My voice is ‘My Justice’

This blog started back in 2011 right after publishing ‘My Justice’, and in finding my peace, I have been inspired to make my journey public. You might think like I do…. ‘What makes her story so special?’ Absolutely nothing! I’ve told myself that since the very beginning, which is why it reads ‘a novel by’ on the cover. I honestly felt then and still do; my life (in any form) does not deserve anything special. It is, however, a very true story; clearly stated in the book’s bio, but definitely in no way anything specifically special about what happened. There are hundreds who have published their stories. Millions who are survivors today. My body is still covered with the physical scars, decayed broken teeth, but amazingly not all the emotional chaos and triggers I once carried. I still feel those doubts and fears. I still feel some of the shame and guilt in my adult choices, but my history made me who I am; a survivor!

Today I’m in a phenomenal place! I’ve been in a stable, kind, loving relationship for fifteen years. He was the key to my recovery and I had zero expectations when we met. I had no clue he would be someone who would truly care about all those deep dark sorrows. It amazed me when he listened and experienced the many ugly, tear-filled healing moments of my recovery. He heard all of the tragedies that created the submissive, alcoholic, shattered woman who was curled up crying like an infant; screaming as I asked how he could love someone like me, but amazingly he admired the woman who had somehow made it through.

The relationship gave me the deep sense of peace and acceptance I had always longed to find. He gave me safety, admiration, gentleness. It was fabulous! So, why in the world would past creep back in and threaten all the beauty of this life? It almost broke us. I wasn’t sure how to handle this huge change in my life pattern of bad choices. This is when the dreams came rushing in the night. It was when I couldn’t sit still and my head was pounding constantly. It was a change that brought about many physical diagnoses from injuries and my third nervous breakdown, (breakthrough). Little did I realize that in my journey to find counseling for my physical pain, I would connect with a therapist who asked me to dig through my history to better understand, which then helped me put down those heavy bricks I’d been carrying.

In quite the literal sense, my voice started as this twisting knot burning in my spine, then came charging out with fire fueled by rage and pain. I journaled each day; forcing myself to work through each memory; both good and bad. My only focus was getting it out of my system. There was no intention of taking those painful entries and turning them into anything public. It was just a way to get the chaos of a lifetime out of my head. Writing it out helped me put it into little sections of time and deal with each one in it’s own grieving process.

When we got a new desktop I started researching every word of information, every possible connected study about why my history was causing all of the present problems. I searched out different types of self help and recovery tools. When the pain and injuries got out of control I was forced to give up working. This meant I lost my benefits and along with the benefits went my therapist. There I was trying to hang on desperately to my amazing new life, but crumbling in all that had surfaced; lingering in turmoil through the quiet moments each day. I was trying to figure out how to express the intensity of those fears and tears ‘Trecia Ann’ wasn’t allowed to release. It was screaming, crying, judging, hugging, comforting the unbelievable child that endured; not only did she endure but she grew into a mothering soul. She had lived her life comforting and serving everyone except herself.

My voice flowed into my fingers, but I had to give myself time to start at the beginning, in a good place; the young child of divorce carried some of my favorite memories. Then, the instant when I came face to face with the evil that destroyed who I was right down to instilling a hatred of everything I was; feeling my very existence was horrendous on it’s own. It was only two weeks later when that same evil first violently molested me in front of my brother and two neighbor boys on the night of my mother’s bridal shower. He attacked with terror and force for more than a decade; both parents committing acts that would silence me for the next thirty years.

In every keystroke I felt more powerful. It was a terrible process that lasted nine long months, and that was just trying to write it through. For me, love and acceptance was everything, but I was taught to suffer severe attacks to be deserving of whatever little good happened to spark through. The worst of everything was that I grew up in the middle of town, attended the same school system everyday, grew up around family, neighbors, classmates, and JOHNS who passed through our home. It was all allowed to happen fiercely and publicly, which meant it was pretty much the only way I knew how to survive until my late thirties when I began to see what my tolerance was doing to my own children.

My voice was My Justice when I touched the keyboard and let ‘Trecia Ann’ tell her own story. She took complete control and I allowed her to surface in every way possible. Both good and bad I needed to give her control so I could begin enjoying and experiencing all the happiness in life, building new incredible ‘normal’ mom relationships with my children, and actually being loved through every moment of the years to follow. This is what I have gained in first accepting that I absolutely needed to follow this journey through my past if I wanted to experience all the happy moments that I am blessed to experience today.

My voice was My Justice because laws were not in place to allow any form of legal repercussions and since it was my parents, being public meant losing all those distorted family connections; breaking that obligation of secrets and silence. This is how it worked out for most survivors of these acts that could never be described in legal language and most definitely was not discussion through general public.

It wasn’t a crime to beat your children; being molested was pretty much expected. We had a written law, which was an addendum to the Social Security Act, signed back in 1963. The Statute of Limitations on that law against child abuse, only allowed for three years after the last act of abuse. Then, through many more years, it was written to give ten years after sexual abuse (if there was a previous report made). This was Illinois law until 2016! This is when the first law allowing a Zero Statute of Limitations was signed into state law. This applied to sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault of a minor. It did not apply to trafficking of a minor. Guess what became my new mission!

In 2014, with the support of a few really incredible advocates, the research began to amend the law to include involuntary servitude/sexual servitude of a minor, and trafficking in persons of a minor. This would extend the statutes to permit a minimum of twenty-five years after victim’s eighteenth birthday! The update was signed into law three years later, August 2017, as an amendment to Illinois kidnapping statutes. Today survivors who have experienced these atrocious acts can choose to bring forth charges of criminal or civil action. There is now a path to legal justice for those who needs, and should be permitted, to imprison their offender even if that offender is/was a parent.

My voice was My Justice when I chose to become an advocate. I built a public profile on Facebook and started by promoting the book, but it became so much more in trying to help other survivors and victims, that it is now almost nil about the book. It became about building relationships and connecting as a source of hope and help. It became hosting a blog talk radio program for advocacy and support for others to feel encouraged to share their own story anonymously via the public radio format.

Little by little I saw this amazing army of survivors who discussed available research on trauma recovery to connect the dots and rebuild. We discussed the grief of what happened, along with the challenges and losses of going public, the lack of legal action, the all too common familial history that created a cracked and crumbling foundation in our adulthood. We interviewed other amazing survivors who had become advocates, published child sexual abuse prevention books and programs. We discussed recovery services, community attitudes, generational and all other connected problems with mental/emotional challenges, physical injuries, substance addictions, sexual promiscuity, relationships, criminal behavior, and the worst of all; the cycle of creating abusive personalities from their own deep trauma.

My voice is still My Justice in the creation of Butterfly Dreams Alliance, NFP; a reliable source of help and a charitable trust for almost three full years. Helping more than one hundred clients, becoming part of the task force and changes throughout Illinois. This is pretty outstanding when I think about where I was ten years ago. Personally, I’m betting that ‘Bink’ often wishes I was still the ‘silent little mouse’ he met all those years ago. Of course, I’m speaking comically in that comment. I think a part of him will always want the fun living, risk taking woman he met, but I also know he respects the journey and the cause that have become the purpose created from three decades of tragedy.

If you’re a victim or survivor of abuse, violence, sexual harm or human trafficking, the first thing I recommend is appreciating the power of your voice. You don’t have to seek legal action, but you can. You don’t have to talk with a therapist, but you can. You don’t have you rely on just one source of help, and I’m willing to bet you will need at least a few different resources and tools to help you through.

Letting your voice be your justice is the greatest gift you can give to that wounded soul still hiding in the shadows of shame. Let your voice release the burden of blame, shame, and secrets. Let it breathe, scream, cry, plead, and be your testimony of truth. Your truth matters. Your voice matters. Your tears and fears matter. In every person who has been harmed or distorted by the human history of childhood destruction, you carry everything you need to reclaim and rebuild your life. You are not what happened to you. Those are moments in your history. You survived because you have a future and that future is not filled with torment and pain. It is waiting for you, and I do hope you take a chance to really change all those sorrows into brighter happier moments and memories.

‘All things are possible with you in the active equation’ —

Thank you to all those who have walked this journey with me and encouraged me to create ‘My Justice’.

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 “My voice is ‘My Justice’

  1. Patricia McKnight;
    You are a star in the sky for so many of us, as yourself whom have been there! It doesn’t go away! And it isn’t fair for even one(1) person to go thru this. Be safe and happy. Please continue your writing!

  2. You continue to share the pain of so many. You share my last name (maiden name of mine). I just want ‘again’ to thank you for helping so many share vs. holding in their lives of abuse. I hear a child cry at different times of the day/night and wonder if I am imagining it or if someone is hurting a child close by. Maybe thinking too much about the neighborhood children and wondering if they are safe. Are they with their real parents is there something I could do more than listen and wonder each night if the screams are the trains’ wheels breaking to slow a bit? Feeling the police would know if something was wrong, yet at the same time knowing that is far from the truth! Bless all that are saved and by a teacher, friend, stranger, or police officer! Control is out of hand. What this world had and is doing to the children and the adults who have grown and survived the abuse somehow!

    1. Ms. Gwen, are we related somehow? It is a quite popular last name! About the cries you ‘think’ you hear, it may be your inner child if they are deep inside. However, it’s more likely a child nearby. If you see the children in your neighborhood and they look withdrawn, neglected, suffering in silence; report your suspicions and you can always call 911 or your local police to request a welfare check. If you say you think someone is hurting a child, I hear a child screaming from the home located at….. – they are required to go check immediately. If they do not, then call the Child Abuse Hotline for your area, which can be found by Google search for your county/country. They have to follow up within 24 hours to check the status of the children in the home. You can do this report completely ANNONYMOUS!! For the police and the Child Abuse Hotline, Human Trafficking Hotline, Domestic Violence Hotline – if you’re worried enough, please do not let the cries go unchecked. What we see on the outside, is always quite minimal to what actually happens hidden quite perfectly within the confines of our homes and the dominance of parental authority. My blessings to you always ❤

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