Clearing the head…Clearing the shame…

For years now I’ve believed writing good for the soul. When I began thinking about putting my nightmares into words it was frightening to imagine revisiting those feelings. It took so very much to put “My Justice” together for my children. They deserved to know how this evil first invaded our family. How could I possibly let them think that this was merely a result of being a child from divorce? They really needed to understand the how’s and why’s of our family having suffered through so much pain. I wasn’t sure how to begin with them.

How do you tell your children you were sexual abused? How do you bring up this topic with them? It’s so impossible to think they would truly understand what had happened and how the scars I carried had bled in to invade their world.

I decided I would just do it. I had to do it for all of us. It’s not that I wanted my entire life to be out there for everyone, but I felt it necessary to explain to them and to use my horrific experiences as a tool of human moral for others. The level of their evil, both my mother and my stepfather, was so very deep that they created a grown child with no sence of manners, decent judgement, confidence, and the many other types of behaviors and knowledge a normal 17-year-old should have. It was almost impossible for me to go through everyday actions of life as others were doing. How was I to act like an adult with the shattered soul of a 5-year-old still held up inside of me?

My mother had never taught us that we needed to wipe after going to the toilet. Hell most often we didn’t even have toilet paper. There was never one word spoken about brushing your teeth. In fact there were only two toothbrushes and one belonged to each of them. We never said please or thank you to anyone; not even for passing the food.

When I quit bathing as a mode to protect myself from being trapped in the room with him, no one ever said a word. My brother and stepfather would tease me about stinking, but no one said, “Get upstairs and take a bath”. I remember at the age of 15 the school was demanding that all of us keep deodorant in our gym lockers and that we shower after class. The teacher would hang out in her office just off the locker room. There was a big glass window between us and her. She would walk to the shower room and check in on us; even saw me dodging all others as I cowered into a corner. At least I thought she saw me. We did make I contact, that I do remember. Anyway, I let mom know that I needed deodorant. Her words, ‘If you’d take a bath you wouldn’t need fucking deodorant”, and she never bought any; which cost me a demerit or two in class.

Can you imagine how I had to develop when I left home? Seventeen years old, moving in with a 24-year-old man!! I knew how to keep a house spotless, how to put dinner on the table every night. I definitely knew how to please him sexually. I knew to bow down to him and follow all of his rules, but I would take little pieces of bread to fill the holes in my top front teeth. However, I did buy myself a toothbrush.

I was not a young woman starting out in life with goals, ideas, ambitions. Hell, what were those. All I ever knew how to do, take care of my man and the others that came into my life.

As I, some 4 years later, became a mom; I knew how to answer to my child’s every whim. I was a fabulous Mother!!! My baby was bathed, fed, given fluoride drops ( we lived in the U.K.). He was pampered to the fullest extent. My husband, who was a different man because the other had almost killed me more than once; but he never had to worry about taking care of anything that concerned the house. It didn’t matter how heavy the job or what it intailed; it was my responsibility and if I didn’t stay on top of it then I was filled with guilt for not meeting their needs.

I had been programmed that nothing I needed mattered. Now it was always about being clean, which I had become Obsessive Compulsive about even showering & douching myself. All little details mattered. For I was so ugly looking; that’s all I can say about it. Four of my top front teeth were broken and now just black holes of decade teeth. Most of my molars were decade and broken off as well. My skin was scary looking. My arms and legs were so covered with deep big scars of the infection that had eaten away at my skin for five years, which of couse was from not being able to bath without a visitor.

Honestly, My mother let me rot as he raped me and molested me. Held me with his huge coal stained hand over my mouth while my sister slept silently next to me. She was around 4 when we started sharing a bed together. I would often wonder if her eyes ever opened to see what her father was doing?

How do I teach my children to be decent people with manners, kindness towards others; to keep themselves clean? How do I teach my children that they matter? They need education to get a job. They need to learn how to manage finances, which I had no clue. They had begun taking any money I made at the age of 11 with my babysitting jobs. Then later it would be him caught stealing from my purse.

How do I tell my children who the person is that my parents created, but how I wanted so much more for them? How much I truly tried to give all I had of me up until the last child left my home. Even then there was still dinner each night when I got home from work and we ate as one. I gave them morals. They were taught to say prayers, please & thank you. As children everyone would compliment on them. How smart they were? How beautiful and how well behaved. I would ask to make sure they were talking about my children, lol!!!

This is just one part of the abuses I’ve gone through. This is only some of the ways that it left it marks on me. I’m still rebuilding my soul. Writing “My Justice” and finally giving them some sense of understanding as to where I came from and why some of this evil and mis-guided behaviors invaded their world. It was a blessing of peace for me to finally speak of what had truly happened. With my scarred up skin, broken and partially filled teeth, it’s not been easy to get through this life as a woman. We’re expected to be beautiful, have smooth soft skin, bright shining smiles; even to wear cute little outfits & dresses that show off our legs. NOT ME, NO WAY – No one ever got to sit and massage my legs or rub my feet. It was difficult enough to sit next to someone and it still is because I feel their eyes on my skin and looking at my crooked smile and my crooked mouth from the empty spaces. I wish there were some miracle that could make me look like everyone else. A pot load of money to give me a bright new smile, which I have never seen on myself. I look at very young childhood pictures and even then I can see the plaque build up starting on my teeth.  Wouldn’t that be a true blessing from God just to be given the smile I never had?

The tears well up in my eyes as I think about the heavy scars that cover my legs and arms. There will never be anyway to fix this. They cannot give me smooth new skin. It’s horrifying to have people look at you like that all your life; Always wondering, “What is the first thought in their head?” How can a man willingly choose to be with me? That is a whole other discussion meant for another day.

It’s good to get back to writing and sharing with everyone. My thanks and blessings to all who read this. I pray you are not the broken spirit of your past. If I can walk through this life, teach my children to be wonderfully decent people, carry the physical trauma for all to gauk at, and still see a bright love in this world; this is something you can get through as well.

There is no guarantee of safety in our world, not even in our homes. We come into this world and are left in the hands of others. It is up to them to give us something to guide us through. This is all that I can give to my children.. I pray that they will stand proud and stop the evil from passing forward. We cannot allow this sickness to eat into our families. If we are the broken souls; simply guide them at your best, get help & support for yourself; leave the rest up to God.

Patricia A. McKnight

For my children, I am so,so very sorry – Be strong, wise & good – hugs!!!

Published by @Trecia_Ann

Recently, Facebook locked and removed my decade long creation of work and public profile, which focused my work as an advocate, speaker, mentor, and creator of more than a few programs used throughout Illinois, but also shared nationally and some have reached international platforms. So.... let's start fresh and see where it goes! Please see the writings on this blog dating back into 2011, created after the publication of 'My Justice'. There are two specifically, which have been tagged and shared by many....."Judging Eyes" and "Triggers; what they are and how to handle them" I am a survivor of over thirty years trapped inside the silence and brutality of Family Facilitated Violence, Torture, and Child Sex Trafficking. In Feb. 2011, I chose to publish the secrets and the horrors endured; the many levels of destruction and decay which the community around me witnessed, ignored, condemned and blamed regardless of the injuries and tortures endured. It all became the learned patterns of self-hatred and tolerance which was a huge factor in my adult life. Have you endured childhood harm, or endured terroristic types of abuses? Did you feel unworthy of life, breathing, love or respect? Did you feel as if no one ever really saw you, heard you, or seemed to care about the silent cruelties of your existence? It wasn't until I honestly began a strong focus on healing myself, which took years of researching credible data and published research surrounding the lasting effects of abuse, violence, sexual harm, and human trafficking that I began to understand who I was and why there were many traits and tragedies that influenced my adult choices, relationships, the chaos deep in my soul and the behaviors used to survive. It seemed to control everything inside me and it was filled with pain, and tragedy. The research became my rebuilding journey and my road to advocacy, creating legislative changes, sitting as an active member and providing testimony in the creation of area task force operations, victim/survivor services, trauma informed awareness for law enforcement, educators, social services, healthcare and community providers. I began that research of understanding myself in 2008, wrote the memoir "My Justice' in 2010, began working to change statutes in my home state in 2013, became a Certified DV Advocate and Panel Member of DV Offender Education Program in 2015, which then initiated a decade long career as a trusted, confidential advocate, and a highly skilled and knowledgeable speaker/educator on the topic of Assessment, Family/Survivor Rebuilding, Trauma Informed Care & Response, with the primary focus on family/relationship acts of terroristic abuses and/or human trafficking. Beginning in January 2010 there have been developed programs and connected resources for men, women, children, and families who endured these same types of tragedies. Unfortunately, our human society still has barriers to seek help or speak openly about these types of tragedies, especially if it happened in our homes and families. The laws to protect from such harms were enacted for children in 1963, as an amendment to the Social Security Act. Domestic Violence was not a topic until 1995, when then Senator Joe Biden introduced the Violence Against Women Act, which has since been adapted to provide shelters, counseling, protection orders, and rebuilding services for ALL persons regardless of gender or identity. Although slavery was brought to an end by the historical act of President Abraham Lincoln, we unfortunately have millions of human beings still being traded, sold, controlled and trapped in a hellish evil, which often begins by a parent or intimate partner. Legislation didn't arise regarding the term 'Human Trafficking' until the turn of the new millennium. Protection for victims of human trafficking was signed into law as the 'Trafficking In Persons Act of 2000', which with modern day social media it quickly became a new hot-topic point, which then sparked the creation of Trauma Informed Care, Rebuilding & Trauma Therapy, and thus adult survivors began speaking out about the dark terrifying reality of Child Sex Trafficking. Today many use the term, Modern Day Slavery, and we have multi-faceted task force operations and rescue resources working around the globe to end this new form of human slavery. We also have a few hundred thousand or more who are adult survivors of histories involving Parental Child Sex Trafficking. In one recent study from 2018, they found 85% of these victims were trafficked by parents in trade for drugs, family needs, or basic human survival. As I look back on the career that grew from my own personal need to understand the chaos in my head, the constant failed relationships and almost murderous acts committed against me; as I deal with increasing health problems that includes multiples of head and spinal cord traumas; the most important goal for me from day one of this extremely personal experience; the healing and rebuilding of my own children and grandchildren who were all continued generational victims of the trauma influenced behaviors and choices that resulted from the destruction enforced by my mother and stepfather many decades ago. The little girl, 'Trecia Ann', she survived pure evil as an entire community witnessed, shamed, blamed, and dismissed the visible decay and rot, stench and filth covered, battered and intoxicated body of a young girl who was publicly exploited and shared in the bars of that small town, in her home with boys she attended school with and adult men from the local coalmine. It was as if they all got a thrill from watching her respond to the ring of that little brass bell. They laughed, molested, raped, and purchased for a few bucks or a few beers the sexual use of that young girl right in full public view! Her mother held the power to stop it all, but rather enjoyed having a 'slave' to cook, clean, care for the family as well as entertain the sadistic alcoholic man she chose to marry. Today, I'm so honored and proud to have that little girl's spirit with me. It is through the use of my lived experience, along with a decade of research, and at least five certifications in prevention, response, and trauma; I've assisted a few hundred survivors through the multilevel process of rebuilding and reclaiming their voice, their safety, their freedom! I've trained law enforcement, healthcare, childrens service investigators, our school educators, and co-presented in trainings with some outstanding experts in the field. For the many I've assisted or empowered, they continue becoming thriving survivors, advocates, authors, speakers, and most important of all; they are healing their children and grandchildren! It is a truly beautiful experience and I am so amazed to have been a spark, a resource, or a friend in their life reclaiming freedom. The adult children of generations past have broken through the glass ceiling and finally there is a hint of change in the world. "A lifetime filled with daily torture, tragedy, and pain creates someone completely different than we should have been. We feel that person inside, but our lives are altered by the emotional and physical suffering. We cover it up and hide it deep inside through substance abuse, which falsely helps us believe we are doing fine. The extreme physical and emotional injuries leave our mental and physical selves terribly impacted. Thankfully there is more information and resources of help available today for all types of adverse or traumatic experiences. We have specialized therapeutic help and healthcare professionals developing new ways to identify and assist persons harmed or at risk of harm. We have so much more to do, so please help by having casual open conversations with your friends, family, coworkers, leaders, and especially our kids. Teach them early how to avoid both online and in person harms. Encourage adults and kids both to use the BDA Buddy Skills 2.0, which you will find through my list of assessments and prevention strategies. "My Justice' was written through my own beginning of acknowledging and releasing the personal destruction of the girl once known as 'Trecia Ann'. It is not an easy read, but it has opened many eyes about the reality of evil that occurs inside our homes, against those too small to protect themselves or understand what's happening. It was published to release the thick layers of trauma, sex trafficking, and disfiguring neglect. It is the voice of the enslaved child who existed only to answer the ring of 'his' bell, and the enforced burden to keep my own private terrorist alive. 'My Justice' is NOT SUGGESTED FOR ANYONE UNDER 16 years of age. It discusses the permanently wounding life and the cycle of destruction that held me in tolerating ridicule, control, and violence in my adult relationships. This truth was published to inspire others to take an in-depth look at their life and behaviors as a result of their past, in hopes they too will better understand their suffering today, the continued relationships with the parents and family who inflicted those harms, and finally breaking free from that pain so they can reclaim their voice and their true sense of freedom! We always have the opportunity to learn that we are worthy, capable, incredibly strong, compassionate, and filled with endless possibilities. It is a choice. It is a conscious decision to dig into our trauma, take ownership of our own failures, the harm our choices have caused, and the work we need to do to change it and succeed for ourselves and our families. It is such an honor to have 'My Justice' used at the collegiate level for psychology classes, upcoming therapists, and educators. Today my life is very blessed. I'm finally safe, feel truly loved, finally feeling the magic of life! Always choose to see your star and how it shines on others in your journey. My greatest power only began to show when I first made the choice to end the violent relationships and behaviors around my children; to give them something better, something SAFE!! In choosing to share my own story, I've also gone the serious extra step to educate myself through years of research, attending training opportunities, and collaborating with other advocate resources focused in human resilience and healing from abuse, sexual harm, and sex trafficking. Today there are experts digging deep to recreate help and healing. I've chosen to use my past as a way to inspire a greater good and; hopefully, somehow change the cycle of tragedy in our homes so that we empower our kids to live a more positive path. The best education we can give is healing our survivors of traumatic experiences so we understand what they felt then and what they wish they would have had available; those who could have and should have said something. We can change things for our life today, but best of all in healing our wounds, we give communities a supportive working strategy in assisting the people in our lives. One step at a time, one caring soul at a time, we can give them a path to changing our human society as a whole. This is a tell-all, which was written in the midst of my third nervous breakdown as I struggled to put all my distorted pieces back together, and help my children understand how the violence I tolerated against me invaded their well-being. My children have always been my world, but my behaviors, lack of healthy parenting and life skills, and an inability to remain stable have caused another generation of suffering for my grandchildren. This is a very difficult thing to watch and the continued tragedies that seem to keep affecting the choices in my family. Writing this book was only the beginning of trying to release all that has haunted me for so many years. I have finally removed his thick, cruel, coal-stained hand which trapped me in fear for decades. Those hands and his evil, her housemaid and caregiver; created a slave, and that slave submitted to horrific and brutal attacks but always felt it was her burden to bear. I lived with that hand holding me down, continually terrorizing and silencing, stealing my voice to protect their pure evil. Throughout decades the dysfunction caused by the chaos inside my head would affect every relationship, my children, and cast a shadow of darkness on everything good in my life. Living in the true spirit of freedom, I have now become a strong advocate against the life cycle of human destruction. If we want to control our life and achievements today, then we cannot live stuck in the tragedy of hardships and pain. Life is meant to be lived, to be enjoyed, to see what you can do and what you can achieve, to find out what is important to you. We all become adults. We all have a burden to bear. Stand up and keep moving, keep living, keep dreaming. You have two choices in recreating and rebuilding yourself. Do you stay stuck in the dark shadows of your past? Do you dig deep and find that spirit that kept you alive so that you can become the proud, strong, capable, resilient, kind human being? Which do you choose and how will that choice affect your children and theirs? We can be supportive, and provide resources and suggest help so that families suffering from addiction or past trauma can find a recovery balance to rebuild their family into a more positive life pattern. We will recover, we will rebuild, we will conquer the pains of yesterday to live in the true sense of life, freedom, and safety today. Patricia 'Trish' McKnight Author: 'My Justice' Fndr/CEO: Butterfly Dreams Alliance, NFP Mentor/Advocate/Speaker/Survivor

3 thoughts on “Clearing the head…Clearing the shame…

  1. Dear Tricia,
    It was so nice to speak with you yesterday. While sitting in a formal English Garden surrounded by beautiful yellow roses, my thoughts drifted to you and all the wonderful things you do for others. Tricia, your life has had such great meaning and purpose, as you have had such a positive impact on the lives of many you know and so many more you will never know nor ever meet. Still, your voice is a beacon of hope and illuminating a road of courage and enlightenment.

    I am eager to see that photograph we spoke of yesterday my dear friend. In the meantime always know how much I appreciate you and all you do and will do.

    And lastly, it is so great to see you write again!!

    With my deepest admiration,

    Peter Thomas Senese
    Founder
    The I CARE Foundation

    1. Dear Peter,
      Your words as always are so deeply comforting. I cannot believe that my story captured your heart and your attention. You have been an incredible supporter and have made a lasting impact on my life. I see all that you give of yourself to others; all of those children who your organization help return safely and I so admire you. I am truly thankful to have connected with you and it is often like a “pinch me I’m dreaming” to be where I am today, safe & loved. I’m doing some more writing today as I was thinking of you and your words to me on the phone the other day, so you will be getting some big time kudos my friend.

      For all that you inspire within me, thank you 🙂

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