Suzanne R. Krauss seems like your average suburban mom – happy, involved in the community, and incredibly personable. No one would ever guess that her childhood had been one filled with alcoholism, anti-Semitism, and abuse, set in the backdrop of Las Vegas’s underworld and glamorous casinos.
Krauss’ memoir, To Vegas and Back, chronicles her journey as a showgirl’s daughter and details the horrific abuse she and her sister endured over the course of six years. Her courageous memoir shines a light on childhood sexual abuse and ultimately, forgiveness and healing. Simply put – her story beautifully captures the resilience of the human spirit.
We sat down with the Amazon bestselling author to talk more about her past and the lessons she learned along the way.
What was it like to open up so publicly about the painful abuse you endured as child for many years?
I was embarrassed about the abuse I suffered and kept it to myself for more than three decades. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I felt an urgency to share my story. I hoped it would help others who may have endured what I had. It was painful to relive all the horrible details, but I felt a sense of peace when To Vegas and Back was released. I was finally sharing with the world what my family and I had endured under the roof of a monster for six years.
What did your childhood teach you?
I learned that I would never depend on a anyone to provide for me or make me feel less than I am. I learned to speak up and am a much stronger, bolder woman than I may have been. Most importantly, be kind.
Why did you decide to write this book now, so many years later?
What really inspired me? When a friend of mine said in passing, not knowing my history, “Children who come from abusive households cannot life a normal life”. She was right about one thing. My life is not normal. It is now extraordinary. It is filled with love, perspective, family, and friends.
What is one thing you wish the public understood about sexual abuse?
We are living in an enlightened time in history. Although usually perceived as a good thing, with the overabundance of information we have become satiated, even jaded when it comes to stories of domestic and child abuse. There is a continuum of victims daily, weekly, yearly; each of these victims has a story. I wanted to share mine because each time one of these stories is published, someone, somewhere realizes that he/she is not alone. Abuse crosses all lines-socio-economic, racial, religious, ethnic, gender. Perhaps the person next to you at the PTA meeting or Starbucks has a story they don’t feel they have the right, or the courage to tell.
I did not sugarcoat one word of what my family endured in To Vegas and Back. I wanted readers to understand the true meaning of domestic and child abuse.
What message would you like to give to people in an abusive situation?
There are only two words they need to know: Speak up or tell someone. There are options for abuse victims in every city, county and state. No one will ever know if you do not tell someone. From the outside, my childhood home looked happy. No one would have ever guessed my mother was a Las Vegas showgirl who encountered with the mafia, a Ponzi scheme, then married a man who was a child abuser, domestic abuser, anti-semite, gun-owning alcoholic who was torturing my family nightly. None of us ever spoke up. I lost my childhood, because I never spoke up. I thought what was going on in my home was normal. Abuse is anything but normal.
What do you hope this book accomplishes?
I recently was the guest at a book group. One of the women in attendance was a therapist. She told me a client came into her office carrying my book and said, “If she can do it, so can it”. I wept when she told me this. I had no idea how my story would impact others. My wish is that To Vegas and Back will provide victims with hope. That by getting the help they need, they can live happy, successful and productive lives. Whether they were sexually abused once, more than once, or like me, too many times to count – my hope is that they do not to let what robbed them of their past, rob them of their future.
This April 2017, Suzanne Krauss released a limited edition of To Vegas and Back to honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month and support victims of sexual assault. The limited release is branded with the NO MORE logo in an effort to help spread awareness and a portion of the books sales will be donated to support a safe house in Las Vegas that helps women and children who are victims of sexual assault.