Abuse survivor pens book

Auburn resident Louise Schnur spent 18 years writing autobiographical piece
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal features editor
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Louise Schnur’s book has been a long time coming. It took Schnur 18 years to work through the horrible memories of enduring domestic violence she documents in “From Darkness to Light: An Autobiography of a Battered Woman.” “In starting to write the book I was bringing up the past, and it was very painful, and I’d have to push it away,” Schnur, an Auburn resident, said Monday. A bit of divine intervention gave Schnur the boost she needed to finish writing the book. “One night God came to me. He says, ‘You must write the book,’” Schnur said. “I had moments when I’d start crying and I’d push it away, but the next day I’d pick it back up again. The writing of the book was very healing for me. It didn’t become easy, because of the conversation with God, but it gave me the motivation to do it.” Schnur’s father left her mother when Schnur was 7. She was the oldest of four children, and she and her brother, the second-oldest sibling, took the brunt of the abuse by their mother growing up. The abuse didn’t stop, but changed hands, once Schnur grew up. “I married my first abuser 10 days after my 17th birthday,” Schnur said. Schnur endured the physical and emotional abuse from her first husband before leaving him, taking their two young children with her. Schnur divorced her first husband, who threatened to kill her. She remained single for a couple years before meeting and marrying her second husband. “From the very beginning he was controlling, abusive to me,” Schnur said. “He kept me very much hidden.” Schnur left her second husband after five years of abuse. She stayed with her third husband, also abusive, for eight years before she’d had enough. “I had to question myself — why do I keep doing this?” she said. “Then I realized abuse was all I knew.” Schnur, 80, has been married to her fourth husband, Milton Schnur, for 38 years. “I’ve never been so happy in all my life,” she said. Schnur said the darkness in her book’s title represents her history of abuse, “and Milt is the light.” Schnur published “From Darkness to Light” with the help of Dean Wood at Advantage Print Marketing and More in Auburn. The book costs $26.95. “I don’t shy away from it and I’m not embarrassed by it,” Schnur said about the book. “I feel good about it.” The book is just one way Schnur has shared her story in hopes of helping victims of abuse. “I was able to get away from the abusive relationships,” she said. “I felt, within myself, if I survived all that I have survived, there has to be a reason.” She has served as a survivor speaker for WEAVE Inc., which provides crisis intervention services for the survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in Sacramento County. “Louise was an integral part of WEAVE’s ‘Break the Silence on Domestic Violence’ campaign and allowed us to use her story and her image to inspire the community to change,” said Beth Hassett, executive director. “When strong women like Louise are willing to share their experiences it encourages other victims to leave their abusive relationships and puts a face on this terrible crime. Louise is very brave to revisit the abuse in her past. I hope that her strength will inspire others to live a life free from violence.” Schnur recently donated a copy of her book to PEACE for Families. Michelle Coleman, executive director, looks forward to reading it. “If someone can share their story about how they were abused and came out on the other end, then women and men who are in abusive relationships can see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Coleman said. “I’m happy to see that she came out of the darkness and said, that isn’t my life, it is no longer.” __________ Book signing What: Louise Schnur will sign copies of her book “From Darkness to Light: An Autobiography of a Battered Woman” When: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 Where: Multipurpose Senior Center, 11577 E Ave., Auburn