In a recent interview with Christianbook.com, Tracie Peterson, a best-selling and award-winning author of over 60 historical and contemporary novels, discusses her latest book, "What She Left for Me" (Bethany House Publishers).

Christianbook.com:  Was “What She Left for Me” based on a true life experience?

Tracie Peterson:  The book came out of a series of people that I kept coming across; just acquaintances that this issue would come up about in a situation where their husband had been unfaithful and left them for another woman, secretly. The information just came out of nowhere. They had no clue. They did everything right.

There were no traditional finds or symptoms or clues; same way with child molestation. I would hear from these women and the issues would be always the same; either one of two categories:  being in a molestation situation where everybody knew about it or nobody knew about it; a situation where it had been a horrible trial done with a vicious attack on them; or that it was a nightmarish situation for all their lives that haunted them. And then other women who were racked with guilt because they enjoyed what happened. They had no power in it. They felt they were extra loved or this was something extra special and then to find out, no. Then they were consumed by guilt.

I kept finding these similarities and it was just something in talking with my publisher we came to a decision that we wanted to get a book out there where we wanted to wake up the church, especially given that fact that, T.D. Jakes quotes the statistics that one in three women by the age of eighteen has been molested. That’s huge!

The sadder thing still is you have to remember too that if you’re looking at an audience or congregation and one in three women have been molested, then there’s one in three molesters. There’s got to be somebody out there whether it’s in the church or out in society that has molested these women. There’s this huge group of hurting people that we need to wake up and minister to. Not just in infidelity and adultery but also in situations of molestation; both the victim and victimizer need to experience and give forgiveness. All these issues, it’s huge and it’s really ugly and we tend to ignore it.

I think that the postmodern generation is demanding it. They’re tired of the fluffy stories and they’re tired of the "we’re all okay" because we’re not okay. A lot of us are sitting in church with our secret sorrows and our pains and our guilt, and even the church has been telling us, “No, we’re okay. We don’t need to talk about this.”

We need to start getting people educated. If you’ve got one in three girls out there that are being molested, that’s an epidemic proportion that you can’t ignore. You can’t sweep it under the rug and hope it will go away because it’s not.

That’s the sad thing. I heard somebody comment, well, but that’s just the Catholic Church and I wanted to say, “No, this isn’t just the Catholic Church; this is a fallible fallen man. Statistics show it’s prevalent in Protestant churches as well.”

And again, you have to stress the fact that it’s far more common for girls to be molested but boys are molested also. You cannot ignore that either. I’ve even heard women say that they don’t even have little girls, and think this issue doesn’t apply to them. This is a major issue that so many perpetrators do not care about the sex of their victims. We need to push past our discomfort and deal with the issues.