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’.