What it really takes to create a change in the cycle of Family Harm & Trauma

ocean header     Why do survivors of Child Sexual Assault, Child Trafficking, and extreme cruelty continue to tell their stories? Because our human society is still dismissing the depth of trauma and the life affecting changes from being a sexualized and/or brutalized, (even severely neglected) child.

We hear about African Child Brides and are horrified, as we should be by the topic of young girls either being tortured, sold, or given away as if they were property. We send money around the world to help lift women and children from brutal harm in almost every country. However, here in America, where we have a developed Constitutional Right to be PROTECTED UNDER THE LAW, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, economic or geographic residence; here where we already spend an estimated $145 Billion(1) every year for prevention & recovery services from these crimes; here we still have such pandemic measures of destruction and sorrow swirling around us everyday.

The overall levels of family related harm never ceases to amaze me. Even with all of the laws listed in our Criminal Statutes, Inalienable Rights of our American Constitution, and United Nations General Assembly Universal Declaration of Human Rights; which all of these specifically outline what is NOT tolerated behavior against another human being. Still 1 in 3 children live with some form of dominating abusive behavior; 1 in 9 are confirmed sexual harm. Children’s Bureau Child Maltreatment Report FFY 2011 (DO NOT FORGET THESE ARE ONLY THE REPORTED CASES. Allowing the same formula as provided in the CONGRESSIONAL STATEMENT OF 2012  ‘FOR EVERY ONE REPORT THAT IS MADE AT LEAST SIX OTHERS ARE NOT) WE CAN SAFELY ESTIMATE A 1 IN 3 RATE OF SEXUAL HARM, WITH AN ALARMING 1 IN 15 AMERICAN CHILDREN/YOUTH LIVING IN HIGH RISK OF BEING TRAFFICKED/SHARED/EXPLOITED BY THEIR ABUSER.)

How in our modern society is this still possible? Why do our numbers of harmed persons by someone in their home & family circle still continue to climb every year? Did you know that our Child Maltreatment Reports, entered across the nation of those reported is more than 3.7 Million every single year for the past decade? HOWEVER, ONLY 1.2 MILLION EVER RECEIVE TREATMENT OR ASSISTANCE.

So what can we do to change this reality for our kids and our society as a whole? I can tell you that since Nov 1997, it has been my personal focus to change how my negative and tolerating choices had influenced my children’s young lives. I’ve talked to them since I first started gaining a better understanding of the what & how of their suffering through my own recovery and life changing developments. Constantly reinforcing that it is a choice to act against another being or to dominate them by way of control or fear; It was absolutely necessary to make certain they understood how wrong this behavior was and how distorted we can become as a result of those influences.

My strongest focus of this was to make certain my son understood that HE could not, should not, and I would NEVER tolerate him believing that women were sex objects, or there for his purpose at all. I refused to raise a man that believed women were his to control or dominate, to use in any sexual form and to dismiss any belief that he had a right to expect anything other than an independent mind from any other human being. For my girls, they were always told that nothing could hold them back. I taught them about the need to be self supportive in life, that dependence meant you had to tolerate being de-valued and controlled. I taught each of them that SAFETY was guaranteed in their home, I would not let anyone harm them or intimidate them ever again. I’ve done my best to uphold this even in their adult lives and to continue speaking, publishing my story, our path in rebuilding, and focus in helping my daughters be strong independent mothers today.

So it has been some 16yrs since I first began focusing on my rebuilding and influencing positive life and hard work to succeed. I’ve worked on releasing the trauma of my past, being able to feel confident in who I am as a person, and truly believing that I instilled the correct beliefs in my children. Now, children do grow up and they become their own person, but what they live and are taught in their younger years becomes their foundation for what they actually are able to conquer or rise above today. It becomes the environment and behavior they accept in their homes and allow others to influence in their children’s lives.

Overall I cannot be more proud of who my children are as human beings. Have they lived a difficult path? YES!! Have each of them been able to live in a safe respecting life and influence their children and others around them in a positive way; Like many young adults today, this is still evolving and each child in their own age is working in their own pace. I can say my son climbed above and beyond in developing a good sustaining career, but his fear of failing women as a whole has long been a difficulty. He was highly endearing as a young man, and today his root core is based on human acceptance as individuals and to NEVER cause harm to another or enforce his will upon another. He has countless co-workers and friends who share the same long standing respect for who he is and how he defends all others around him. He is always the first one to step up when they need any type of help and a tender ear that many have turned to and sadly taken advantage of over the years.It certainly brings a ‘Proud Mama Moment’ when I reflect on all of his previous sorrows and the man he has become today, by his own sheer hard work and determination. He was always a good gentle soul, but he has become an outstanding young man with a respectful attitude towards everyone around him. He has never taken advantage or degraded a woman, but instead has given them compliment after compliment and done everything possible to make the women around him shine; helping them realize who they are as individuals and that they have the ultimate power over their lives and their choices. He has inspired them to believe that although they may be living in pain or tragedy today, that many millions live with this, help is available, he will take you to help, and he will support your efforts to become self sustaining individuals, but he has never put them down or caused them harm, so to me; this is a huge success and I am absolutely thrilled.

My daughters have lived in trauma caused by the aggressive harmful behavior of the men in their lives. Their father was an abusive man physically. He began leaving their faces and bottoms bruised from a very young age, and then he chose to run away with them and put my babies in a home with a woman who lost custody of her two young sons because of sexual deviation behavior. She and the two teen sons my ex-husband was trying to help her regain custody of; these three people had such a horrifying impact on my children that when they did come back to live with me there were so many negative behaviors. My daughters have not yet found the strength or ability to face life completely alone until they and their children are safe. It is a terrifying experience and it is a journey that takes a lot of twists and turns. It is financial, it is educational, it is exhausting, it is something that requires a great deal of inner will, a will to become greater than the past harm against you. I continue offering help and speaking to all of my children about my past, our family’s past, and the rise to live in our own safe home and the values they were taught as young children. It is those basic values that are their inner strength and foundation. My daughters are truly beautiful spirited women, and I know that someday very soon they will be just as happy and peaceful with their own life and successes.

It is our childhood and our young adult influences and treatments from others that shapes who we are by the time we are thirty/thirty-five. This is when we begin to really grow as human beings but first we have to control our behavior and what we tolerate against those around us. Without independent financial abilities our children cannot develop their own personal reliability, their own life skills practice, and it will affect their path in a continued dependent cycle and be forced to tolerate whatever treatment their supportive partner deems necessary to inflict or cause against them. It is teaching independence and assisting single moms to rise above and live in a self supporting environment that they give the greatest possible influence to their children. 

Together in what was the aftermath of my horrifying trauma,, changing the negative outlook and behaviors began with providing a secure home. It was OUR HOME, and they were allowed and encouraged to share their opinions and thoughts about what happened inside our home. If they had an objection to a punishment, to a bitch session about something they did or didn’t do, they were absolutely allowed to speak on what they felt was their opinion about the subject. Most times they talked me into reducing the grounding or changing their assigned punishment completely. They were taught to have a voice and to speak up about what they did or didn’t like, even the food I cooked and bought was based on a majority approval. We built a strong foundation to the point that my middle daughter, at just 16, was permitted to directly approach the last abusive boyfriend I had living at our house. She spoke to him about his rage, about busting in their bedroom door, about constantly yelling at them; then I took him to the bank, withdrew the deposit he had given me to help with bills, and told him to find another place to live.

My kids each had a positive loving influence around them and it made all the difference. They lived in a clean home, spotless & sanitized weekly because of my extreme OCD behaviors. We all ate dinner together every night, they knew mom’s whistle meant it was time to come home, and they knew without doubt that if they needed love, a hug, or protected that I would absolutely be there. In the sense that I had finally realized how cruelty had affected their daily world, this became my devoted mission to change and it was not an easy process at all. My struggle to be a single mom, desperate to find one sincere love and be respected like any other being, support my three kids and give them a decent, safe, loving home was the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced and I know I do not have the strength to do it again physically, but I damn sure made it happen if they were still young.

In truth, to feel superior, as if we have some type of right to harm or use another human being at our will and demand our dominance over them is a learned and tolerated behavior. We have lived and accepted centuries old traditions of what is and is not acceptable in our society and especially in our families. We ALLOW someone to control us or harm us without ever trying to find assistance or believe that anyone cares simply because it is what we have always known and it is really challenging to step up and away from those beliefs. A large part of our tolerance for these types of attacking behaviors in our homes and families is done first by what is witnessed as young children. The arguing, addictions, and cruelty inside their home teaches them to either be dominating of others or to tolerate the same. Our very first step is to become watchful of our families, our friends, in the apartment building and trailer parks across the nation. We can either continue hurting ourselves, allowing drugs, crime, gangs, abuse, violence, and sexual trauma to tear us down, or we can make a decision today to change just one thing in their lives, to teach them good, teach them human kindness and respect, teach them appreciation of another human being. We can give them hope and give them a better life, but let’s start with the most important of all; to be safe & live safe.

Our strategy as a society must be to open our minds, our ears, our eyes, and help those who need support. Teach our children from the very beginning that NO ONE, not even their parents & family, has a legal right to actually cause them physical, emotional, or sexual harm. Teach them the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitutional Inalienable Rights to be SAFE; that every human being has a right to live free from harm & free from the fear of harm. We cannot change our past until we begin teaching and living in a new behavior. Survivors of these traumatic and violent homes have been sharing their stories across the country and around the world to empower other persons to speak up when someone harms them or when they witness harm to another. Just as we combat bullying behaviors inside our schools, we should also combat abusive bullying behaviors in our families and communities as a whole.

We cannot allow injustice or harm in any form. It is harmful to commit actions against another human being and it is a crime to wrongfully accuse another of a harmful behavior against you if they indeed did nothing at all to you. This is not a topic we want drama incited teens to accuse without proof of an action. It is not something we can take lightly in false or true accusations. It is a disgusting cruelty to make a false statement because you then are using your own cruel actions to ruin and cause extreme emotional distress, or severe legal ramifications to an innocent person. Our courts across the country are filling up with trials about Child Sexual Abuse, most of them decades old and these victims absolutely deserve justice because they were definitely violated against. Trust me I would absolutely relish the opportunity to get the women and two young men who harmed my young children in court for their crimes, but since the kids were so little at the time, there are few true memories they can put together, but it is still there inside their spirit and it will always be a part of them.

Honestly there are more victims out there of different levels of trauma and they certainly know this suffering; they should be able to hold those who harmed them accountable for their choice to act on their deceitful behaviors. I know we also have to protect the innocent persons who are having life destroyed because of false reports of these crimes. There are adults who use false reports of harm as a custody issues in family court. There are also teens who report falsely because of their anger, jealousy, or targeted behaviors with complete disregard of what it does to that person, their career or life path, and whether or not they spend the next 20 years in prison for something they absolutely did not do. We have a responsibility to teach appropriate reporting of these crimes and to ensure that justice is served for those who indeed offend against others. At the same time, we must ensure that innocent people are not kept away from their children by a false accusation, something that is twisted by suggestive investigations and over zealous child protective service caseworkers. We have a responsibility to uphold a true justice in our society as a whole, to respect the need of evidence of behavior or of offending crimes before we actually prosecute and send innocent men and women to prison or condemn them in a Sex Offender Reporting Status for the rest of their lives.

If you know anyone who reports an offense, of which there is no real evidence to support; be courageous enough to maintain your true sense of justice and contact someone immediately about the possible false report. Standing by and doing nothing when our justice system is twisted by angry or vengeful people, when we allow our systems to be used as a manipulated weapon, rather than protecting the very foundation of our American Freedom; this will only allow the corruption and greed, the pain and possible prison death of an innocent person. Do not allow yourself to be used as a weapon of destruction and pain. Let your true spirit shine and become a warrior in the rebuilding balance of our human society as a whole.

It is an amazing time in our human history and we should all absorb the life changing possibilities of living in a SAFE SOCIETY. Just imagine how tremendous it would be to give this ability and environment to every child in your country, no matter where you live. Think of the changes we could bring in the health of our planet, our animal kingdom, our rainforests, our traditions, and most of all in the hearts of our children if we can begin making a positive choice for our own lives today. I believe it is the one true thing that can change the path of our human society as a whole. Only love can heal the hate, the pain, the trauma of our centuries old behaviors and lifestyles around the world.

 Be strong for you, because you make a difference in someone’s tomorrow!!!!

Thank you for reading and I hope you inspire one precious being in your lifetime

Peace & Strength Always

Patricia McKnight

Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery 

Author: ‘My Justice’          mj-2

Facts Confirmed so far…..

Centers for Disease estimates at least 1 in 4 American Children are dealing with some form of abuse, violence, or sexualized trauma. (2)

National Institute of Mental Health estimates 1 in 5 Americans suffer with some form of mental illness. When helping people deal with mental illness, the illness (90%) of those affected, have endured these types of violent & sexualized traumas.(3)

Department of Corrections estimates at least some 78% of inmates have endured some form of childhood violence or sexual harm.(4)

National Institute of Health estimates some 75% of drug or alcohol addictions first began by trying to cope in a daily suffering environment of harm or sexual destruction. L Khoury 2010 (5)

National Human Trafficking Resource Center estimates 70 to 80% of prostitutes/trafficking victims have first endured brutal physical or some type of sexual trauma in childhood.




1) The estimate totals are separated on all available research so this is the sum total of each reporting national estimate; $64.7 Billion in the estimated medical & productivity loss costing analysis from National Centers of Disease & Control based on data for year 2000, published by Finkelstein; the same person whose finding are still being used to support data today. PS Corso 2007 – President Obama re-enacted the VAWA in 2013, with the following estimate of cost for each sexual assault ranging from $87,000 to $240,776 per rape

2) Centers for Disease/http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/

3) National Alliance of Mental Illness/ http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/

4)  Humanity Against Local Terrorism http://haltnow.ca/what-is-abuse/child-abuse/statistic-of-child-abuse

5) National Institute of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051362/

6) National Human Trafficking Resource Center http://www.nhrtc.org

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

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