Stacey M. Kananen

Thoughts on my upcoming book …

fearcoverfinalWell, it is hard to believe, but after three long years the book that I co-authored with Lisa Bonnice will be released in June. Fear of Our Father was a project that took many different directions before it ended up as a final product. First, the title was Sink or Swim but that was changed by the publisher. Then, it took many long interviews followed by many hours of therapy for the book to unfold. To say that it was a labor of love would be inaccurate, but it is a labor that I am proud of.

While this book tells my life story of abuse, the murder of my parents, my trial, and being found not guilty, it is meant to show people that no matter what happens in your life you can survive. The road to healing is hard and long, I am still in therapy, but you can work towards healing at your pace. The book and my quest to try to change the way people respond about abuse has lead me to interact with many advocates, especially on the internet. They are much further along with their healing, but have shown me that I can let my childhood pain be put to good use.

I was saddened when the title was changed because I felt that the book’s message would be tainted. However, as the book progressed, I realized that the title doesn’t change the story we are telling–one of horrific abuse to an entire family and of my survival. We weren’t aiming to be published in the “true crime” genre but, technically, that’s what it is. I hope that the purpose of the story– to try to help abuse survivors, to show them they can make it through, no matter what–is not lost.

I started this book with Lisa to open people’s eyes. My therapist says I have a story to share that could help others. I still am hoping that I can accomplish this. I want to see the SOL Center flourish and become a safe haven to help the abused and to assist in the change of the abusers. I am proud that we finished this project and that it will be released in June 2013. I am hopeful that it will make many people realize that no one ever really knows what goes on behind the closed doors of a home. Fear of our Father is my attempt to change the way people think about child abuse, domestic violence and look for those silent cries for help.

I hold out a special place in my heart that this book will find its way to my sister and her children, so that they can learn who the real me is, not the picture in their heads put there from my arrest and my trial. May they realize that abuse has harmed us all, and we all have much to heal from. To my brother, who is now in prison, may he know that I am sorry I never realized just how much pain he was experiencing from his childhood, and how I wish I could have seen it and gotten him help.

Last, but certainly not least, may my mom–from where she is–be proud of me for taking this step. May she reach into our hearts and help us find the peace she finally has from the abuse. It is my wish, Mom, that this project gives your difficult life and tragic death new meaning, and that people will be helped in your honor. Happy Mother’s Day.

The book Fear of Our Father is being released June 4, 2013 by Penguin Group Berkley Books. Please take the time to read it, and if you feel moved please reach out to join or assist the SOL Center get off the ground.

Stacey M. Kananen
Advocate, Author, Abuse survivor
Co-founder of Spectrum of Light Transformation Center (formerly called Amnesty From Abuse)

Stacey Kananen’s father violently and sexually abused his entire family. He vanished in 1988 and 15 years later his wife went missing. Stacey’s brother had killed both parents. Stacey cooperated as a witness until he told police that she helped him with the crimes. She was arrested and her trial, which aired on CNN’s In Session, ended with a not guilty verdict after her attorney proved that she had been railroaded.

Now that her personal life is no longer private, Stacey is using her story to make waves. She and co-author Lisa Bonnice have written her life story, Fear of Our Father, to be published by Berkley Books in June 2013. They created the Spectrum of Light Transformation Center program to address the dynamic that stops families from asking for help: fear, shame and hopelessness. She states, “Most people feel that abusers should be punished and I agree, if they are as abusive as my father was. However, some people don’t want to abuse others but that is all they know. For them to have a nonjudgmental opportunity to heal and change, I feel, is tantamount to ending the cycle of abuse.”

Fear of Our Father – Berkley Books, 2013

Media Experience
Emmy nominated BBC Documentary: America’s Child Death Shame

Investigation Discovery series Catch My Killer — episode title “The Dearly Departed”

Tampa Bay Times article: Hudson woman finds new life after years of abuse, allegations of murder



13 thoughts on “Thoughts on my upcoming book …

  1. Stacey, your courage is inspiring and heartening. I have watched your story unfold since the trial, and you have been a beacon of loving, honest dignity. You have already blessed people you don’t know and never will know by choosing to tell your story. I know many more will find their power because of your courage. May you feel every blessing you bestow.

    Posted by Curtis H. Folts | May 13, 2013, 1:04 am
  2. Stunning!

    Very well done.

    Posted by Jeff Swiney | May 13, 2013, 2:29 am
  3. Reblogged this on Sheva's Cross of Change Blog and commented:
    powerful to read even this intro, brave step to offer help to people who only know how to abuse and wish to stop, and obviously dependent on degree of abuse, it’s lovely to read that Stacy got so much inspiration from others further ahead, along her path towards healing, as I did, and get told by many how they have been helped by me and others, and gone on to help more, that is beautiful and reassuring to me…………

    Posted by crossofchangeorg | May 13, 2013, 2:30 am
  4. Stacey, I have never had any therapy, but I think you will never get over the abuse. I was mentally controlled and sexually compromised by a friend. He was 45 and I was 19. No one ever understood the agony I went through during the year and a half that I endured this. They blamed me for not doing something to stop it. I am now 67 and still relive the pain. He had two young daughters who ended up with miserable lives because he had an accident and died leaving them without a father. I talked briefly with one of the daughters a couple of years ago and she blamed me for taking her father’s time from her. She does not understand how controlling a man can be over a young girl. When something like your story comes up, it causes me to relive those awful memories again. Just when you think you have pushed it aside, something comes along to bring it up again.

    Posted by Betty B | May 19, 2013, 2:32 am
    • Betty, I am sorry so long before the response. I agree with you, the abuse always stays with you. I am grateful though that with the work of my therapist I have begun to let go of some of the pain and begun the healing. I hope that as the days go by your memories subside and you can find peace.

      Posted by Stacey M. Kananen | July 7, 2013, 1:20 am
  5. Hi ,ok. this is hard. i went through the same thing you did till my stepmother finally decided to come home one nightand he had me in the dining room corner kicking me with his boots on calling me cathy.of course she always went back to him or let him move back in.Neither one of them were hardly ever home but when they decided to come home we all hid.I always hid in the closet.My step brother’s got sent to there real father because my father tried to drown them iin dishwater because he found a spot on a plate.I am 42 now and i am on anti-depressants,anti anxiety,maranol,you name it i’ve been on it.I tried to kill myself when i was 9 and i overheard the doctor tell them that i more than likely will never be able to have a baby.He had a love for hookers and decided to share with me.And that is just the first 10 years the time.that don’t include include finding out that the woman that gave birth to me was still alive.The couple of years on the streets. in which i can tell you 90% of men don’t care how old you are as long as they know that they can get away with it.Look i have been to therapy i’ve been in 2 mental hospitals.And i am so desperate and alone and people.bitch and moan over the stupidest things.No one understands the humiliation,the degradation.everything.This is only part of this mess.You are the closest person that i’ve ever seen that has experienced the same horrors i did. I am not religious so please do give me that god thing.I feel like i am going to self destruct at any second every day.I really need helpif you have any advice please help.not that mumbo,jumbo,crap that trerapists try to stick in your head.And the religious thing went out the door when i was thrown in a ditch after bein gang raped by 5 mexicans when i was on the street and that night alone i am lucky i am alive. If you have any way you can think of,i need help bad.And ya know what i really hope you don’t hold hard feelings towards your brother.i can totally understand the way he felt.I’m sorry.

    Posted by Sonja Rabehl | May 31, 2013, 9:14 am
    • Sonja, I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond. Sometimes life gets in my way. I too am not overly religious, and I sometimes wonder how a God can let things like this happen to children. I was very saddened to read your comment, as I too struggle with feelings of depression and despair. I am sorry that you don’t agree with therapy—- for me it is what worked. I feel that you should try other therapists until you find one that is listening to you. I have a wonderful therapist. I don’t talk to my brother, but I still love him. It is a confusing part of the whole story. I am truly sorry that you lived the life you did, and I get not wanting to be struggling with the hurt and the memories any more. Please don’t take my saying to think about getting a therapist that you trust as a cop out, my therapist has really been a blessing to me. I hope that you find some peace—- I am still working on mine everyday.

      Posted by Stacey M. Kananen | July 7, 2013, 1:12 am
  6. By the way you are a true warrior in my book.Thank you for letting me know i am not alone.

    Posted by Sonja Rabehl | May 31, 2013, 9:17 am

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