The Haunting Photo

This past June, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at a fundraiser benefiting an amazing organization in Montana that provided services for abused, neglected and at risk children, in the FlatHead Valley. This was the very first time I had ever told me story to a large crowd of people. These were not just regular people. These were very, very successful, wealthy people.

As I began to write the speech below, my insides began to get all tied up with emotions. I started going through the small amount of childhood photos I possess and called my mother to help with me with some timeline recall. As the day got closer, I wanted to back out so badly. I pushed through all the negative and embarrassing feelings to give the speech regardless.

This photo above gave me a gut punch of horrid memories……………………………

“Why does one child move through childhood abuse and flourish, while another is unable to break the cycle of abuse?

The Center for Youth Wellness states, high doses of adversity not only affect the child’s brain structure and function, developing immune systems, developing hormonal systems, but can also affect the way DNA is read and transcribed.

Imagine you’re walking in Glacier National Forest and you see a bear. (BAM!) Immediately, your hypothalamus sends a signal to your pituitary, which sends a signal to your adrenal gland that says” Hey, release stress hormones!” Adrenaline! Cortisol! These hormones cause your heart to start to pound, your pulse increases, your pupils dilate and in seconds, your mind and physical body are ready to either fight off the bear or run from the bear. If you are lucky enough to be with Jungle Jack Hanna, let him do the talking.

In all seriousness, those instant fight or flight reactions are wonderful if you’re in front of a bear. What happens though, if we are talking about a child and the bear comes home every day in the form of abuse, neglect, or trauma?

 Their brains react the exact same way. When this response system is activated over and over, and over again, it goes from being adaptive or life-saving, to maladaptive, or health damaging. Children are especially sensitive to this repeated stress activation, because their brains and bodies are still developing.

What is the extent of damage on a child’s brain who lives through years of repeated trauma?

There are so many factors and variables. The bottom line is Children are unable to resolve their trauma.  It is a complex and complicated task even most adults struggle to handle. Repeated trauma, affects the pleasure, reward center of the brain and literally changes the physiology of a child.

What is the likelihood you know an abused child?

* The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

*93% of the time the child knows their abuser, and it is usually a family member or close friend.

Think of 4 young girls that you know. They may be friends of your children or grandchildren, on a school soccer team. Can you think of 6 boys in your extended family, or local school football team?

 This beautiful state of Montana, is no exception to these statistics. In 2016 Montana had 17,311 total referrals for child abuse and neglect, which coincides with the rise in meth use. This has caused an overflow in the current foster care system which among other things, limits the counseling services needed for proper healing and recovery. Which is the reason I was asked to speak to you today.

                                                               My Story

It took a lifetime of adversity to get to where I am today, a happy and purposeful adult. What most people do not know about me is that I am a “one in four”. The terror, that was my childhood, began when I was 7 years old. On the evening after my 2nd brother was born, as my mom and new brother were in the hospital, my father woke me from my top bunk, carried me into my parent’s room, laid me on their bed, and did unspeakable things to me. That first introduction into child abuse was just one of the scariest encounters I had with my father. My young mind did the saving for me that day. My mind basically did a self, shut-down and I became detached from what was happening to me.

After my parents divorced, when I was 8, the abuse became a nightly ritual, unless my father was at sea with the Navy. This also became a punishment for everyday child behavior or slight infraction, like leaving a toy on the floor. This abuse continued for 5 years, until I was brave enough to run away at age 13.  This is a brief recount of my experience.

It was the summer before I turned 9 and I still remember how excited I was.  It was a sunny afternoon, as usual in southern California. By this time, I was well versed in caring for my younger siblings.  I had recently gained two new step-siblings.  While my father was at sea, and my step-mother was out shopping, I was left at home to care for my brothers. Sitting on the floor, with my 2-month-old brother cradled in my crossed legs, my two new brothers sat on either side of me on the floor. My 4th little brother was not where I could care for him.

Watching our favorite kids show, the sound of the house doorbell rang out. I answered and there stood a professionally, well-dressed woman with very beautiful, dark hair.  She introduced herself as a social worker, who was making a new home visit to see my two-new step-brothers. Until that moment, I had never spoken to anyone outside of our church congregation. I never felt I had the ability or right to express my feelings to an adult ever! Yet, I questioned the purpose of a social worker. As she spoke to me about how she helps provide children with happy, safe homes, and families, her voice faded into a parental Charlie Brown sound. Her words became garbled as my heart began to beat out of my chest.

Then it happened.  My first conscious brave moment.  The words came flowing out of my nine-year-old lips. “I need to show you something.” I was shaking with fear, but knew in my heart what was happening to my 4th brother was not right. As I grabbed her warm hand, I walked her to the back, corner bedroom in the house. The room was cramped with three beds and a large dresser. I could see by the look on her face, she was confused at first. Nothing seemed to be wrong. The room was neat and clean.

 I pointed to the, out of place, kitchen chair sitting up against the closet doors.  “If you stand on the chair you can see my brother, living inside the cabinet.”, I said to her. It was actually, a high crawl space type attic about 8 feet from the floor. My brother was 5 years old and had been forced to live on bread and water for months, sleep on a crib mattress and relieve himself in a bucket, while never leaving the overhead closet of the boy’s bedroom.

That evening I found myself entering the child protective services system’s front door, for the first time.  I still vividly remember my first day in the “system”.  In the first 5 hours after arriving at the state group receiving home, I had been separated from all my siblings, had to shower in a bay type facility, was questioned, photographed and had to put on a uniform. After I was provided some food, I was taken to my room. As I sat on my new bed, I quietly cried for a while, but at some point, I began to feel relief.  I thought to myself, I did it! I was brave and did the right thing. Sigh! Then the questions and panic began to build up inside me. Was it that easy to get away? Where will I go now? When will I see my brothers? Will I live here forever? Uhhh!  Will I have to go back home?

Then suddenly, my room door flung open, as a dozen girls living in the dorm rushed into my room. Before I had time to react they pulled me off my bed, threw me to the ground and beat on me. My right hand stood on, my head pulled back by my hair, and my mouth covered by girl’s hand. Terrified does not even begin to describe how I felt.  BAM!! Another traumatic experience, where I walked away feeling unsafe, alone and unable to express my feelings.

The first foster home I was sent to, took 3 of the 5 of us. I was so happy to be living with my blood related brothers again, but it was short lived. A couple of weeks after moving in, I was sent back to the state group home along with my 5-year-old brother. My infant brother stayed. You see the foster couple wanted to adopt a baby, we weren’t babies. I only saw my baby brother one more time after that day.

After some court hearings, my 5-year-old brother and I were sent across the US to live with our mother and her new husband. But this was also short lived, as several months later, at age 10, I was being sexually molested by my step-father.  And by age 12, I found myself living back at my father’s home. The sexual abuse continued, as if I had never left.   At this point in my life, nobody was aware that I had been abused. I had never told anyone. I really, didn’t even know that I was being abused, until I learned the word molestation from the Phil Donahue show. That was the first time in my life, I felt like killing myself.  When I realized, what had been happening to me was not normal, was not what happened to every daughter, I felt embarrassed, disgusted, ashamed, and angry.

At the next evening church service, I confided in a trusted adult. I felt all those same feelings again, as I explained what I had been dealing with for four years. After I told those adults, my father was spoken to by our pastor, and for a couple of months the molesting stopped, the beatings however increased.

There was even a slide lock installed on the inside of my bedroom door.  For the first time, I felt safe in my space, until that last night. The last night I ever lived under the same roof as my father, was the night before he went off to sea, for another 6-month ship tour. I will never forget that traumatic night.

Near the end of my father’s 6-months at sea, I snuck into my step-mother’s dresser drawer and read the last letter my father had sent to her. In this letter, I read that my father was very angry that I never responded to any of his letters. His words to her were, he is going to take care of Carrie when he gets home. Fear gripped every cell in my body as flashbacks of him killing our family dog in front of me, rushed through my memory. Several days later, while my step-mother was verbally abusing me, I snapped. I threatened to call the police and tell them about everything going on in the house. As I ran to the phone hanging on the wall, my step-mother pulled the phone right off and ran out of the house with it. Moments later, I was being escorted to a neighbor’s house where I was lectured for hours regarding the consequences of misbehavior and disrespecting adults. After being told to ask for forgiveness, I was ordered to walk back home. I never did. Instead, I kept walking. I kept walking, leaving all my siblings in that home. I decided to be brave that day, to save my life, and hopefully help my siblings.  At 13, I walked through the night, along a busy highway for hours alone.

After I ran away, I told authorities about the molestation and abuse I had endured. For a couple years, I bounced from various foster homes and group homes without ever feeling like my issues from abuse were addressed. I didn’t even know what my issues were, I just knew I was different from most kids around me. I was left an introverted, damaged, yet hot tempered, emotionally numb child. I did not feel like a real person. I just felt like an object to be used by others for their own pleasures. I had no direction. No ability to handle my emotions. I had no aspirations, goals or dreams beyond just surviving another day.

Then I met Jo. Jo was brave enough to have been a foster mom for over 40 years and I will never forget her. After living in her home for several weeks, closed inside my emotionally numb safety shell, Jo took me to the San Diego Children’s Repertory Theater. At age 16 I found solace in the thespian world. During that year, through learning acting games, warm ups and being involved in playing other characters, I learned life-long skills that changed my life’s direction.   In all my years in the system previously, nobody had made the choice to send me in a direction needed to deal with my very understandable insecurities, violent anger, learning disabilities, promiscuous behavior and phobias. The main concern just seemed to be food and lodging.

 Jo made me feel safe in the way she spoke to me and in her expectations of my behavior. Jo showed me a different, more positive way to conduct my life. Jo introduced me to community volunteerism, taught me to set a formal table, took me to the opera and provided me with a window into options for my future. Unfortunately, her own life issues ended up cutting my time in her home short.  From there, I ended up in three different foster homes, before I turned 18 and went on to my self-imposed train wreck of young adulthood.

However, Jo’s actions provided me an opportunity to experience the skills of acting, which helped me to learn and realize that I could put on different hats in different situations. That I could cope with my feelings by reigning in emotions and shifting my energy. This helped me greatly when I became a mother.

Over my life those acting skills have helped me to move through life as a damaged individual who could cope and seem normal amongst society. But I was and never will be “normal”.

I unfortunately, was never provided any of the amazingly powerful counseling and supportive services that Intermountain can provide to the children here in the Flathead Valley. It took 30 years of just making it the best I could to finally decide to be brave enough to get a degree in psychology. To help myself heal. During my education in psychology, I could analyze my pain and suffering. I was able to understand my broken self and eventually was able to let go and forgive. At age 50, I finally earned my degree and found myself.

Carl Jung said: “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”  It was through my experiences with Jo, and other giving people in the theater, that I was able to choose to become a mother whose children did not know abuse, an Army veteran of 8 years, a first responder, an American Red Cross instructor, a college graduate, small business owner, community volunteer, and health and wellness coach. I believe though that I never met my full potential.  I can stand before you today, not as a victim, but as a passionate advocate for the children who need help in this and in all communities.

 

                                                            Intermountain

I attended this event last year as a guest of the Hanna’s and eventually met some of the children from Intermountain at a barbeque event.  Seeing myself in them, and being a member of this community, I want to do what I can to help them. Which is why I am standing in front of you today.  I believe in the services that the Intermountain organization provides in helping to save children from horrible situations, but also in the skills they work to instill in the children they come across. Skills that could last a lifetime.

For instance, Providence Home, provides a family like group atmosphere while providing stabilization and in house professional treatment and care. Intermountain provides child and family therapy, co-occurring mental and substance abuse counseling, and emotional distress therapy. The Bigfork and Whitefish Day Treatment Programs offers emotional and behavioral counseling services for K-5th grade children. Collaboratively working with families, schools, and communities to build positive relationships – making a difference to help circumvent more restrictive and expensive care in the future.

It took courage to change my life, heart and spirit.  I believe those in this room are courageous, and in fact I believe every single one of us can be a hero to the children in this community and we don’t even need a cape. We just need to be brave enough to have uncomfortable conversations, and to give of our gifts.  

What happened to me was terrible.  I’ve learned bad things do happen, but that doesn’t mean that they need to define me or destroy me. We all have things that happen to us and yes they shape us, they mold us, but they don’t have to define us, because in the end what defines us is how we react and the decisions we choose to make. Life provides us opportunities to overcome suffering and fear…opportunities to be brave. The abused, neglected and traumatized children in the Flathead community can be provided with not only that one adult that makes a difference, like Jo did for me, but a entire team. More than that, they can be provided guidance and a future young adulthood, not filled with the repercussions of their trauma, with the help of services provided by organizations like Intermountain.

I would like to thank you for your attention. The abused and unloved child in me, thanks you on behalf of all the children and families in the Flathead Valley that have been and will be helped by your generous donations and giving.”

…………………..The photo above was taken by my father the morning after he raped me for the first time. This was his “trophy” photo. Moments after this was taken, he packed me and my little bother in the van and we went on visit my newborn brother and my mother in the hospital.

I can still remember how angry, confused, and shocked I felt at that moment. You can see it on my face. Up until then, I was a happy, smiling child. He took that away from me for way too long!! I was angry at my mother because my father had told me to come sleep in their bed that night. He had told me that he was lonely because mommy was at the hospital. So after the rape, I blamed my mother for being gone. Crazy how a young mind deals with trauma. He kicked my mother out of the home several months later and moved our babysitter in, along with her two sons.

Even after reporting the abuse when I ran away at 13 years old, I received NO justice. The judge ruled that I did not have enough evidence. He wanted something in writing or an audio recording. #METOO

Several years later,  my father was arrested and served 1 year in a work camp prison for molesting a 13 year old in his neighborhood. I know there were many others.   #METOOVOTE Fighting to change laws/legislation to protect rape and molestation victims, more than the rapist, will make a difference!!!!

There are so many children in America that need loving, healing homes, foster parents and organizations like Intermountain. If you have the means, talents, love and skills to give, please do so!

These are two photos from that night, still make me smile. The moment I finished my speech EVERYONE stood up for a standing ovation. I was so moved to tears. I felt like I had completely laid my soul out to the venue. I felt an amazing sense of release and lightness. The rest of the evening, people came up to me and thanked me for enlightening them. Since most grew up in loving, nurturing homes, they could not fathom what I had been through.  Most of the crowd had been longtime supporters of Intermountain’s and had attended the annual event for many years. Many speakers over the years gave amazing speeches, but this year was the first time a speaker spoke of their own child abuse story.

I am still so honored to know that my story helped to raise funds that will help others going through what I did. I hope to continue to share my story to benefit the abused youth in America.

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If you would like to give to the Non-profit, Intermountain, here is their information:

Intermountain

500 S. Lamborn

Helena, Montana 59601

1-800-200-9112

Religion Helped my Abusers

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Growing up in my father’s house, church, religion, and private school were the norm.  Ever Sunday in the morning and in the evening, my family was in attendance at the Southern Baptist church a few miles away.  Every Wednesday night we were at night service.  My younger brother and I attended the christian school the same church ran.  On Saturdays, I was usually on the church campus for choir practice, ensemble practice, or sports. In all actuality, that church campus was my safe haven for many years.

When I was on my church campus, I was out of my father’s reach.  I knew at least while I was involved at school or church, he could not molest or beat me.  That being said, I was so confused by the constant conflicting messages coming at me.  Being that I had been molested since the age of 5, I really didn’t know that the things happening in my home were not happening in every child’s home.  I didn’t know it was wrong that my father came into my room every night at midnight and violated my body, then made me get up and go to the bathroom with him afterward, where he cleaned me up and gave me a douche. I did know I did not like it and it humiliated me. I had read through the bible or heard scriptures almost everyday for several years. These conflicting messages made me feel powerless for being a child and a female.

Ephesians 6: 1-4

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians 3:20

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

Exodus 20:12

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Proverbs 1:8-9

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck……………..

Those scriptures were preached not only at church and school, but by my father as he would open the bible up in our home and preach the same messages.  Every sermon in church talked about obeying in some way.  Women to obey their husbands.  Children obey your parents. Obey god.  Obey the words in the bible. Children obey your elders. Trust in god.  God is all knowing, is peace, is love.  Yet, in our home I would watch and listen to my step-mother being punched, kicked and blooded by my father.  I would listen and watch my brothers being punched, kicked and thrown across the room.  Of course, the horrific things happening to me by my father were even more conflicting to me.

1 Corinthians 7:36

If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin.

1 Corinthians 7:1-40

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Timothy 2:15

But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

1 Timothy 2:11

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission

1 Timothy 2:12

I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

Leviticus 12:2b-5

…a woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

1 Corinthians 14:33b-34

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.

Genesis 19:4-8

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom – both young and old – surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

Titus 2:3-5

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

1 Corinthians 14:35

If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything……………….

These were the messages being drilled into my young head almost 7 days a week. Children were to be seen not heard.  In my home, being seen was a detriment.  We were the outlet to the whims of the adults in the home.  My step-mother was jealous of me, as she knew the molestation was happening.  Her way of dealing with it was to treat me as an extra-marital affair, and my little brother suffered at her doing many times I believe because of her jealousy over me.  There was no safe place in our home.  Security only was present to me when I rode my bike or skateboard to the local beach.  I would sit on the jetty for hours dreaming of a life where I had a voice and choice over what happened to my body.

Deuteronomy 22:21

If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. You must purge the evil from among you.

Proverbs 11:16

A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches.

Matthew 7:12

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Deuteronomy 21:10-14

When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her………………..

Our church had many special services and events that brought hundreds to hear the word and repent.  I can recall one service as we all sang Just As I Am………. At 12 years old the feeling of confusion filled every inch of my being.  The sermon among other topics, was geared towards the sin of sex before marriage.  Even at this age I really did not completely understand what sex was, but I did know that I was unclean because of what my father did to me nightly.  Several weeks before this sermon something different had occured in my home.  My father one weekend afternoon told me to come into the bathroom and take a bath with him.  After he cleaned my area, he began to do unspeakable things and as I stood in the tub with him under me, I cried out in my head!  I was so confused, embarrassed and now violated in a new way.  This was the first time I wanted to die.  I felt death, even in hell, was better than what I was living through in life. Of course, I felt I would go to hell, because I was clearly a sinful disobedient child.

The service ending song filled up the gigantic church and I felt a welling up inside to heed the song and request of the man speaking from the pulpit.  Then my body moved from my pew and into the walkway.  As I walked towards the steps under where my pastor stood, I heard the words “Thank you Jesus, for touching the heart of this child.  Lord, forgive her for her sins and make her a vessel for your service.”  As a female elder came to me and prayed with me, the pain and confusion became more entwined.  I was 100% convinced that everything I was going through was my fault, due to my sins….not doing homework, not making my bed, cheating on school tests, not obeying adults, wearing shorts or a top that showed to much skin, and talking back.  After the service, I got into my families van knowing that I was bad. I was 12 years old.

Judges 19:22-29

While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this disgraceful thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don’t do such a disgraceful thing.”

But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel………………..

Before my 13th birthday, I was home alone with my younger siblings.  It was normal for me to be put in charge of their care for hours at a time.  As I switched through the channels on our t.v. one of my siblings began to cry.  I went to provide care and returned to the t.v.  When I returned to the t.v. to continue looking for a cartoon for my siblings to watch, the subject of conversation on the channel the t.v. was tuned to caught my attention.  I sat on the floor in front of the cabinet t.v. and listened.  To this day I don’t remember if the show was The Phil Donahue or The Merv Griffin show, but I know it was one of them…….what caught my attention was the guest’s story.  The female guest was describing the inappropriate relationship her father had with her when she was a child. For the first time in my 12 years I heard the word molestation.  My heart began to beat so loudly in my body that I could hear it inside of my head.  The entire room seemed to close in around me and began to spin.  Embarrassment, disgust, shame, anger, and the feeling of wanting to die filled the space.  I couldn’t catch my breath.  For the first time I had confirmation on the years of feeling what was happening in my home was wrong.  Tears flowing down my face, every possible solution for ending my life began to move through my mind, like a fast forwarding movie.

Several days later, I got the bravery to tell a women in my church. I idealized her. She had hired me a few times to do dishes and clean her home for money I was earning to go to summer camp. I had never met a woman who was so soft spoken, beautiful and kind. At night service I pulled her aside and broke down, telling her that my father was doing things to me that were meant for mommies. She comforted me and for the first time I felt a huge weight had been lifted. My pastor’s wife was brought over and I repeated the story. I went home that night with my family and did not say a word about what I had done. The next day my father was called in to speak with the pastor. When he got home, I suffered greatly. He was angered by my telling, but also because he was fired as the sunday school bus driver.  My soul was crushed. I was so hopeless. The molestation stopped for a short while and my father put a slide lock on the inside of my bedroom door.  The beatings were kicked into high gear to compensate.

The night before my father was to ship out for his next Navy tour, I was abruptly awakened by the sound of a loud bang.  Still groggy, I could tell that my father had used his 250lb body to force my bedroom door open.  He did not come in at first.  As the slide lock laid of the floor, he stood outside the door.  The door was only open enough to see the light from the hallway and the shadow of my father’s large body could barely be seen.  The only sounds that I could hear were the sounds of my father begging and whining.  Like a child, he begged me to let him come in. “Just one more time, please, please.”  “I will buy you a new bike.”  “I will give you money.”  I said nothing.  Frozen stiff in my bed.  It seemed like hours went by and then I must have fallen asleep.  For the first time in all the years of molestation, I came out of my mental comatose state. (A defense mechanism my little brain took on early was to go somewhere else when it was happening).  This time I woke up to find my father’s naked body on top of me.  A superhuman strength took over my body and I was able to throw his huge body off of me.  He flew up and over onto my 3 leveled bedside table.  He hit the table back first then fell on all fours to the floor.  Whining in pain he crawled out of my room like an injured dog.  That was the last night I lived in the same home as my father…………………………..

More about my story, how I got out of that home, and came to be an atheist in future postings.

My goal is to help others by sharing my healing journey and mindset. I am all about total health and happiness.  Please follow me on your favorite social media site @menopausemedic Thx

The blase’ Attitude Surrounding Sexual Assault

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It has been awhile since my last posting. Sharing my story has turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be. I have decided today to talk about the issue surrounding the attitudes that still seem to be present today regarding sexual assault, sexual abuse, and molestation. If you have read my posting, you know I am not a “writer”. I am a survivor of molestation, sexual assault, rape and alike. My voice was ignored when I was younger. Due to some of the same ridiculous attitudes that seem to be present TODAY!!!

What fired me up today was a news article about Hania Aguilar detailing some findings in her autopsy report and the fact that two Robeson deputies were suspended for allowing a backlog of rape information and evidence just sit, which could have jailed her killer before she was attacked.

The fact that perpetrators seem to have more rights and are defended by just about all authorities more than the victim, just angers me to no end. The fact that victims regularly get no justice based on “lack” of evidence puts a light on the fact that the victims come second. As a child that was molested for 8 years by my father, told authorities after I ran away, then stood on the witness stand against my father, my self-worth was shattered when the judge dismissed the case stating I had no evidence. All those years of pain, fear and rape went unpunished. Not to mention my father raped others after me.

IT IS TIME TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! According to hrf (healthreasearchfunding.org):

  1. The number of registered sex offenders in the US is 747,000
  2. 33% are currently under correctional supervision
  3. The average age of a rapist is 31 and 52.2% are white males
  4. An estimated 24% of those serving time for rape and 19% of those serving for sexual assault had been on probation or parole at the time of a repeat assault
  5. Only 2% of the Catholic clergy sexual abusers ever served time, despite over 10,000 victims and over 4,300 victims
  6. Offenders with a previous sex offense conviction have 37% reoffense rate
  7. Rapists repeat at upto 35% rate
  8. Second offenses occur while the offender is living in a supervised community is 60%
  9. It costs $22,000 per year to house a sex offender
  10. 30% of children sexually abused with become offenders as adults
  11. Around 47% of victims are revictimized by their family and or extended family
  12. Only 10% of all sex crimes actually result in criminal conviction
  13. Only 33% of the sex offenses that occur to children between ages 12-19 are ever reported.Only 30% of rapes are ever reported.

That is just a small portion of the information, and it just makes me sick. It seems day after day there are cases where a rape, kidnapping, or sexual assault is perpetrated by someone that has a record or has been accused in the past. The mentality that it happened years ago, such as with people in powerful positions, is a disgrace. The idea that they have accomplished a great deal and are pillars in the community so therefore their word must be taken over the victim, is convenient for the unjust attitude towards victims.

Are there people that are evil and will make false claims…..um yes! That sickens me even more. That is a very small percentage, and those that have been traumatized and victimized are left with the unjust pain. There has to be a change in the way sexual assault and abuse is viewed in the justice system.  I applaud the #metoo movement and #timesup for shining a light on the epidemic, but there is still so much that must be changed.

Medical and psychological technologies have come along way since my case back in 1980. I am certain that psychological testing, and deeper investigations could be done to provide validity to victims accounts. In addition determine the psyche of the accused. I think about Jaycee Dugard and her rapist/kidnapper. He had a record and was under a judicial eye. For the victims that are lucky enough to see justice, why isn’t the punishment more severe? I think of Steven Stayner. His rapist/kidnapper only received 7 years . The same amount of years that poor boy was held captive and repeatedly raped. Just ridiculous!!! The courts should allow and take into account any and all previous convictions or reports of rape, molestation, or sexual assault. That information should NEVER be inadmissible. Changes in the justice system must change now!

In my case, the judge stated that I needed something in writing or a recording of the molestation. WHAT? It was all I could do to run away with the clothes on my back when I was 13 years old. I can’t even imagine the amount of children my father raped and molested over the years, I’m positive it was hundreds. The only time he was convicted (that I know of) was around the time I was 18 years old. A 13 year old friend of my younger brother started to write the sexual encounters in her diary and her mother came across the information. Even with the proof in writing and her testimony, my father served 1 year in Chino (a work prison where he made a paycheck).

The photo above is one of my little brothers and me. I was already being molested at the time. Of course, I had NO idea that what was happening to me was not normal. I lived in a “Christian” home. The bible was shoved down our throats and as good “Christian” children we were told to obey our elders, not speak up or question. My father for a time used the molestation as a punishment. Just image being 7 years old and you forget to put your toys away, so you get raped for it. There is so much more to my story that I will continue to share in following postings. Today I just felt the need to vent. #victimsmatter

No Justice

Well it has been a long while……….Living 5 1/2 months of the year in a cabin with no ability to have wifi, makes having and keeping a online presence difficult. I guess I should have looked at my last post before starting this one, but hell, I live off the cuff…so lets do this!

The LIVE televised hearings brought out SOOOOOO many emotions up from within me. A change needs to happen in the US and the segregated views present that many males seem to still have regarding females.

The comments rolling in during the hearings broke my heart. The idea that something that happened while in a person’s teens should be forgiven or forgotten 39 years later, boggles my sense of humanity.

To be perfectly honest, I have had 0 faith/trust (elders) in the justice system since age 5 and I’m 51 currently. The justice system has failed several of my siblings, other victims of my abusers, and me. Retrospectively, there were several opportunities when adults and or authorities could have saved me from more years of abuse, but they failed.

At the age of 8, I alerted a social worker that my 5 year old brother had been forced to live in a crawl space for months. given only bread a water once a day and having to relieve himself in a bucket. Police arrived at our home in Imperial Beach, California in what seemed like seconds. The whole thing must have just been a whirl wind for me, as I have only pieces of memory. Ms Katz was her name, the social worker. She was not even at the house to look in on me or my brother. My two new step-brothers had been abused by their birth father and Ms. Katz was on an unannounced visit that day.

My father was on a Navy ship tour in the Philippines and my step-mother had left the house only 30 minutes prior for some grocery shopping. As per usual I was charged with sibling care. At that time their were 5 children in the home, of course I was the eldest. The youngest was my little JoJo, only a few months old. The door bell rang and I prepared the scripted response beaten into my head by my father. Opening the door with my foot placed strategically to stop the door if pushed from the other side, I gazed at the well put together women in front of me.

I explained that my step-mom had gone down to the local store and would be back in moments. That of course was not the case. She had gone to the base to purchase food from the commissary and that would mean she would be gone for several hours. Ms. Katz had beautiful dark brown hair, that shined like glass. Behind her on the street curb sat her parked car. I imagined it was a fast car, because it was small with a sunroof (or moon roof) and the paint color was black or very dark blue.

At some point during our brief conversation the words she was speaking began to sound like the adults in the peanut’s cartoons. The only clear sounds I heard were the pounding of my heart and something telling me to show her Mikey. Fear of death or torture at my father’s hands, filled my mind. Before I could stop them the words spilled over my tongue, ” can I show you something?” I asked. The police arrived and took all my younger siblings away.

As I sat in the front seat of her car on the way to my first visit to the San Diego Children’s Receiving Home in HillCrest California. I felt like I was in a space ship, not a car. The seat was so deep, I could barely see out the window. So many controls and buttons. I had no idea what I was getting ready to endure, just as I thought I was safe………To Be Continued………..cjc

 

My goal is to help others by sharing my healing journey and mindset. I am all about total health and happiness. Please follow me on your favorite social media site @menopausemedic Thx