Judging Eyes

There’s a little girl living around the corner from you. Most mornings you see her while standing at the bus stop with your daughter. She always stands off quietly by herself.

You look at her and wonder, “Why is she not with the other children?”

You notice her hair is till messy from rising out of bed. Her shirt is wrinkled up and the jeans look like they really don’t fit. Suddenly she looks up and makes eye contact with you. She will force a smile on her face and you see the yellow of her teeth.

As a mom you see the poor dental care and think, “What’s wrong? That poor little girl. Doesn’t anyone look after her?”

She feels your eyes on her and she’s ashamed of how she looks; to her your eyes are burning judgement. The girl wonders if you can see what she’s feeling.

“Can you see me standing by myself? Can you see how I feel?” she wonders. “I know how bad I look, but you’re not supposed to know why.”

The little girl is about 12 years old. You see how pretty she could be if only she took better care of herself. Her eyes are a sparkling blue water and you can see the sadness on her face. She wishes no one would notice her. She wants to be like your daughter, but she can’t. She’s trapped and doesn’t know what to do. She wishes her Mom loved her.

“My mom doesn’t even care that I look like this. She doesn’t notice me at all.”

You look a little closer at her and you see her arms have open sores on them. To you they look ugly and infected. Your reaction is to pull your 10 year old closer to you so she doesn’t catch anything.

You’re not sure who this girl is, but you see her every morning and she always looks the same.

You start to wonder about her parents. “My God,” you think. “Who could let this child look like that? Why don’t people take care of their kids? That poor thing must feel so horrible.”

You see the other children standing around in small groups together, but this girl isn’t part of them, nor is she invited to join them. The other girls also turn to look at her. They point then turn away; saying things which you can only imagine.

Then you watch as the girl pulls her arms in around her; clutching her books tightly against her chest. She is hoping it will block your judgement of her.

“Please don’t think bad of me like they do,” she thinks to herself as she sneaks another glance your way. “If you knew what I had to do last night what would you really think of me then?” Her mind keeps going with questions, “Would you let things happen to me like that if I were with you? I can never stop him or say anything to him. He is supposed to be my dad and take care of me, but he is so cruel to me. He always hurts me, but I can’t help it. He just keeps coming after me.”

While you wait at the bus stop with your daughter to watch her and make sure she stays safe, you turn your back to the girl and keep a watchful eye on the other kids around you. The girl never steps out of her safety boundaries; standing alone, close to the bushes every morning without saying a word to anyone. She just glances around and sometimes gives a shy little smile your way as she ponders on her life; deeply wishing that someone would take care of her. She wants her mom to notice her, but when the girl was woke up this morning she was just told to get ready.

“Get your ass out of that damn bed and get moving.” she recalls. “You are not staying home with me so you better not be late. You get moving,” her mom yells up the stairs.

As the little girl stands quietly by the bushes her mind is racing with memories and flashbacks of her night. She barely got any sleep and she feels utterly exhausted, more tired than any adult working a full day at two jobs. This child is standing there amazingly strong, but completely exhausted from her trauma. He had attacked her again after sending her brother and sister to bed last night. He made her put on that nightgown again and touched her all over.

She starts to question silently, “Do you see what he did to me? Do you see the stains he left on me? Can you please help me?”

Maybe for the past six months you have noticed she has gotten a little worse in appearance or actions. “Still; no one else in town has said anything about this family, so why bother?” You say to yourself, “I don’t want to step in against those people. Her dad is up at the bar where her mom works everyday, then he goes home with the kids. I’ll bet something’s happening there,” you think. “But it’s not my place to say anything. I just hope with those sores she stays away from my daughter.”

The girl’s mind is still spinning with all of her fears. “He touched me, pinched me, probed at me. He made me do things that were so nasty. He told me how ugly I was as he pushed me away. Then when I fell on the floor he got really angry and grabbed me by the hair.” She rubs the top of her head as she’s remembering the night of terror. “When I fell what caused him to get so angry? I never know what it is that makes him so mean with me, but it happens all the time.” She wishes she could tell someone what happened and holds back the tears as her mind drifts back. “His hand swung up out of nowhere and landed hard on the side of my face as he started beating me; yelling about how disgusting I am.” The bruise on her face was just starting to show a little on the side this morning. She saw it as she was getting dressed, but apparently you didn’t see it. “You can only see the filth on me,” she thinks as she glances over again.

You are still standing there quietly watching your daughter and secretly looking back at her. Your eyes burn on her though. She knows you can see the ugly sores on her and her greasy unkept hair. She knows you can see her wrinkled clothes that she dug out of the dirty laundry this morning. She didn’t have anything clean to wear, but it seemed her little sister had all kinds of cute things to put on. In truth, the girl had on her sister’s underpants because she didn’t have any of her own.

Now she starts to think about what might happen if she reached over to you. She knows she would break down crying. Then she remembers how he had threatened her. She was supposed to call him, “Dad”, but all he did was hurt her and he told her,

“If anyone finds out about this your mom will get angry and they will take you away from her, but I’ll come to find you and when I do,” he said to her, “I will gladly kill you. No one will ever find you again. You will be buried somewhere deep.”

Those words were branded into her soul just as his touch was burned into her skin. The girl is trapped in her nightmare. She can’t reach out to anyone. She’s afraid of someone noticing her,

“What if they say something to me,” she wonders. “What am I suppose to do if they ask me about the bruises or the filth growing on my skin? If they tell anyone he’ll kill me, but I need someone to help me. I am just a little girl who wants to have friends to play with and have quiet when I do my homework, but most of all I just wish I could take a bath again.” This little girl standing so brave is screaming inside, “Please help me, but be careful what you do or say, he will hunt me down; he will kill me!!”

As the bus pulls up and the other kids start rushing forward to get the best seats, the girl stands back. She waits patiently, making sure to stay out of everyone’s way. You notice she is aware of everything around her as she steps away from the bushes. While you guide your precious, beautiful daughter to the door you hope inside that the infected girl behind you doesn’t sit down next to her. The girl sneaks past you.

“I can’t bump into anyone,” she worries. “Please don’t pay any attention to me. If I can get through the bus ride and through my school day I’ll be alright, but then I have to go home. When he gets home from the bar tonight he might still be angry or he might want to do that nasty stuff.”

As she gets on the bus to face her day of fear, her deepest thought is knowing that nothing will change in her life. No one will challenge her parents, and even if they did, he would still be there; haunting her.

“Please help me I’m trapped!!!” she quietly screams inside.

(c) Patricia A. McKnight
Author: “My Justice”

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Bio

Tricia McKnight is the new host of “Survivors Speak Out” a Dreamcatchers for Abused Children blog talk radio program. She is an author and also the founder & manager of an online private support group. This group, Survivors World, is there to help support and guide the women who are suffering from the aftermath of abuse, either childhood or domestic violence. She has created a safe and friendly place within this group for women to gain positive support and encourage those struggling while they continue moving forward in their healing from these traumas. Tricia is committed to end the silence attached to these crimes and has created a cause of awareness. This cause, Stop Whispering, is directly focused at gaining the many strong voices needed to break down that brick wall that traps its victims in secret. You can also join this cause by following the link given on this blog. This cause creates a place where voices gather to speak out against the crimes that exist within our homes. Please join us by going to facebook.com/causes/stopwhispering and give your voice against the crimese of abuse.

Tricia has also initiated the 911 Cell Phone Bank Recycle Program in her local area, using the credited phones to support victims of violent homes. This will help provide emergency phone services for those in her rural area who do not have quick access to reach out for the help when needed.

Other than her published novel, “My Justice“, which can be purchased through authorhouse.com; amazon.com; barne’sandnoble.com, she also enjoyes her many volunteer hours as an advocate, guest writer and sharing her many awareness short stories through blogging. You can find out more by connecting with her at facebook.com/tricia62.

Reaching out to locals – St. Louis & Chicago

Reaching out to connect with the survivors of abuse in my local area. I would like to invite you to connect with me and also to encourage you to share your story. Dreamcatchers for Abused Children has brought me on board with their blog talk radio programming to give the survivors of abuse a place to share their story; anonymously, so that we can create a wave of awareness against these crimes across the world. There is also a safe group online that I have created for women who have been or are now suffering in the silence of abuse. We can help you to find the right contacts to give you support or work with you to find a shelter if needed; we are here to support whatever your daily situation may bring, good or bad.

You will see a link below that shows an article in the Belleville News Democrat; my story was then sent out across the country; carried in over 40 different news sites,
(i.e. washington post, chicago tribune, desert news). In February of 2011, I published my horrific story of a life stolen away by the sadistic and severely neglectful crimes of my mother and stepfather. The novel is titled, “My Justice” and it is written to give the little girl I once was the voice she never had. The abuse I suffered for twelve continuous years as a child until I finally left home at seventeen, actually trained me into a pattern of accepting the abuses against me in my adult relationships. It also trapped me in a world of covering up who I really was inside and carrying the secrets I was too ashamed and too terrified to speak about.

The pattern of life that followed for over twenty years was one of self destructive behavior involving alcohol, smoking weed, being with the wrong men, always seeking attention from men, and making a lot of the wrong choices. This unfortunately reflected on how I was as a mother and the influence my decisions had on my children’s lives. The chaos that filled the lives of my children’s home is a burden of guilt I may never be able to forgive myself for, mainly because they grew up watching their mother get beaten, degraded, seeing me drunk at times as they got older, even knowing that I was smoking weed to get through my days. How do you think my decisions as a broken soul and YOUR decisions and pattern of behavior effect your children?

This is why I am working hard to bring our survivor voices together. It is truly a deep sense of peace when you can honestly start speaking about the person you are inside. It allows you to view how the choices you have made were directly reflected by the abuses and secrets you carry. That pattern leaves a strong affect on your children’s lives and the cycle of bad behavior and abuse is carried forward. Your children are then forced to carry the secrets of what they see in their home. They feel the pain of their mother as she is getting beaten and destructed by the man she loves. It passes into their relationships and creates a pattern of bad choices and possibly shame from abuse by someone they trust.

It is my belief that the cycle of abuse will not stop until we, as survivors, create a wave of awareness and voices to speak out against it and truly start making the changes in our behavior to change the way it affects our children. This is the reason I am reaching out to all of you. Please join me on the show “Survivors Speak Out” or even join in with our women’s support group online, “Survivors World”, if you would like to have some positive and encouraging support as you start to come forward about the honesty of your past. I have provided all the links below for; my book, the blog talk radio program; and my facebook connection to join in with our private group.

SURVIVORS CAN MAKE A CHANGE FOR A SAFER TOMORROW!!!!
We all deserve to have justice for our pain,
We all deserve to have safety and peace within our homes,
We all deserve to be loved and respected,
We all deserve to have roses in our garden of life!!
Thank you for giving your time and thought at reading this blog. I beg you now to please reach out and pass it forward. There are MILLIONS OF SURVIVORS living amongst our society and each of us has a voice inside that is screaming out for our own justice against the crimes we have suffered. Now is the time to join in with us to help spread this message. No longer will our voices stay silent and carry the secrets that will pass on to our children.
Bless you all,
Tricia A. McKnight
Author: “My Justice”
Founder: “Survivors World” women’s online support group
Blog Talk Radio Host: “Survivors Speak Out”
Dreamcatchers Blog Tald Radio Programing
Links to the above:

There are millions of survivors keeping secrets!!!

SPOTLIGHT: Ill. woman shares her story of abuse

This article was written by the wonderful journalist, Jennifer Bowen, who writes for the Belleville News Democrat. She has done a true justice to give my story such amazing impact. Thanks to her great work this story is being spread everywhere on the web. Truly honored Jennifer; this is a blessing to all victims & survivors.

http://www.bnd.com/2011/12/31/1997851/spotlight-ill-woman-shares-her.html#storylink=

BREESE, Ill. — Tricia McKnight is no stranger to domestic abuse and her mission is to share her story in the hopes it will encourage and help other women get out of violent, abusive situations.”A lot of them are like me,” said McKnight, 48, of Breese. “They were ‘trained’ to behave in a certain way and accept certain things and not think anything about it. It becomes a pattern of abuse. I spent 32 years afraid to breathe, literally afraid to breathe.”McKnight has written about her lifetime of abuse, from being abused by her stepfather as a child to physical and emotional abuse from husbands. It is all documented in her book “My Justice,” which chronicles her heartbreaking and often shocking cycle of abuse. 

She started a Facebook support group, Survivor’s World, and has helped women from around the world get connected with the help they need to get out of a violent home life. The support group is a private group and accessible by request only.”I know how hard it is to come forward with your secrets,” she said. “A lot of them are sharing their secrets for the very first time and that’s a very difficult process.”According to the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, domestic violence is a pattern, a reign of force and terror. It is not defined by only physical attacks but includes intimidation, threats, economic deprivation, psychological and sexual abuse. Experts have compared methods used by batterers to those used by terrorists to brainwash hostages.The last beating McKnight endured left her with a spinal cord injury.”He woke me up at 4 a.m. choking me, then proceeded to beat me with a chair,” she said. “He had been out drinking and was angry that I was in bed sleeping. The cops came and told us that one of us had to leave or both of us were going to jail.”I was furious. I was 37 years old and all I had ever experienced was violence and degradation and abuse and now I was being told I was going to jail if I didn’t leave. I made a decision that night that I was never going to tolerate this again.”She and her children moved out of the abusive household and McKnight started seeing a therapist. The therapist is the one who suggested she start writing.”I wrote to apologize to my kids for what they had to witness in their lives and how it affected their lives,” she said. “I wrote to bring about awareness about how horrible this can be for everyone involved. It’s a trained pattern of violence acceptance and my kids were learning that pattern.”In her own children, all now adults, she has seen them experiencing problems with maintaining healthy relationships and difficulties with self-confidence.”So many things have affected them,” she said. “When the abuse would start, my children would hide. My kids and I walked on eggshells for a very, very long time.”McKnight has recently been working with Susan Murphy Milano, a domestic violence survivor, radio host, lecturer, first responder trainer and author of several books addressing domestic violence, including “Defending Our Lives,” “Moving Out, Moving On,” and “Time’s Up.” The books help people in abusive situations move away from the abuse and deal with confusing situations surrounding violence prevention, stalking, breakup or divorce.”We are working on some of the legislation for documenting abuse to get these abusers convicted on these evidentiary abuse documents,” McKnight said. “You want to have proof that the violence is happening. Take pictures of the bruises and keep them on a flash drive. You have to reach out to one friend that you trust and let them know what’s going on because it is a life or death situation – it really is. I don’t know how I am sitting here alive today because I’ve been choked, almost drowned and had loaded weapons pointed at my face.”

McKnight applauded the efforts of St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly to improve the way his office has encouraged metro-east police departments to document domestic violence calls with video evidence to increase the ability of his office to successfully prosecute domestic violence cases, even when the victim isn’t a willing party to the prosecution.”I like the strength they are putting behind the laws,” she said. “It’s no longer just a slap on the wrist. They’ve taken it out of the hands of the victims and you know if you call the cops they are coming and they will take him and you’ll have time to get help and get support.”It’s going in the right direction, but, nationwide, domestic violence is still not getting the attention it needs. The laws are good and strong. It’s the community perception of domestic violence that needs to change. People have to remember we didn’t commit these crimes, they were committed against us. It’s nothing that we did.”McKnight said she hopes her support group and her speaking out about her own abuse and journey out of an abusive life will give others the courage to get out.”I’m not the only survivor out there. There are millions of us and a lot of them still keep their secrets,” McKnight said. “Most of them keep those secrets even from their families because they are afraid of being shunned and blamed for it.”

I encourage all victims and survivors of abuse to talk with just one person you trust to keep your secrets. If you wish, you can friend me @facebook.com/triciagirl62 and I will connect you with a wonderful group of women survivors. You may also like to talk with me on the air. Dreamcatchers Blog Talk Radio; Survivors Speak Out – Every Friday at 7pm e.s.t. – The link to the program is always posted on my facebook profile page and the number is listed to call in. Survivors our voices are growing so very strong and together I believe we can make a difference. Please join with us. Bless you all in 2012