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Domestic Violence Is Not a Joke: Shirley Watral’s New Book, ‘Heels to Holster’

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I can’t count how many times I have taken the time to write out a thoughtful response to something that truly bothered me or that struck a chord with me … and then just quickly deleted it. I would tell myself, “No, it’s not worth getting involved. Leave it alone. Just move on!” And to be honest, I believe a lot of us would be better off if we treated the majority of unsettling memes, comments, emails and social media posts with this “just move on” philosophy. However, once in a while, I believe something just needs to be said. And that’s why, in a most unusual fashion, I am responding to a marketing tactic that just doesn’t sit right with me. At all.

You see, I have a friend who approached me at the 2020 SHOT Show, excited and anxious to share the news of her new book and its upcoming release. She gave me a large postcard with some details. I tucked it away in my backpack, making a mental note to add her book to my reading list. So, when she reached out to me on Facebook a few weeks ago, ready to announce that her book was finally ready to launch, I couldn’t have been more excited for her! And it’s been a pleasure to watch a host of kindhearted shares and likes help Shirley Watral’s Heels to Holster book make sales and gain attention.

Bad Publicity

But not all attention — even if the intent was authentic (and hopefully meant for good) — is appreciated. And in this particular case, the unwanted attention comes in the form of an insulting and degrading line from an email subject line regarding Shirley’s new book. And, honestly, I was quite shocked and disgusted to read this very insensitive and inappropriate email announcement. It states: “Order This Book for Your Wife or Girlfriend — Unless you beat her, then it’s probably a bad idea.”

I’ll try to keep my response simple and direct: Domestic violence is not a joke.

Shirley Watral is a friend of mine. Her book is about surviving domestic abuse. And abuse is not a joke — ever. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner every year. And for the dignity and respect of all those who have experienced the mental, emotional and/or physical anguish, this subject should be treated with the utmost caution and respect. The wounds and the scars are very real and very painful, even for those who have been able to triumph over their personal terror.

Good Publicity

For those who are curious about Shirley and her story, here is a message from her, sharing her heart and her mission to help others who have suffered:

“In [Heels to Holster], I tell how I survived an abusive relationship and learned to thrive in the aftermath. I have become my own first responder. Domestic abuse is prevalent in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that one in four women will be physically abused by an intimate partner at some point in [her life]. If I can get a ‘Best Seller’ status, it will help get the book into the hands of women who can benefit from it. … Please help me get my story into the hands of these women.”

I hope you can support Shirley, domestic violence survivors and all those on their journey to recovery … even if it’s just remembering to be mindful, helpful and understanding with your words.


About Beth Alcazar

Boasting several training certifications including TWAW, SIG Sauer Academy, ALICE Institute and I.C.E. Training, Beth Alcazar is enthusiastic about safe and responsible firearms ownership. She has nearly two decades in the firearms industry and is a Certified Training Instructor and Senior Training Counselor for the USCCA and Training Counselor, Chief Range Safety Officer and Certified Instructor for the NRA. The associate editor of Concealed Carry Magazine, Beth also uses her experience and degrees in language arts, education and communication management to author Women’s Handgun & Self-Defense Fundamentals.

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