as described in Diamond in the Dark, reads like a textbook description of abuse left untreated – the reliance on male attention to compensate for living through family violence at an early age, teen pregnancy, unhealthy relationships, and the pattern of keeping it all in… Thankfully, Phyllis chose a career that helped her to understand and reflect on where she had come from and now, where she can go.”

―Stacey Kostevicki, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Kid's House, Inc., whose mission is to facilitate the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse and neglect and promote child abuse prevention awareness through community education

“If you’re trying to break free from an abusive relationship, and to start a new, healthy one, you should give serious consideration to reading Diamond in the Dark. I’ve just finished it and have already recommended it to several women who’ve recently experienced domestic abuse. Diamond, though, is more than a story about Phyllis Hain, a woman recovering from an abusive relationship. It’s a story of a woman’s lifelong voyage of self-discovery―an intriguing story of a girl born and raised in humble surroundings in the Deep South in the years following World War II. Her father, who was physically and spiritually damaged by war, turned his family’s life upside down time after time with his unpredictable episodes of rage and violence. Somehow, Phyllis learned to survive in the turmoil of her family. She grew into a lovely young woman who married quickly and badly, like so many young women do when they are seeking an escape. Her marriage quickly turned into a sad story of a young wife and mother who continually tried to cope with a narcissistic and violent man whose selfishness knew few limits. When Phyllis eventually left her abusive husband, she started on a journey that’s a testament to the power of hope and the durability of faith. Despite her experiences with men in her early life, Phyllis continued to look for love and belongingness and never stopped believing it possible for a man and a woman to live together in a loving, mutually supportive relationship. She also began working for the Navy in an era when the armed forces were dominated by men who were less than respectful to women. The Tailhook mentality was still predominant in the Navy, and despite being in a system that held women down, Phyllis eventually became accepted and a trusted member of the Navy human resources team. She grew as a person, finishing college and gradually empowering herself through her work and accomplishments. Eventually, Phyllis became a well-respected counselor to thousands of abused women in the Navy community in Pensacola, using her own life experiences, her deep sense of compassion for others, and her indomitable spirit to help others heal and grow. Phyllis had discovered that, if you live a life that reflects your true nature and capabilities, you will flourish and be happy. Diamond in the Dark is her inspirational struggle towards becoming that whole, healthy person.”

David Dean, Ed.D., HSPP, Psychologist   

“I could barely put this book down. I spent sleepless nights after reading each morning, and until all hours of each night. I’m still amazed that Phyllis managed to escape with her life. So many women do not, and it’s sad beyond belief that they go through similar lives, yet do not fare so well in the long run. Some even lose their lives in the process. I can only hope, as I’m sure the author does, that women now going through abuse will find the courage to disengage and leave. It’s so hard to do. But then, when you’re so miserable, even death may be a better alternative than staying in the abuse. Who’s to say?  I’m so glad that, after enduring all that Phyllis did, she now has such happiness! Very few women would have the memory or the fortitude to write so well about all the events in their past, so, for writing this terrific book, I commend you, Phyllis, more than you could ever know!”

― Judene Cook, Hoodsport, WA, Boeing Information Technology (IT) Project Manager for Electronic Commerce (RET)

“Phyllis Brown Hain has written with depth, passion, and personal and professional insights about the multifaceted issue of abuse and its horrific and wide impact. While it’s basically her story, Diamond in the Dark has a strong suit to build on: she establishes her foundation for growth and her capacity to deal with the aftermath, both on her own behalf and then on behalf of others. Her candid personal discussions of circumstances and situations are also helpful in revealing, and thus better understanding, the abuser, including those found in a military/veteran setting.”

― Alice Booher, Esq., Washington, DC   

Diamond in the Dark was a great, captivating memoir. From the beginning, I found myself engrossed in the life of the narrator, and grew increasingly concerned for her well-being. Not only were these recollections entertaining to read, but there can be no doubt about their immense usefulness for abuse victims. Whether it is mental, physical, or sexual abuse, Diamond in the Dark relates to them all. Reading Diamond in the Dark can help many people to heal, or even help abuse victims to speak up. While I have no experience with abuse, this book certainly sheds light on a problem that is never really solved. Its ending included a great call to action that makes the solutions and prevention methods known, so that anyone can do their part to help.”

―Vincent Dajani, Towson, MD

“I was not aware of the abuse Phyllis suffered as a child because, in the early sixties, those were things that weren't talked about or acknowledged. Even when she told me her father had beaten her, it didn't register because that was not comprehendible to me at that young age.  Phyllis and I have been friends for many years, and while I was aware of some of the abuse with JJ. I thought she had escaped that life when she divorced him, only to find herself in the same situation again. So when I learned that Phyllis had written a book, I was very excited and could hardly wait to read it. Although I was already aware of some of the events she described, I couldn't put the book down. It held my interest from page one.  I would have found the book interesting even if I had not known her. I am so very proud of Phyllis that she could overcome the abuse and come out on top.”

― Dale O'Daniel, former employee, AT&T

“On the plane-ride back from Europe, I read the book in one sitting. Partly fueled by my own current family drama on the other side of the Atlantic, my response was very emotional. Phyllis Hain is a wonderful, smart, strong woman who’s so very courageous for writing this memoir for herself and others. I was drawn into her world―the time and place―and felt fully immersed in the story. Diamond in the Dark is not just a timely memoir. It’s a slice of American history, and a slice of the human condition, and therefore will not only appeal to female readers, but to anyone who has ever tasted and braved life's challenges, for packed into it is a treasure trove of emotional and psychological wisdom.”

Julia Drake, Topanga, CA

“Phyllis Brown Hain’s Diamond in the Dark gripped me and wouldn’t let me go until I finished it and closed the cover. At times, it was terrifying, and frankly I didn’t want to read another word, but I found I could not put it down. At times, it took my breath away! The topic hits way too many of us square in our hearts, reliving hurt and remembering the shame. No one wants to admit to suffering abuse, and I admire Phyllis for having the courage to bare her soul. I could never be so brave. This is a great read, page after page. That a murder mystery unfolds within its pages only makes it that much more compelling. I never knew of Phyllis’ background, but admire and respect her even more since reading her life story. She went through a hell created by those who ‘loved her,’ and she was resilient enough to come out the other side as the beautiful, caring woman I know her to be. It’s impossible to quantify the number of lives she helped through her DoD service. In a world where we try to keep our ugliest secrets hidden, she’s a survivor in the truest sense of the word.  Thanks for the light!”  

― Kay West, Robert E. Mitchell Center for Prisoner of War Studies

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