Children who are subject to abuse of any sort often look for help outside of the family in their quest for recovery. Often abandoned emotionally and bruised physically, they cannot find solace within the family unit which was often responsible for the abuse in the first place. The following quote says much about why children turn to a “higher power” in their search for inspiration.
So, I was thinking about Father's day, which I really loathe for me. I wondered if I would discuss all the men my mother had married. I wondered if I would discuss all sorts of things that would really not build anyone up. I came up with another plan. A better plan, at that.
There are three men in my life who have shown me what a real daddy is supposed to be like.
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As the attention in our country continues to circle around Mental Illness our media has increased their reporting on these issues. This morning my local news, KMOV News 4 Awake Reporter Laura Hettiger provided such a report. In her most excellent talent, she shared the St. Louis County Police Department’s actions to develop a special team; Crisis Intervention Team. This details at least one officer on every shift in St. Louis County is undergoing a special training course directly related to defusing a situation they respond to that involves a person with mental illness.
The C.I.T. program provides direct training for intervention to communicate and talk with a person to get them help. This was actually influenced by the escalation of shootings and such occurring in our area. The officers are trained on how to talk with the person in an attempt to calm them and prevent escalation into a more serious or deadly act of violence. The person is then taken to area hospitals where they can be seen and treated before a determination is made. Truly I think this is a wonderful step in preventing the outbreak of serious crimes as our warmer months begin and the tempers escalate into something much more dangerous. As many advocates & centers are aware, the heat has a very adverse reaction on tempers especially within our own families.
I’ve done a few write ups about mental illness and the direct relation to abuse or violence. There is more and more data being shared about mental health and the correlation with these forms of direct traumatic personal violations. Since I suffer with some of the mental health problems myself; P.T.S.D., Generalized Anxiety, and off and on Depression; I wanted to address this once again. I also personally know a few people who were perfectly fine until traumatic sexual assault or abuse was inflicted and now they suffer with some of these same illnesses, but also a few others have gone into extreme cases where Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Clinical Depression have been diagnosed a few months or even a few years after the attack.
The National Institute of Mental Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention both have studies on this topic abuse and violence directly impact our brain function and the trauma of survivors. The recent attention on mental health has prompted new studies to begin by advocacy organizations as well. I do believe the ongoing attention of our mental health and faulty healthcare system will hopefully provide updated reports to better enhance services within the next few years.
The direct impact of abuse or violence has a high relation to the many diagnosis of mental health prominent in society today. In her report Ms. Hettiger shared alarming numbers of statistics known at this point; 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some form of mental illness. This is 20% of our society, which means most of us know someone who is suffering with some form, even a slight form of mental health issue. I’m not saying that all diagnosis are related to abuse; I’m merely pointing out the direct impacts of abuse and violence proven related through various studies today.
One way for me to explain this better is for you to think about our military. Our men and women have to undergo exams for physical and mental health before being accepted into our armed forces. Once determined they meet the guidelines, they are then sent into war zones and will serve anywhere from 3 months to a year or more in constant high alert and life threatening situations. In these battle zones they hear gun fire, watch their team members get blown up by buried bombs; many loosing limbs or even their lives right in front of them. As we are realizing today, more and more of our veterans are coming home with deep emotional trauma resulting in their difficulty settling back in with general society and the ‘norm’ of daily behavior. Many have rage outbreaks because of the flashbacks and nightmares. Many are constantly haunted by the visions of what they endured. This is a concern for all of us, especially those many millions directly related to these incredible soldiers and war heroes. Our society consoles them, we offer friendship, support, any praise we can to let them know we want to help them and give them great honor for the battles they’ve fought to protect our freedom and the rights of humans in other countries; which of course I feel is exactly how we should honor them..
Sadly however, there is one war zone of constant high alertness and life threatening situations which general society hasn’t been so easily acceptable to understanding yet. This is the war zone that exists within our own homes every day. Men, women, and especially children are living in this same intense threat of being harmed, beaten to death, raped, tortured by those who should guide and protect them; those these victims love most in the world become the repeated violator of their personal wellbeing. Our homes become the most dangerous place in the world as relative to our lives.
According to the Children’s Bureau report for FFY 2011; 80.8% of reported cases of child harm violators are the child’s parent or parents. In only 2.1% of the reported cases is it a stranger who has harmed or murdered them. Even more grave is the fact that 78.3% of Child Death is directly related to abuse from a parent; calculating to be 906 DEATHS BY A PARENT for that one year alone. Keep in mind this is reported stats only when it is clearly documented on the death certificate as to the related cause of death. Many of these murders, like with Domestic Violence, are not properly documented. Also to note that 85% of abuses against children and in relationship violence is NEVER reported.
Along with this report and the studies by N.I.M.H. and the C.D.C., we have proof updated as early as two years ago as to the growing severity of abuse and violence within our homes and the extreme emotional trauma as a result of these epidemic crimes. If we are willing as a society, to accept the emotional wounds of our war heroes, veterans, then we must also accept the studies for the extreme trauma of the abuse and violence; supporting those who have survived these battle zones.
Throughout centuries we have ‘TAUGHT’ silence and acceptance to our kids and the victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault. We’ve shamed them and shunned them; blamed them and silenced them because we could not accept our own refusal to help them and place the shame on the perpetrators; most often because it brought shame to the family. Let me ask you this; if we tell our kids they deserved the extreme beating as discipline or that sex between a parent and child is normal, then why is there so much shame and silence placed on the victim? Is this because we cannot accept our own guilt in the acceptance of these actions? Since we as family members and close friends cannot see that our own blindness and our ‘TAUGHT’ acceptance of these actions result in a greater emotional trauma on the victims, then in a sense we have to accept our portion of blame for the growing rate of mental illness related to these crimes in society today.
There are five easy steps we can take to be pro-active in the measure to help ourselves, or a family member or close friend cope and rebuild from the impact of these attacks:
1) Accept the truth of how the acts of physical and sexual abuse against ANYONE at any point in their life impacts their emotional and mental wellbeing; specifically the severe after-affects of these crimes and the cross-wiring of our normal brain functions and emotional responses.
2) Understand how PTSD, Anxiety, Depression directly affect our emotional behaviors. This allows you to pick up on the subtle signs of an action or reaction, which enables you to better help that person through the moment or guide them to resources of counseling or medical care.
3) Always report an act of this type. Encouraging victims to get help or call the police, rather than enforcing silence and acceptance.
4) Ask our healthcare system to provide not just a pill for the primary diagnosis, but to research the root problem and help provide services for healing and rebuilding.
5) Most importantly DO NOT SHAME THE VICTIM!! Do not say or ask inappropriate things in which places blame on the victim. These acts themselves have a long centuries old enforcement of blaming and shame, so its imperative for us NOT to act or react in this manner; but instead show compassion, empathy, understanding of the deep trauma caused and the suffering of the victim.
It is possible for society to help change what has always been TAUGHT in the silence and acceptance of these crimes, which they are indeed crimes. If we encourage those harmed to begin healing by releasing themselves from the burden of secrecy about past acts against them; teaching talking because this is always the first step to recovery from any form of trauma.
Also teach children today that no matter who is harming them, extreme acts of ‘so called’ discipline or any form of sexual contact by an adult, their parent, a sibling , or any uncomfortable touching by another child or adult, is never a secret and is never acceptable. Teach them they are allowed to tell someone; even when the abuser tells them it is a ‘special’ secret or threatens harm against them. The only way we will ever be able to battle against the pedophiles in our society is to be sure it is prosecuted as a crime and that the victims feel encouraged to tell someone rather than be manipulated into secrecy. The secret is what helps hide the pedophiles and beaters in society today. They attend our churches, teach our children, they babysit for us; they are most commonly the parents of these harmed children!!
Empowering society to become involved and better able to be the supportive person needed, we can begin to change our world and the pandemic rates of abuse and violence throughout our families. We do not have to accept these actions any longer. We can learn from the generation of present day society, and the past generations of silent victims, letting their experiences be our teaching guide. This allows us to help rescue and reduce the impact of this trauma by providing early intervention; thus reducing, at least on some level, the continued growth of mental illness in the United States today.
If you or someone you know has just been physically or sexually assaulted:
1) Do not shower or change your clothing, there is crucial evidence on your person.
2) Call 911 or your local emergency response right away. It is necessary to report the attack and have the formal charges brought against your abuser.
3) Go to the hospital and get a physical exam, which may require a Rape Kit. The hospital will document the attack, photograph and provide necessary medical care.
These 3 STEPS are difficult at best, I understand that, but they are necessary to prevent another attack and to allow for the victim to be provided the proper resources and intervention needed to help them recover. Please be a friend and help these homeland war heroes who endure vicious attacks every moment of every day right here in our own country. Thank you
©Patricia A. McKnight
Author: ‘My Justice’
Founder: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery
Advocate/Speaker/Talk Radio Prod & Host/Survivor
‘Life changing, Highly Reviewed
by Dr. Brenda Joyce Orozco Markert-Green
Marriage & Family Therapy Training Course
La Sierra University
‘My Justice’ is a horrifying, but excellently written autobiography about the sadistic thirty plus years survived by one local woman who grew up within the small community of Freeburg, Illinois. Located just 40 miles outside of St. Louis; Author Patricia A. McKnight is sharing a life lived in hell, which is a FIVE STAR RATED tale of just how dark one man’s actions can be to the child within his home.
Ms. Debra Mize, Prevention Coordinator & Educator for Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, refers to this incredible story as the most powerful since she read and attended a speaking engagement presented by the great author Dave Pelzer and his autobiography, ‘A Child Called It; One child’s courage to survive’ which made the leading New York Times Best Seller List”.
“My Justice; Shocking, Disturbing, Emotionally Charging throughout every page!”
This powerful story will rock the moral foundations of everyone who reads. Patricia A. McKnight; Author/Advocate/Speaker, now founder of Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery & Talk Radio Programming, begins her story at just five years old as a happy little girl filled with excitement, but the moment she open’s the door to the next thirty plus years of her life, everything you thought you knew about the evils lurking within our homes will be forever changed’.
Dr. Brenda Joyce Orozco Markert-Green: whose highly skilled reputation as a Family & Marriage Counselor, Owner & CEO at Afterglow Counseling, Mediation & Family Services, Trainer for American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, Educator and Adjunct Faculty Board Member of La Sierra University, located in Riverside, California is now using this incredible autobiography as REQUIRED READING for her students in the field of therapy and family counseling. “My family therapy students are required not only to read this autobiography, they are also required to complete an exam and classroom discussion on what they absorbed and felt; what can they take forward as therapist to increase their senses, skills and expertise as counselors, and to enhance their abilities to better help their clients. This story leaves a deep, lasting impression on my students, which I’ve seen first hand. It truly changes how we see the lives of those around us and how the victims are left so shattered by these acts of viciousness.”
Mr. Peter Thomas Senese: Best Selling Geo-Political Thriller Author/Child Advocate & Founder of I CARE Foundation, who also helped build a women’s shelter and who, in his capacity with the I CARE Foundation, sponsored a conference at the United Nations at the request of the Department of State on international parental child abduction and trafficking, while working to create new laws and government policies that will protect children from kidnapping said of Ms. McKnight in numerous articles and essays, a ‘Hero; A conqueror over abuse and calls this book a ‘Blue Print to Freedom from Abuse’, but it is so much more for by penned word and by action after action, Ms. McKnight and all that encompasses who she is educates or reminds each of us that all of our voices matter. On this note, ‘My Justice’ is a map to find one’s courage, and in it, freedom. As an avid reader and best-selling author, ‘My Justice’ sits in a very special area in my home – and next to ‘Unbowed’ by Noble Prize writer and friend, Wangari Maathai – as ‘My Justice’ has had that significant an impact on my life and my own call-to-arms to protect innocent children from abuse. In my capacity with the I CARE Foundation fighting against child kidnappers, there are many times that I would ask myself while dealing with these difficult cases of families in crisis, “What would Tricia do?” Then answer has led to many children once bound to know freedom . . . and that is just how significant of an impact ‘My Justice’ has had on me and the community of children we serve around the world.
Ms. Linda Walcher: Educator in the Fayetteville & Freeburg, Illinois school system for over 20 years and now a leading member in the Illinois Retired Teachers Association and mentor for many college students has this to share about ‘My Justice’ and the little girl she once had as a student. ‘As an educator, I first met Ms. McKnight when she entered my fourth grade class. Being fresh out of college and a very young teacher then; she was one of my first students. In her bright blue eyes I saw just a happy, beautiful little girl. As I moved on to continue my long time career in the same school system she attended, I truly had no clue as to the life I could have saved in that child. It is only in the last few years, since first reading the details of her endured beatings and sadistic crimes of her step-father, that I have reached out and fully support every effort she puts forth on a daily basis to use her learned and lived knowledge to try and help many others. As an active member in the Retired Teachers Association and with the mentoring of upcoming educators now in college, there is not enough I can say about how this book has changed my entire thinking process. Back in the 70’s we were not as educated or made aware as we should have been about child abuse and what signs to watch for in children. Throughout my years as an educator I was able to help rescue a few children, but reading this story brought all of that little girl’s Red Flag Warning Signs, which she was waving around with all her might, but I just didn’t have the knowledge or the training then to help her. ‘My Justice’ is a book which I highly recommend for anyone who spends time with children.’
Incredibly, Ms. McKnight has taken all of her many years of tragedy and turned them into something she is hoping will help rescue victims of Child Abuse and Family or Domestic Violence. She has now built Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery, which can be found by visiting her website http://www.butterflydreamsabuserecovery.com. There she begins with a few basic steps which are FREE to use by absolutely anyone to help with rebuilding life after any form of abuse or violence has effected you or someone you love. On this new site you will find educational and awareness information about what to do if you’ve just recently been harmed and what we can be aware of as a society to help those around us who may be struggling to cope through some form of abuse.
Patricia A. McKnight, known as ‘Trish’ to those who chat with her almost daily, has endured a life that most of us cannot imagine, but to her it was just seen as ‘normal’. She knows the path many victims of these crimes follow in the aftermath of being violated. In her drive to better help us understand she is making all of us aware and hoping to be just one of the voices in the beginning of change.
‘The purpose for publishing ‘My Justice’ was a need to explain and apologize to my children for the many broken repeated violent relationships I engaged in, which have left wounds in their lives. The bitter truth is there was never any legal form of justice to come from all the years of almost murderous violence and sadistic evil, but I needed to release myself from the hand covering my mouth and holding me captive in dysfunctions and madness all these decades; this is how and why I needed to publish this story. What has made a deeper impact on me is the many millions living in our society today just like me; some with even more horrific stories than mine. Because of the way we have been taught to view these actions, there are now an estimated 50 Million or more who know how dark a parent or trusted person’s actions can become. It should be these stories of generations past and present; my voice and the voices of many others, which should be our society’s learning examples of how these crimes, and they are actually evil criminal acts against our own children and our partners; how they set up human beings to live out their lives in a broken existence without ever seeing any value in their person. Even though these actions have been going on in our homes and communities since the dawn of mankind, doesn’t make it the right way to live. It means that we have to step up our game against these behaviors and see them for what they are ‘Nothing less than a learned way to live and treat others’, a disrespect and need for power over another human being. We need to toughen our prosecutions for these crimes and begin protecting everyone around us, not just our own children. What we have permitted by teaching silence to the victims, is what I refer to as our own ‘Man-Made Cancer’ only there is no wonder science which will ever provide the cure. Only by being aware, being vigilant, and being educated about the impacts of the aftermath; the many lifelong struggles of mental health disorders such as; P.T.S.D; Depression, Anxiety, Drug & Alcohol Addictions, Eating Disorders, and even worse the many who’ve committed suicide because of the horrible after effects. Seeing these ugly realities for what they are is the only way we will be able to change what has been taught as so normal. I believe when you discard someone because of their dysfunctions and what many may judge as being ‘less worthy’ or ‘damaged’; then you are discarding a victim or a survivor, someone who has been or is now being brutalized by someone they love. It is by learning from the experts, many of whom make up the millions of survivors today, that we will be able to change our thinking towards these crimes. This is our only hope for providing some form of rescue for our children’s future. Our kids are watching all of the activities across the internet today and they are paying attention to what we do when it comes to helping them cope with all their daily battles. I wonder how they will think of us if we continue to ignore these ugly, vicious, soul destroying actions as we’ve been taught?”
If you would like to find our more about this survivor turned, Author/Advocate/Speaker/Talk Radio Prod & Host, Founder of Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery, you can contact her by emailing direct to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her website http://www.butterflydreamsabuserecovery.com to enlighten yourself and others about the recovery process or what you may be able to do, not only to spot a victim in your family or workplace, but also create a greater vigilance within your communities and school systems. ‘Trish’ can also be found across many of our social networking sites today. This engaging and empowering speaker is happy to share with your churches, schools, any outlet you choose to give hope and help to all of those who directly relate with children, young single mothers, and many men who are living the life of heavy dark secrets today.
You are invited to view her latest speaking engagement through this You Tube Video; http://youtu.be/tujWedUtdf0 This was at the Illinois Healthcares Grant Education Seminar held in Belleville, Illinois; National Shrine of our Lady of the Snows, where the Violence Prevention Center initiated a training seminar with the outstanding Dr. Elaine Alpert. One of America’s Global Health Staff & Advisors out of Massachusetts General Hospital, who is a panel discussion member and actively speaking for the Education and Enhanced Collaboration of Health Professionals to rescue and provide help for victims of child abuse, domestic violence, and human trafficking.
Follow Patricia A. McKnight or listen to her live blog talk radio program every Monday & Wednesday evening:
Google +, Twitter, Linkedin & Pinterest either Patricia A. McKnight or Tricia McKnight
You can purchase your copy of ‘My Justice’ in paperback, e-book, Kindle & Nook through most online book resources. E-book & Kindle editions just $2.99
Published Sept. 1, 1995 by Health Communications, Incorporated and now a well known library and school reference autobiography.
©Patricia A. McKnight
For contact please email: email@example.com
Many times when we are left broken by the actions of those we love, we seem to get lost in the pain of it all. There are days when we wake with a huge weight of memories that challenge our ability to smile and keep on going.
“After all, isn’t this what the general society expects of us all? So what, you were beaten, bullied, molested, raped, threatened, controlled; who cares, RIGHT? They say things like; ‘Get on with life’ or ‘So what it’s only sex, you do it all the time. What’s the problem?”
Let me share with you what the ‘PROBLEM’ might be. How about if you close your eyes for about 5 minutes and pretend you are a child; remember the light spirit of catching fireflies in a jar. Then I would like for you to imagine your father (just using the pseudonym as an example); your father’s hands are touching you and suddenly through a quick flash of memory he is on top of you and you feel a burning pain rip through you like a red fury of fire. You hold your breath and turn your head. He’s grunting and telling you what a good child you are and how this is something that is supposed to be done.
All you can think of is how much it hurts!!! You want it to be over, you want him to quit. You have tried to tell your mom, but she simply turns away and ignores your words. You show your dysfunction brought on by the violation of it all; sometimes it comes out in rocked emotions other times through our reactions and actions as we go through life. You’re not allowed to share this ugly secret and you try to figure out why it makes you feel so worthless and ugly. You know that others won’t understand and your friends at school talk about sex like it is just something you do.
“Are they having sex with their parent too? Do they get beat up when the dishes aren’t clean, the laundry’s mess, or just because (HE) is drunk and angry? Do they feel like they don’t matter to anyone at all?”
As you grow up you carry all of this baggage with you. There can be many ‘PROBLEMS’ that you start to see. You may be falling in love with everyone or no one. You may look in the mirror and think about how disgusting you are, or that no one wants you, or no one ever treats you like a decent human being. You stress out easily at work because you have to make sure everything is done with perfection. Sometimes, if you are using an addiction such as alcohol, marijuana, or even food to help get through those shattering moments; you may have problems with being sober at work or high. You may sit at home all by your lonesome and drink or eat until you just can’t drink or eat any longer. You may try to be active in other things, such as taking care of your kids, your family, keeping up with friends, and believe it or not you may even find yourself clinging to your parents, or even the one who violated you. You feel like you need these connections because you want to be loved; to be wanted, appreciated for the good in you, but no matter how hard you try sometimes you just can’t make it through the day without a break down.
Artwork via: Michal Madison Art
Each morning is a new challenge for you. When your eyes open you find yourself once again back in the circle of LIFE AFTER ABUSE!!! It’s ugly as hell and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone at all. It’s not nice to wake up without a smile for the one you love lying next to you. It’s not nice to be sad all the time and worried about how people will see you ‘Will they see past your veil of secrets?’
We all have some form of burden or trouble we carry sometimes, but the brutal acts and personally violating evils of these crimes is something so deep and so troublesome that even our therapists, support groups, family & friends have difficulty accepting our struggle, understanding the impacts of PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Doubt, Constant Fear of Rejection, the need for Perfection so intense that we don’t have time to enjoy those quiet times of sunshine and flowers or the belly laughter of our children.
We can only hope to help the survivors of these acts when we accept these abuses happened within our homes; the place where we should feel SAFE from the dangers of the world can often be the MOST DANGEROUS.
Remember there are many homes where one parent is not as dangerous as the other. Maybe that other parent doesn’t hear our silent screams for rescue, but maybe they don’t beat and hold you captive. Also there is the ugly truth that these processes of acceptance and silence move forward from one generation in our circle of life to another. Then these acts (CRIMINAL ACTS) are done by the person we marry, the person we choose to have as our lover, friend, companion; the person we share the intimacy with on a regular basis. We believe we can depend on this person to help us through, but instead (especially single moms who have been harmed as children) we continue to fall into the whirlwind romances and find ourselves living with what we have been taught is so ‘NORMAL’ to us. Something we know doesn’t happen in every household, but it definitely happens a lot and for some reason it seems to always happen to us. Those who live in misguided boundaries and beliefs all because of the daily, weekly, decades of brutality and degradation, personal violation and threat to our lives as our everyday perception of life.
You will find us then trying to cope with all of the horrific truths we carry.
How would you get through your day as a Survivor on the path to Freedom from Abuse?
© Patricia A. McKnight
Author/Advocate/Speaker/Talk Radio Prod & Host/Survivor
Founder; Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery & Talk Radio Programming
Author: ‘My Justice’