Go back

APSU student Tia Jones discuses overcoming abuse in new book, titled “Come See a Man”

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Austin Peay State University communication student Tia Jones was in Germany, serving her country in the U.S. Army, when her past finally caught up to her.

A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Jones grew up in a self-described broken home. Raised by her mother, a six-year-old Jones found suffering as the victim of sexual assault at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Austin Peay State University communication student Tia Jones was in Germany, serving her country in the U.S. Army, when her past finally caught up to her.

A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Jones grew up in a self-described broken home. Raised by her mother, a six-year-old Jones found suffering as the victim of sexual assault at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend.

Struggling with the physical and emotional burden of her assault, she said she sought help from her mother. But when she needed someone to trust, Jones said all she received was suspicion, blame and denial.

“I grew up being told not to tell anyone (about being the victim of rape),” Jones said. “I felt like I had to tell someone, so I talked to a babysitter I had at the time, and my mother ended up being upset at me that I had told someone my secret.

“Over the course of time, I started to blame myself for what was happening and I grew up thinking that I was the only person who was going through these experiences.”

During her teenage years, she said that internal struggle manifested itself in the form of bad decisions. Looking for healing any way she could, Jones found what she thought were answers in the form of bad relationships, sex and marijuana use. A first attempt at pursuing college was cut short in 2010 when she was unable to afford tuition. But that may have been a blessing in disguise, Jones said, as she began to feel her life was being guided by a higher power.

While she had grown up in a church environment, Jones said she often struggled to understand God’s plan. If there was a higher power who knew why things happened, then Jones wondered what he had in mind for her.

“I broke down and said, ‘I know you’re real, God, so show me you care about me,’” Jones said. “Almost right after that moment, I started experiencing major spiritual things. People were coming up to me and talking to me about personal things that I had never told anyone. That’s when I knew God was listening.”

With returning to college not an option, Jones said she found contentment working an office job. But while Jones, who comes from a military family, said she was happy, her reflections on God’s plan made her feel she was being led towards the armed forces. In 2012, Jones enlisted in the U.S. Army, and eventually find herself stationed in Germany, where distance allowed her to reflect on her journey.

“When I got away from my home and found myself all the way in Germany, that’s when it really hit me that the home I grew up in was not normal and I started to think about what I had gone through,” Jones said.

Returning to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Jones said she reconnected with a military friend, who invited her to visit a bible study group. Resolved to share her story, Jones said opening up allowed her to take another step in the healing process.

 “I was invited by an NCO to go to this bible study, and that night, I just decided to share my story. There were probably 40-50 people there, and I just decided to finally tell other people about what I had gone through.”

Jones’s courage was rewarded, as her story was received well by those in attendance, with multiple people telling her their own stories and offering her encouragement that she was not alone.

“I was blown away…all these years, I grew up thinking I was the only person dealing with (sexual assault) like this,” Jones said. “I realized then that God put me there for that reason, and that I should continue to tell my story and invite others to experience God’s healing power for themselves.”

Now enrolled at APSU, Jones continues to share her story as a speaker and a worship leader at Mile High Church in Clarksville. Last year, she published her memoirs, titled “Come See a Man,” detailing her struggle, as well as her eventual healing and renewed relationship with God.

“I always felt like I’d be an author one day, but I did not know when it would happen for me,” Jones said. “I want people to see Christ for who he really is,” Jones said. “He’s not judgmental; he really cares. And I know that anyone who has dealt with abuse or insecurity or depression can overcome it because I overcame it. That drive is why I wrote this book.”

Jones’ book, “Come See a Man” can be purchased online at www.memoirsoftia.com.