My skin and her neglect

Friends I’d like to share a very personal part of me with you. Many of you have heard me talk about the severe neglect of all basic human needs and caring, which I endured throughout twelve years while living in Freeburg Illinois and attending the same school district for six consecutive years. (I dropped out in my sophomore year so that I could go to work, hoping to find some escape).

The video I’ve uploaded here was just recently taken so that I could share in a few direct press contacts I’ve made, which if you’d like to forward to anyone please do so. It would help share the message in a big way!!!

Thankfully after leaving home and being able to bathe the sores and infection cleared right away, but sadly the scars never will. This is my constant reminder of hell!!!

The inability of being able to safely bathe in my home led to the horrifying scars you are about to view. At the age of twelve I made the conscious choice not to bathe and be trapped in his most favorite torture room. My mother would never intervene and ask him to leave me alone, as I’ve shared she had given me to him like property when they first married; I was five.

We had excellent health insurance and all medical would have been provided had she chose to do the right thing and at least take me to see a doctor, but I rotted for four years before that ever happened. It wasn’t until just before quitting school that I was finally taken to a dermatologist for evaluation. By then the dirt crusted deep in every crevice of my body and what had started out in a rash had then ate away at my almost every inch of my skin, which you’ll see what has been left behind.

No medication or treatment was given after the doctor did his biopsy for testing. We were given a jar of Ucerin cream and sent on our way. I don’t know what the doctor said to my mother, for he took her in another room when he was done checking me. I do know that she berated me the entire way home about how ashamed I should be because I look like that, how disgusting that you don’t even bathe, do you know how bad you stink, how dare you embarrass me like that, on and on and on…..  


My parent’s both worked so the money in our family was pretty good, at least for those times. He was a certified electrician with the coalmine and she a bartender, having left the restaurant then. We should have had what we needed in the house with just five of us there. Hell I supported myself and three kids on much less than this in the 90’s. However, it seemed my parents couldn’t even afford toilet paper or tooth brushes, let alone sanitary napkins and such. You see where I’m going with this right? It was horrible conditions and there was my older brother and younger sister; but I was the target child. The child who did the cooking, laundry, cleaning, child care, and also had to tolerate the beatings, molestations, rape, exploitation, trafficking and whatever else he could think of.

When ‘My Justice’ was compared to the incredible work of Dave Pelzer and his autobiography ‘A Child Called It’, that somehow gave me a sense of validation. It meant that finally someone had heard my voice and all the pure evil that was my world. It didn’t surround my world, because there wasn’t any form of Domestic Violence or other such things going on. It was just them using me as their property and not seeing me as a human being or deserving of human needs.

So as embarrassing and shaming as this short clip is, please don’t leave me negative comments or degrade me any further than has already happened. This is to share how the entire community all turned away from what they saw with their eyes and could not ignore. The girls in the locker room at gym class all witnessed the disgust, whispered, pointed and shamed me. But hey, isn’t that what kids do?

The teachers and parents all made sure to avoid any contact with me for fear of catching something. The girls were told to stay away from me and the boys were told never to date me. This was my hell and almost everyone in the community played a part in someway. It is those adults that I hold responsible. You don’t see a child covered in this type of disgust and do nothing. Especially the school system, the law enforcement and others who had the authority to intervene.

Where the hell were you people and why in the world didn’t you say something? ANYTHING???

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

12 thoughts on “My skin and her neglect

  1. I watched your video Babe. Thank you for having the courage and foresight to make it. These are the sort of triggers hard to take because it makes me so angry on your behalf.

    I believe there is a young 9 YO boy who needed this video. Can you help me to know how to reach out to him? I have always felt sure there was a link to his lack of cleanliness. His whole appearance and countenance says abuse. I’m not afraid to speak up but he is a VERY closed little boy.

    He is a playmate of our family member, who visits often. He is very unkempt, unclean, NO eye contact. Even if I say look at me, he turns his face but averts his eyes. His hygiene is bad but recently he somehow smeared feces all over toilet and surrounding floor when he went to the bathroom. He didn’t have diareah. My daughter thinks he just hasn’t been taught. I’m sure something deeper is going on. Do you have any suggestions?

    I can not imagine how you endured and I am sorry you had to. Shaking my head.

    Keep going my friend. Thank you.

    1. Dearest Catherine (Duffy) – first let me thank you for your support, it is so truly appreciated. I am highly concerned about the little playmate you mentioned. Indeed there is something deeper going on. The first step I would take is to show extreme kindness towards him, patience and even begin to possibly encourage him to wash his face or make sure to wash your hands, little things such as this. If there is a possibility for your family to even give him clean clothing to wear and make him feel like he is like everyone else and deserves to be respected and treated with kindness. The next step would be to talk with the local police and child protective services in your area. Call them and make an anonymous report of severe neglect for his care. Indeed, I also fear something much deeper is going on so if there is anyway for you to build up his confidence and sense of safety with you and your family or other family members, this would instill a sense of relief and may give him the courage to speak about what is happening or how his parents are not caring of him or his needs. Sometimes it is difficult to get the police and child services to respond, so if they disregard, don’t give up on him. Be a person a voice that he doesn’t have and keep reporting until you force them to respond. I am so grateful that you care enough about his welfare that you are asking for help and advice on how to influence his world in a positive and safe manner. If you wish to learn other SILENT SIGNS of maltreatment please visit and click on the tab for CHILD ABUSE. There is a slew of information I’ve built there that I’ve not seen shared on other sites. It may help you see other signs in other children around you. Many big hugs for your kindness, caring spirit, and tender comments – thank you, trish

      1. Thank you for your response Survivor. The boy, “S” comes to our house frequently like I said as a playmate to my family member. I interact with these kids all the time. I am an “elder” to them, so I establish my role to them as such.

        I have considered this from many angles and calling authorities was a consideration, for half a second. This area is not sensitive to the signs of abuse and at this point all I have is bad hygiene.

        I treat him as a regular kid because he definitely has the “out cast” demeanor. When I talk to the kids though I teach them to look at me out of respect and like I said he will turn his head & avert his eyes.

        I have had the suspicion and have really gone out of my way to develop a closer relationship with him through events at our home. I MAKE it so the kids have to interact with me. I feel like my best bet is for him to speak up. We can & would call authorities immediately. It’s just a process getting through to this child because he is locked up tight.

        I don’t know WHO is harming “S” but I try to get closer to the immediate family members of his also. I let them know how much I think of their son & grandson and that we enjoy him coming over and have a lot of respect. I won’t bore you with details but I try earnestly to be pro-active on his behalf.

      2. Sorry I had to break up my response.

        Basically I’m just wondering if there is a way I can approach him on a personal level. I’m not afraid of anything except losing contact with him and I may only have one chance.

        When the incident of the feces smeared in bathroom, it seemed to me like a scream for help. My daughter dealt with him because she was one who discovered. I tried hard to stick close to the kids to see if there was a crack in “S” resolve to be silent. It didn’t happen.

        Kids love me because I love them. We have lots of kids at our house & he sees the relationships we share. He won’t let his guard down.

        We have three kids that we feel strongly, the red flags are indicators of child sexual abuse. They are all at different levels in trying to rescue. This is where “S” is.

        Thank you again for the video and response. The video left a life long impression on me and that is a good thing, in the face of wicked abuse.

      3. Dearest Duffy, you are doing all the right things by allowing him to feel like he is one of the kids, one that is as accepted as the others. I think I would really start trying to help him learn basic hygiene, it’s a skill he sees others doing, but he just doesn’t know because he hasn’t been taught. This will also help all of you develop a safe repo’ with him, one which could ultimately save him and his spirit. It’s a slow process and takes time because he is so ‘locked up’ in his uncaring and neglectful world. Give him space and don’t push too hard, just comfortable and constant will help him learn to trust. I know that it is painful, but in a few months you may be able to get him to talk about what’s happening. Maybe asking innocent questions, ‘Does mom teach you how to wash your hands before dinner, we do this to keep the germs away’ or perhaps, ‘Do you like bubble baths, aren’t they fun to play with the bubbles and splash around’ – this hopefully will allow him to respond without feeling as if he is being interrogated. I hope this helps, please keep me posted. You can always email me direct at and I will do all I can to help with these questionable children and your suspicions. My best Duffy, keep that armor up as these kids need you in their world. big hugs for your courage 🙂 trish

  2. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I had the same reaction, but it wasn’t nearly as severe. It was (a) to avoid undressing and (b) to keep him away. It didn’t work very well, but it certainly prompted other people to be unkind. To anyone who arrives at this page, SEE THE SIGNS of abuse and stop being so damned passive when someone else is obviously in trouble.

    1. Shelagh, dear thank you so very much for you comments. I too am sorry you had to go through all that you did. Sadly there are so many of us today who are sharing horrendous acts of abuse, violence even torture. I am honored you shared such strong words for others to SEE THE SIGNS OF ABUSE and as you put so well, ‘stop being so damned passive’, love it 🙂 huge respect, trish

  3. Trish reading about this in your book “My Justice” this brings it even more into the light of what you went through. Reading about it was horrifying enough for what a 12 year old had to do to protect herself from the evil, that forced you to save yourself. But then actually seeing all the scars left on your skin, just breaks my heart. I FEEL SO MUCH OUTRAGE, that your “mother” could let this go on, could let the monster destroy a little girl, destroy her life forever. She is just as much a monster for letting this happen to you. How? Why? could she let it go on? To me you are a heroine in every way. You have lived through more than most of us could ever live through. You have now given back to so many. That little girl, deserved love, deserved to be treated with respect, but sadly that was not the case. Those dancing blues eyes would not dance for a long long time. But now that little girl, can come out from the dark shadows, is now safe to play in the light of the day without fear. Those dancing blue eyes can now dance one more. Hugs and Love to you Trish. ❤ ❤

  4. Mary, my dear beautiful friend, you have played such a huge role in those ‘Dancing Blue Eyes’ coming back to life. Michal’s artwork and your words, the words which you had put into song & video, OMG, how incredible is this. In fact I do have to share your newest poem, video, and song here on this site as I have and am doing on the website. What a magical present indeed 🙂 Who would have thought all those years in that nightmarish hell would bring me to where I am today. If my story, my voice, has played a part in the empowerment or recovery of anyone at all, then it was truly worth the battle. I love you dear friend and am so honored that you have given me the magic and the wonder of those Dancing Blue Eyes once again ❤ big hugs sweet lady!!! trish (Watch for a very special blog to share all that you have created and what has been inspired in your healing and gracious soul)

  5. Aww Trish,thank you, but I just did what I thought you so well deserved. To live through what you did all those years, shows what a survivor/thriver you were and are now. Somewhere deep inside of you , was your fighting spirit, that kept you alive to become a warrior, a shoulder for those who need it. I wish with all my heart that you never had to endure all that you did. God was right beside you, guiding you along your path, that led to your brighter tomorrows, where you could share with others, what that monster stole from you. You have inspired so many, me included to find our voice and tell others ABUSE NO MORE!!!! Those Dancing Blue Eyes will forever dance, and NOTHING can ever destroy that…Love you Trish..Hugs to you my friend.. 🙂 ❤ ❤

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