The voice waiting to be spoken

The past seven years I’ve spoken publicly about my ‘Adverse Childhood Experience’ and the life path of continued tolerance of violence. I’ve been extremely blessed to have made friendships and become a ‘Survivor Voice’ through various task force, trauma training, and community events here in Illinois, but even more so are all the survivors I’ve come to know from around the world and being a Regional Ambassador for National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, (NAASCA.org).

The most empowering part has only been happening for the past year since the #MeToo movement first began. It’s a change I know almost every survivor of violating/terrorizing trauma is also feeling; a spark deep inside for their own voice to be heard. When I first started speaking about my history, I was repeatedly told; ‘Your story is just too graphic‘. It actually caused a cancellation for Illinois Dept of Health Women’s Health Conference back in 2015.

It’s true. My story is absolutely horrific, but it’s not like I had much choice, especially during my childhood. It was the 70’s and it was a small rural Illinois mining town. There was not anyone who discussed objecting against any parent, much less getting involved. It wasn’t what we were taught and it’s not what our society believed was any of their business, mainly because it was all so normal.

Back then we hadn’t even begun to talk about child sexual abuse or child trafficking, which victims only connected with the term child sharing. I’ve written before about my case possibly being one of the worst cases of child abuse in Illinois history. Some of you may disagree but in owning ‘My Truth’ it’s truly empowering to know we are finally being encouraged to discuss some of the details of our experiences, especially when we are using those experiences in conjunction with the data & research of today, along with the growing numbers of victims/survivors getting involved to help change this dark course of pain.

The wheels of change move ever so slowly but nothing will change without your participation as a society. Now is the time if you have experienced violence, sexual harm or trafficking; it is okay to seek help and discuss the lasting trauma effects. I saw/shared a great post on Facebook; “The poison chalice of pain will be passed through your family until you decide to heal…’. This is so very true as I’ve learned first hand in the experiences of my children and grandchildren. Regardless of how my story is received, it is the absolute best decision I’ve made and I will never regret being the one in my family that stated with relentless determination; ‘I’m done’!!

Since this is my personal blog site, and for anyone who wants to change what the past has taught us, work to become the person you know you are meant to become; I want to encourage you to either reach out to me personally at trish@butterflydreamsalliance.org, visit our website www.butterflydreamsalliance.org or connect with www.naasca.org – help and support is available and we do not have to feel so isolated in our confusion and roller coaster life. All I ask is that you think about it; practice telling yourself in the mirror what happened to you, let the tears flow, and when you’re ready; connect with a support service or another survivor.

Reach out to find services and strategies to help you get stronger while you change the cycle of negative influence in your family. Remember that rebuilding is a very personal process and there is not one particular service or therapist, or survivor advocate who will work for every person. Our personalities, perceptions, resilience, and traumas are different, so having more than one helped me a great deal. However, for me, the greatest tool was the ‘Survivor to Thriver’ program through ASCAsupport.org; in rebuilding find what helps you most. There are thousands across the country.

More than anything else, for every silenced or isolated survivor there is at least one or more who are still victims. By educating about reporting, warning signs, early intervention, family wellness & rebuilding parents; by using our past we can absolutely change the future for our children and I hope that ‘My Justice’ continues to reach into the souls of our society and let them know just how important it is to help save a life while they are still young enough to know what real happiness and life success can be despite the hardships of their journey.

We can’t go back and change our history, but we can absolutely choose where and how we move forward today!! I hope that those who just won in our mid-term elections realizes just how important enhancing trainings and reaching out to create awareness in every small community is the only thing that will change our learned behaviors taught through anger, mental illness, addictions, and tolerated harm.

Thank you for reading. We are here in Clinton County, Illinois and we want to begin our ‘Survivors World’ support group sessions, and we are posting awareness signs throughout the area. If you wish to volunteer or get involved please contact me directly at the email given above.

We are all #StrongerTogether 🙂

‘Trish’ McKnight

Butterfly Dreams Alliance, NFP

PS – Some of my history as shared with this post of gratitude that somehow I made it through, some way, for whatever reason – I am still alive and I choose to LIVE!!

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Breathe – Change – Live

Are you holding your breath as we wait to hear the final decision about Brett Kavanaugh?

This is a time when survivors are being triggered because as we hear the details of cases come forward; each has its own similarities our history. It is in its true form, ‘Secondary Wounding‘ because we are waiting to see how the future of these types of crimes along with services for survivors and victims will play out. Because survivors either didn’t tell anyone and seek help at the time of the assault against them, or they were children who had no option but to tolerate and adapt to survive; this is why it is ‘Secondary Wounding’. Society doesn’t recognize or concern itself with our being suddenly triggered while driving a car, smelling a certain cologne, or attending a family gathering. We, however, try to bury our panic by the heavy shame we’ve been burdened to feel for decades. It’s been a pattern of behavior that has been the expectation and taught tolerances throughout centuries.

Can our human society see the damage and destruction of these types of offenses? Are we ready to see with compassion while we provide education, awareness, support and early intervention? Let’s use this time to talk with our children and teens to help them understand what types of offenses these are and how no one has a right to harm or use force against another person. We need to educate about what our justice system is expected to provide; prosecution for offenders and punishment for those who falsely accuse, thus making innocent persons victims by overzealous prosecutors who pressure fearful good people into plea deals without evidence of any crime. Can we change our future so that it is equal in the respect for all human life as intended within the writing of our American Constitution and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights?

The greatest tragedy of our society is that we have passed these distorted gender roles and beliefs, behaviors and reactions throughout centuries. The topic of these offenses is not an issue to be separated by political party lines. It’s not a Democratic, Republican, or Liberal issue; it is a human issue. Our expectations should hold our leaders accountable for their behavior and their history should be above reproach. We cannot have a negative attitude and belief in the tolerances any longer. Our justice leaders with the attitude of ‘good ol’ boy’ behavior should not be the ones determining how we handle prosecution and justice for these crimes.

Remember that politicians are people just like us before they started living a more luxury provided life. We need to stop bashing and shaming people who have been assaulted and harmed by these very serious behaviors. It’s time to realize just how many human beings are dealing with a history of fear from personal violence or attacks. Every leader probably knows or was raised during the past generations of harsh home environments and should, therefore, show compassion and not accept injustice or inequality of any form.

**CDC reports 1 in 4 children affected by some type of harm. Picture the homes around you. Do you suspect or maybe know a neighbor, or family member, maybe see yourself living in a distressful situation? Please get help, for them and for yourself. We deserve to live safe, be safe, and live ‘No Longer Afraid to Breathe’.

Live Strong & Fly Free!!

@ButterflyDreamsAlliance

http://www.butterflydreamsalliance.org

The beginning steps of Human Trafficking

 

 

It’s like your emotional brain has a cold

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I know locally in Southern Illinois there is an effort to inform society about Mental Illness and what we can do to help. 

The day to day forms of mental illness you see in family and friends can be anything from the equivalent of I have a cold to I’m having a heart attack. Mild mental illness is quite common in our high-stress life, especially if you’re spending all your time on the internet or social sites worrying about how popular your post or comment might be. This is usually even more stressful or depressing for teens or young adults who have gone through some difficult experiences; they need to feel that acceptance – they fit in – they do belong somewhere.

If anyone asks how we are doing or if they do say something to us; we probably deny anything is wrong and keep on smiling. Only a few open up and say; I’m feeling down. I’m feeling stressed. I’m feeling……

The key words, ‘I’m feeling’; consider if you had a headache, you wouldn’t tell the world but you would probably take an aspirin or drink a soothing tea. If it was there the next day you’d try to figure out why it’s still there; take another aspirin or another soothing tea. Many of us would do this for a week or so, then we would seek some type of medical check to see what’s going on and why we can’t get rid of the damn headache.

Your son or daughter who seems depressed all the time, may not be contemplating suicide, but it doesn’t mean that school, relationships, or work are not getting heavy for them. Perhaps in a teen, you begin to see an increase in acne or lower grades, poor eating habits. Maybe they isolate themselves to the privacy of their room and only rarely interact with anyone. Perhaps in an adult friend, they seem quieter or less open than normal. Maybe you don’t see them outside or leaving the house. Maybe your coworker seems like they cannot concentrate or they are having to focus so hard on work they don’t even enjoy a joke or a smile at the water cooler.

I am this person…… at least one day a week if not more I have to rise above the depression and get out of my own head for awhile.

When the weather is nice, at least warmer, this is usually easier to do. However, if you cannot get away from the thoughts or the stress, there is a high risk of things becoming more difficult rather than easier. If you do not have family around to help, if you are a single parent, if you are just in a challenging situation day after day, or even a few days a week; this should be when you start reaching out for a connection with someone, somewhere. Create an anonymous name and go online to share what’s going on with another close acquaintance. Careful what you share online, however, let’s not give out any personal information; keep yourself and your location safe unless you are sure of whom you are communicating with. Be smarter and more cautious online, because if you don’t actually know the person, then how do you know what they will or will not do with the details you give them.

The problems become more difficult when we carry so much inside and rarely let things out that really bother us.  Kind of like pushing yourself from the common cold to a major illness or heart attack. The common AMI we see in almost everyone at some point just needs a bit of your positive inspiration to lift up the shade for a bit so the light can get in. Use the renewal of warmer weather and all the blossoms of new life, that time when you do Spring Cleaning; clear the clutter and dust out the cobwebs of our emotions once in awhile as well.

When you do see a person with rage problems or violent outbursts, ranting threats and other such things; this is a person who needs some help and if they don’t or won’t get it on their own, then your only option may be to force through some type of legal process if possible or make them an offer they can’t refuse; such as, ‘I’ll take the kids for the weekend while you decompress.’

Mental Illness doesn’t have to be a lifetime prohibitor, it can indeed many times be figured out and treated, to at least prevent some type of harm to yourself or others, especially if you are around children. If you believe someone you know is becoming more withdrawn or more angry; please remember; this is someone you care about. Help them be brave enough to help themselves, even if that means going along for the checkup. Just like if they were worried about a cancer diagnosis, they might be just as worried about a visit with a psychiatrist to evaluate their emotional stability.

In May and all year long, can you make a commitment to just watch out for those people you care about? You don’t need to watch everyone online or in your neighborhood. We are populated enough that most have someone around, but when dealing with a mental illness they may have burned bridges to family and ties that could and would help them today. If you’re a close neighbor or a concerned co-worker you just might be the only light in the tunnel for them. At least be a person who shows empathy, not sympathy or judgement.

See the world with eyes wide open; no blinders to avoid the bad stuff! The bad stuff is real life for someone and they need us to keep the circle of help running through our schools, our health centers, and definitely in our neighborhoods and our families.

**Mental Health can be any form of Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Multiple Personality Disorder or more. Most of us understand there is Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and then Any Mental Illness (AMI). We usually see the SMI cases through the news headlines, and AMI in our friends and family, co-workers & neighbors.

Truth is – https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml

  • In 2016, there were an estimated 44.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with AMI. This number represented 18.3% of all U.S. adults.

Any Mental Illness accounts for these millions of Americans but less than half actually sought out help and/or treatment. Personally, I’m guessing it’s gotta be the stigma attached to being diagnosed. However, maybe it’s because most of us feel depressed and have anxiety about things all the time. We have anger problems, lose control inside our home or at family gatherings but everyone says ‘Calm down’ then moves on to the next family drama.

Only you can be the one to make a choice to address the topic and be watchful of those around you. Together we can create a safer, healthier, happier and more equal society for everyone!!

Thanks for reading

#MHAM #NAMI #NIMH

Be kind 🙂 trish

@ButterflyDreamsAlliance

www.butterflydreamsalliance.org

 

 

 

The everyday beginning steps of Human Trafficking

Thank you #BrittanyJones; Channel 12 News, #KFVS  http://www.kfvs12.com/clip/14043071/march-to-end-human-trafficking-held-in-carbondale

#Torch – Shining a Light on Human Trafficking – SIU Carbondale

Think about that statement for a moment. We are here to ask our friends, neighbors, colleagues, resources, professionals, first responders, care givers, – absorb the power of this horrific statement. This isn’t just an offense busted by FBI  stings and plaguing other countries. This is what you and I see everyday, in communities where the same people do the same things day after day. The beginning steps are the common societal actions and behaviors we have been teaching are acceptable throughout human history. We may not know what the exact list from the experts tells us to look for, but more often than not those first beginning levels of what is and can become human trafficking, enslavement, forced servitude of another human being; regardless of what we want to admit or what we see in the welfare of another person, we need to care enough to intervene early and bring attention to the distress you see in your community. Only rarely do we have the occasion in small communities to be suddenly sold or exploited.

In modern day slavery we don’t just need our justice system ready to take on these offenders and put them away, we need to change our everyday way of thinking about what happens around us. The actions that happen to people we know, people we care about. Not just to our teens and children, but old and young, male and female. If we want any of our social care and justice systems to work, then we have a duty as everyday citizens to take accountability – report offenses that you DO recognize and make certain to do it early. If we do not have educators, medical professionals, law enforcement, neighbors, friends, even family ; those who are the ones most likely to see the signs of distress, then we can not expect to change the possible terrorizing acts which they might be trying to survive in everyday.

You – you are the person who will first see or recognize something that causes alarm.  You have a duty to intervene, to question that person’s welfare, and if you’re unsure take it to an advocate or make some Google searches to understand what signs you are seeing what what it is that might be turning your gut inside out every time you’re around it or see a possible lost soul on the streets, in our businesses, working on our farms, attending our schools, or even when they are coming in for basic mandatory physicals. It’s our time to watch out for the common daily signs of distress.

Understand that I absolutely know what it is like to go through days, weeks, years; waiting, hoping, praying someone would care enough to do something. Someone would believe that I mattered enough as a human being to at least question the multitude of acts and harms they did see almost daily for years. Believe me, I am just one of the millions of adult survivors of these types of daily horrors. When you are inside this type of environment and being dismissed or overlooked by everyone around you, it’s really difficult to believe that you have a voice to ask for help. Young kids, don’t have a clue how to put into words what’s happening until around 16 or so. All they can do is keep trying to get through each day. More often than not – THEIR SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON THEIR SILENCE!!

The common everyday things that happened to me were kind of accepted in Freeburg, just like it is in the rural communities I still see today.  It was just the way we raised our kids and took our rage out on our family. In most communities today, there is always one family the town talks about and judges. My family was that family!!!

There were years that instead of looking at how much they despised my stepfather and what they actually witnessed him doing on a regular basis. Instead of questioning what they witnessed my mother allowing to happen to her little girl, in the condition of her daily needs and care; instead people decided that I should be judged, I should be shamed. Both the adults and the schoolmates condemned and whispered about who I was and the things they heard. They kept their daughters away from our home and refused to let their sons date or hang out with me. In a small community just like what we see in our rural areas everyday; I was that child and teen girl who carried the reputation with boys and adult men by the time I was 13 years old.

It happened at the bar where my mother worked for years. It happened in the private parties with boys I went to school with and who saw me almost everyday. He would arrange it all at our home with a case of beer, giving me solid instructions on how to entice them, then tell him all the gory details when he returned home with my mother. This very known and discussed activity then became private parties late at night in our home, with sometimes 10 or more adult men from the local coalmine. My younger sister trying to sleep in the other room. My mother going in to watch TV in her bedroom; telling me to have a good time as she walked away when his call came in with instructions of what to wear, what to get prepared, even putting the porn movie in the VCR. This happened not because my mother was terrorized or forced to let it happen, but rather because she didn’t want to try and survive with three children on her own, and eventually because she didn’t mind using me as her family caretaker and housekeeper.

It wasn’t just chores we give our kids today. It was every single day and every moment of my day. It wasn’t just the occasional dusting or vacuuming. It was give her a toothbrush to scrub the corners and keep her here busy until I’m ready to send her to bed. Don’t give her a toothbrush or give a damn if she cares for herself at all.

The men got me drunk, the porn was on the television, they passed me around from lap to lap. They got me high, guiding me for this one do this or that one to do that. Around 3 or 4 am, I might be told to go out to the camper on the back of my stepfather’s pickup parked right in front of our house.

Keep in mind we lived in the center of this small town for six consecutive years when his violent reign of terror and the complete neglect of any human kindness was at it’s absolute worst. This type of exploitation, enslavement, sharing, trafficking happened between 11 to 17 before I escaped. He was at that time planning to put me in a trailer, on a private lot, with a new lock and his own private key so we could have ‘our’ parties anytime. I ran the first chance I got; ran into the arms of a man 7 yrs older who beat me, strangled me, almost drowned me, and left me hogtied in a bedroom for 10 hours, dead-bolted in a second floor apartment while he went to work and out for drinks. I’ve had more weapons held to my head than I can count, the first around age nine. Like many from violent homes I rant into the waiting arms of another violent abuser. All with the aide of what I was manipulated with as a child; years of weed and alcohol to cover up the pain. No matter the suffering I must act like I had always been taught; silent, submissive, even protective of my tormentor.

All of the interactions happened for the price of a case beer or perhaps just a couple of glasses at the bar. This was my value, this was the identity that every single person who witnessed the very worst of these offenses unknowingly or knowingly, helped create in just one young girl. Each had their part and in those so easily dismissed and accepted acts they trained a child to become a human being who lived ‘in servitude of others’ until I was about 45 years old.

The young servitude was taught as I grew up to be the only person in our home expected to answer the ring of that little brass bell for years. Constantly, every single day. No wonder my homework was barely done. No wonder I couldn’t concentrate or felt so different, so socially inept around everyone else. No wonder I could barely exist in your world. The only thing I could think about was how to survive the next damn thing that was going to happen.

During these years I was attacked almost daily.  It was so brutally dominating and fearful, that it wasn’t even safe to bathe or take any time to care for myself. For five years I barely took a washcloth to my face, let alone my body.. I was a kid who attended the same school system, walked around in the same small community, who associated with the same people everyday.  I was covered in filth, my front teeth rotted out and broken, my skin covered in sores; ugly infected rashes that have left me scarred and broken with many troubling health conditions today. They saw years of physical violence; bruises across my back and legs from the leather belt he had sliced up to beat me with. Once I got that beating for putting on a pair of my brother’s button up flannel pajamas because I thought they might protect me from him somehow; like a suit of magic armor he wouldn’t be able to touch me. Believe me, I didn’t dare put them on ever again.

So now I ask you; what types of distressful behaviors do you see happening or going on with one of the people or kids you interact with everyday. What do you see on the surface? What do you think might be happening beneath the surface to control that person in such a dominant and cruel fashion? Now let me ask – Why in the hell is it still happening today, everyday.? Not just here in Southern Illinois, but in every little rural and perceived safe community across the country. For thousands – this is everyday life happening in your backyards. There are enslaved, young and old, both male & female; these are the common early steps that become the larger tragedy of human trafficking. There are at risk kids in every apartment building, rich private home, or rundown trailer park. They are trying to endure until they can somehow find a way  to somehow escape and live like everybody else.

Let me remind you; You might be the only one who sees something, or is courageous enough to report something that might first bring attention to any form of those early controlling, neglectful, threatening, servitude acts that happen. We can’t expect our Social Service workers to just walk in and suddenly take action or investigate something, until we make absolutely certain we are reporting it. Take names and numbers, then follow up to make sure they’re doing their job and holding them accountable. Keep reporting and if they still want listen, discuss it with others who witness these acts or who might be able to help them.  Our leading research & health organizations have data on trauma which has been collected for the past ten years. The ones who are responsible for assisting and investigating are just as accountable for their actions and decisions, as you and I are accountable for what we tolerate and teach through our silence.

I beg you, I beg everyone across the country; it’s time to pick ourselves up by the boot-heels and create the society we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in. A society of equality, with true possibility that they can actually succeed in their dreams. To be courageous enough to dream and feel self worthiness. Teach them to believe they actually matter; their life actually matters to the most close knit circle around each and every one of us.

I really want to thank all of you for listening to me here, and the Women’s Center for permitting me to speak at this amazing event. Hopefully you’ll think about everything you’ve felt or heard here today; the empowering energy we have felt together. We really must begin somewhere and this change will take on whatever momentum for community and family wellness that we decide to put into it. We can honestly take accountability and decide whether we will or will not permit harmful and despicable acts among us as a society of incredible human beings. No one deserves this hell for a life. No one should be so easily, casually, or grudgingly dismissed within our communities and closest circles.

When you ask yourself what can I do about Modern Day Slavery, Exploitation, Servitude, Human Slavery, Human Trafficking; please remember to just do something. Look beneath the surface of what you do see. Be the one a shining light on the acts that destroy and cycle through what we see in the common everyday dysfunctions and behaviors that lead our children into danger, our streets filled with crime, a society using deadly drugs and addictions to cover up the pain, mental & physical health problems that might just be our remaining injuries and wounds from the traumas we endured; at least for the ones who actually survive. The ones who aren’t living so isolated and tormented they are driven to complete the acts of suicide, simply because they are suffering but no one is hearing their trapped voices and their rolling silent tears. If we want to be the beginning of a new way, an equal and humane way in our society, then when are we really going to start being the voice of hope and change? Are we going to decide to continue this massive cycle of life altering learned behaviors and distress of others?

Thank you, to everyone who has believed in my voice. You are now my energy and my hope, you are colleagues or resources I depend on to do the very best I can; will those reading this also join us? Today I’m finally starting to believe in my worthiness as a human being. Today I believe in my worthiness of life, without expectation of dominance and servitude.

Be well, Live Free & Really Dream Big because you are the minds and the hearts that will make any possibility of change a reality for the magic that lies within each and every human being on this amazing place called Earth. Always believe anything is possible with you in the active equation of life!!!

 

Trish McKnight

Survivor/Author/Advocate

Butterfly Dreams Alliance NFP

Breese, IL

 

https://butterflydreamsalliance.org/

https://www.facebook.com/butterflydreamsalliance/

 

cropped-bnd11.jpg  It’s been a three year battle here in Illinois, but finally Gov Rauner now has two bills SB189 Sex Crime Against Children Statute of Limitations & SB1842 Involuntary Servitude of a Child & Trafficking in Persons Statute of Limitations updates. Thankfully Rep Jay Hoffman never gave up and stayed determine. Thankfully AG Madigan created update “Hastert Law” Criminal Sexual Abuse & Criminal Sexual Assault of a child. I’m truly grateful to have been a part of these updates. I know it will help many survivors who choose to seek justice.

Going public in your local area to seek justice takes great courage, especially when these offenses are grievous and terroristic. The crucial part is that we are finally recognizing the longterm effect and providing time for the adult person to process what’s happened, put their many shattered pieces back together and then make the best decision for them. Not all have felt relief when facing their childhood offender in the courtroom, it doesn’t change what they did or the way it changed your path, but it should always be the choice of the once victim to decide.

I am a strong, outspoken, determined survivor, National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, Midwest Regional Ambassador; Speaker, Trainer, Mentor, Resource, Researcher and Author. It’s so important we continue to get this news out there. If we cannot make hearing about these crimes, either through news or TV programming; will the victims ever feel like they can come forward and be supported rather than condemned and judged. If we are going to change this learned human behavior against others, against children; we have to be willing to address the issue head on, with the support network ready to heal wounded parents so we can raise healthier children with a more positive family influence.

Right now it is an estimated $150 Billion per year Taxpayer Burden in the lifetime recovery of victims; Education, Employment, Addictions, Medical & Mental Health, Early Disability, Independent Living Challenges. These are the services needed to clean up the mess of a destroyed human being. If we intervene early and provide the appropriate services per the individual and family needs, then we provide a healthier path and a more positive possible individual success; thus drastically lowering the longterm financial burden of recovery. The longer a person lives in a harmful environment the more likely they are to act out against others, use drugs, early pregnancy, state assistance, low level employment. I believe in the quote: “It is more difficult to rebuild a broken adult than it is to raise a healthy child’

Here’s hoping that more education in the Trauma Informed Response & Care; we can empower others to influence victims to stop their own personal cycle from their past trauma and then encourage the communities to provide needed services. As a Human Initiative we can finally make a difference in the historically taught harmful and destructive actions against others, but alone we can only hope to empower a few.

Thank you Representative Jay Hoffman & AG Lisa Madigan for staying determined. Thank you to all the House & Senate leaders who voted to finally update our Statute of Limitations for these offenses. It will not do anything for my case, but I’m certain it will assist many others just by giving them a chance to cope through all that’s happened. Finally we are announcing to those who have abused or trafficked a child; you can be brought to justice at any time; states across the country are updating their statutes and how they prosecute these heinous crimes against children.

Rep Jay Hoffman Press Release SB1842 – Involuntary Servitude of a Child & Trafficking in Persons…….

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 21, 2017 State Rep. Jay Hoffman
618-416-7407

Hoffman Passes Legislation to Crack Down on Human Trafficking of Minors

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Under legislation passed by state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, individuals suspected human traffickers will no longer be able to evade prosecution in cases involving minors due to a technicality in the law.

“Many victims of human trafficking do not have the support structures intact to be able to seek prosecution within a year of turning 18, putting them at an extreme disadvantage,” Hoffman said. “To think that the criminals who commit these horrible acts can get off due to a technicality in the law is unconscionable.”

Hoffman’s measure, Senate Bill 1842, increases the amount of time that a prosecutor has to bring charges against the perpetrator of these heinous crimes. Under current law, prosecutors only have one year after they turn 18 to file charges, Hoffman’s legislation increases that to 25 years.

“The children who are victims of these crimes will deal with a lifetime of trauma and suffering,” said Patricia McKnight, child trafficking survivor and Midwest Regional Director with the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. “We need to be doing everything we can to make sure victims see the perpetrators of these heinous crimes brought to justice and this proposal will help make that happen.”

Senate Bill 1842 passed the House and the Senate is currently waiting to be signed into law by the governor.

###

Patricia A McKnight
NAASCA.org

Accepting conjecture rather than evidence is ruining the lives of innocent men

amscales1       rainbow-butterfly-dreams_thumb.jpg     Bookcvr1.gif

Yes, I am a very strong and proud voice to change the cycle of destruction which most often effects our kids, especially when it comes to Sex Crimes Against Children. However, I must also say that there are more cases of teen girls who use the accusations of sexual offenses to destroy innocent lives. In all the advocacy & education about the prevention and punishment of these offenses, we have become a society that now accepts this accusation without question. We say to ourselves; “She would NEVER lie about such a thing”. Guess what, the teenage child has not changed. If they get in trouble for something they will blame someone else or they will directly lie, even to authority figures, especially if they have some type of anger or resentment towards someone who has broken their perceptions of the teen’s expectations. It is what teens do and many of them do it very well.

In our determination to end crimes against children, we automatically accept their statements without proof of guilt. This has developed because we all push the message that not all acts of harm leave physical evidence, particularly molestation. Unless you have skin cell DNA evidence, any rash can quickly be mistaken as proof. What if the forensic exam and the interview show ‘NO FINDINGS’ of a crime? Should charges still be pressed and the offender still taken into custody? It becomes “He said/She said” and since the accuser is a young girl we just commonly assume the worst.

I push education and awareness of the silent signs of trauma all the time; it’s who I am and the passion in my gut. Now I am seeing how teens are using this manipulation as a way to destroy innocent lives. Imagine if you knew people would believe you and condemn your ‘abuser’ without proof of guilt. Imagine that most of society would so easily accept your statement. Imagine the power a teen would feel when they know if they pushed the prosecutor would most likely offer the best possible plea deal, anything to prevent you having to take the stand and actually testify, leaving you to be cross examined by a skilled defense attorney.

I am learning that more men are having their entire lives ripped apart, having to spend thousands of dollars in hopes to clear their name, having some stranger evaluate all of your behaviors to see if you are a predator, then if there is even five minutes of unsupervised time between you and your accuser; it will take a miracle to keep you out of prison. You loose your job, your family, your friends, and worst of all you have to register for a minimum of fifteen years so that people know you have committed some type of deviate behavior. What a powerful destruction the vengeful teen might feel through their victim’s complete brokenness. The teen suddenly receives all the attention they were not getting before. Their parents begin giving all the support and even if they rarely showed any attention prior to your accusations; now you have the entire school, friends and family who will encircle you with kindness and patience that they never cared to provide before you made your statement. In truth what we are doing is now making innocent good men into lifetime victims. They will never be the same good hearted person who might have been the only person to show any concern for you at all. Maybe their attention was being given to someone else and that’s what angered you into falsely accusing in the first place.

Whatever reason of these false allegations; YOU ARE NOW AN ABUSER!! This is something you will have to carry in your heart for the rest of your life. It is now your guilt that will be judged because of your lies and your false statements against an innocent spirit. Maybe the one you accused is the one you went to for everything, but who will you go to when things go wrong again? Maybe you got some kind of thrill to see how people changed their behavior towards you? Maybe you think you will never be called out on these false statements, but inside you will always know the truth. Sadly, you are not the only one destroyed by your lies. You have destroyed a person’s life with a few powerful lies. Maybe you sent them to prison or perhaps caused a life lasting hell to destroy the good decent life they worked so hard to build. It is now your crime and your own ugly destruction. Now you are no longer innocent. There is no power or sense of achievement in this because you have used such a crucial topic to destroy a good life simply because you got angry about some perceived notion of commitment or love. This is a crime that destroys the lives of millions of children every single day, but now you have used our system and society’s fears as a weapon to kill an innocent soul. Can you lie to yourself forever? Can you lie to your family everyday? Can you look to God, (if you believe in God); can you look at your afterlife and your final judgment without doubt of your acceptance? It’s a fearful thought but teens do this without remorse and without fear of punishment in almost 2% of all investigated accusations.

As a statement from one survivor of vicious traumas and sexual attacks for more than thirty years of my life, it absolutely sickens me to see how both vengeful parents and vengeful teens are using the pity of our society and the laws of our justice system to act out their emotional let downs. It makes me furious to see how easily we allow this to happen. Family and friends stand back and say nothing about their suspicions in the false statements, which makes us part of the abuser’s weapon. If we know that someone is innocent of the accusations against them, we have a duty to say something to those who have the power to hold the accuser accountable and question the details of the statements made. If we do not have at least a pattern of behavior, some type of previous attempt, or evidence of harm; how can our society simply allow these types of cases to continue?

Warn your sons, husbands, fathers, brothers; warn the educators, doctors, police officers, and family around the child. This can easily happen to the man you love, the man you know doesn’t hold a deviate or harmful act in their heart. However, if they make a gesture out of concern or kindness it just might ruin their lives forever.

For instance;

What if a teen send a sex pic of themselves to your son’s phone? Do you know if they keep it or if they share it with others, they become guilty of distributing child porn, but yet NOTHING happens to the young girl who sent the photo in the first place.

What if your 20 year old son is at a party and a young girl posing to be of legal age lures them into the bedroom, or in the car, or in some other similar situation; your son is now guilty of sex crimes against a child.

What if a 30 yr old male, someone who has been close to your family since he was barely legal himself; what if this young man is someone your entire family has turned to in times of crisis (financial, personal, emotional or when your troubled teen girl is acting out). When this adult male does what you expect of them, responding in kindness over and over again, then suddenly after such another incident and thirty minutes of unsupervised time your troubled teen makes a statement to a friend; the wheels of destruction begin. We have developed such a fear of the possibility that ALL MEN ARE PIGS, that this statement begins a vicious cycle of your worst fears and society’s assumption of guilt that it is now their lives that are destroyed without question, without proof, without any forensic findings, and in most cases without even a trial.  Example: I just witnessed a case like this and for six months the prosecutor pushed four felony charges threatening a minimum of ten years in prison; or the day your jury selection is set to start you are suddenly offered a Misdemeanor Indecent Assault with no prison time if you accept their deal.

Yes, it happened and the aftermath destruction of this wonderful young man rips through my soul. How in the world is this our justice system? Well, it’s about the prosecutor’s reputation and how many men we can frighten into taking this type of deal as their best option. It’s ugly and it happens. I am a part of this because of how I constantly push for updated legislation to protect our kids, punishment to the harshest extent of the law, and ending the ‘victim blaming’ status quo of our society. Yes, any of us that are advocates in this mission we have scared society into ALWAYS believing the victim, even without evidence of a crime.

Isn’t this another process that we absolutely have a duty to educate our society about? Should we keep pushing the always believe, or should we be demanding that any type of manipulation of our justice system without evidence of a crime is indeed a crime in itself and the accuser, who then makes some extreme victim impact statement, which can be read and rewritten out of any child sexual abuse hand guide. How do we prosecute the real offenders of these crimes when our justice system is being so easily manipulated by troubled teens who hold grudges in disappointments or anger for some imagined notion?

This damages the reputation of every TRUE VICTIM, every SURVIVOR of these heinous acts. It damages innocent lives and rips people to the point of suicidal attempts, or maybe suicidal success. We cannot allow this to happen. We cannot convict or even charge these offenses without some type evidence of a crime, not just the conjecture and repeated lies of some troubled or angered teen? Teens will lie, they always have and they always will, especially when it’s about attention or getting out of trouble. It is young children, up to about 12yrs old, who do not show a tendency to lie about these types of actions. I don’t know how we can fix this or if we can at all, but I know that I’ve had many mothers and wives contact me about wrongful accusations that have completely destroyed their loved one’s life, yet sadly there is no remorse or punishment for these practiced FALSE VICTIMS.

Help the men you know protect themselves, insist they NEVER be alone with a teen, even if it’s someone they have helped out through most of their lives. It’s sad our society is either not doing anything about these crimes at all or they have become so afraid to speak against these types of teen accusers who can’t make a clear statement, don’t have to make a clear statement, can actually lie and be caught in some part of a lie in their statement; yet our prosecutors push for another notch on their belt; another man registered as a sex offender and condemned throughout the rest of society. We need to investigate more thoroughly and require evidence of a crime, not repeated changes in statements and even direct lies throughout four or five separate interviews. If it’s not consistent and the evidence doesn’t support a crime; quit using threats of prison against someone you know is most likely an innocent pawn in some troubled teen’s manipulation.

Standing up for true justice is the only way we can stop destroying innocent lives!!! Real victims should be furious about the use of something they may never get to be so easily tolerated as a weapon against decent young men.

Written by: Patricia McKnight

Advocate/Activist/Author/Survivor

To change our world we have to heal our past……

 

Have you noticed the multitude of Adult Survivors of Child Sex Crimes who are sharing their collective voices across the United States? Actually if you really notice it’s happening in every country around the world; filling the internet and becoming part of the norm? I must say myself and every other adult survivor never thought we would be able to break our silence, release the ugly secrets, and have our voices matter. It’s outstanding the pendulum swing and it’s about damn time we take a real hard look at what has been tolerated inside our families throughout our human history.

Often inside our homes is now or can become the most dangerous place in the world!!!

National Institute of Mental Health estimates 4.2% of Adult Americans with Serious Mental Illness (SMI)

 

Why the NIMH Data?

What do we absolutely know about Trauma and our Brain; Emotional Response vs Learned Behavioral Patterns?

Let me make clear that I am in no way a licensed or specially trained psychology expert on any level. However, what I can say is:

  • I lived in a tumultuously dangerous environment for 40 years
  • I have worked through my 3rd nervous breakdown and have been a continuous work in progress for six straight years
  • It has taken days upon days of research to be prepared & provide actual confirmed information in hopes of assisting others like myself. In producing/hosting more than 200 online talk radio programs concerning different levels of this topic; our mental health, physical health, and even family health seriously impacted, which then effects our communities, crime, drugs, alcohol, gang and school violence, bullying, work place violence and societal abuses that plagues America’s most vital Freedom; our justice system.
  • I have attended trainings provided by local & Illinois State organizations to provide my certifications in Domestic & Family Violence Assistance and Prevention received by Violence Prevention Center of SW IL in June 2013. Also certification in Human Trafficking 101 which was provided by Rescue & Restore Coalition of East St. Louis in March 2014.
  • To provide assured information in the website and support provided by Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery. Links and research has been appropriately provided in it’s development and updates since September 2012; along with the honor to share the creative watercolor art by Advocate/Friend/Survivor Michal Madison. www.michalmadisonart.com
  • In my attended trainings throughout 2013 & 2014 this included Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention; Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention; Elder Abuse Awareness & Prevention; Bullying Awareness & Prevention; Mental Health Support Awareness
  • I have dedicated my focus and my drive to be part of this major force and end the stigma related to being abused; either in severe neglect, psychological, physical, sexual, and/or living with a constant fear in Family Violence.

It is factual to quote an FBI Victim’s Specialist in stating;

‘You are indeed an EXPERT’

I would say that while yes, I have a lot of vital information which I’ve collected, published, and shared to help create the change and influence as many positive vibes in helping change knowledge, provide support, and even update our policies & laws; I in no way consider myself an ‘EXPERT’.  In that statement, I have provided at least some 30 other survivors like myself who have built nonprofits, provide help, publish blogs, monitor support groups, assist victims & provide support for any person who reaches out in a difficult or harmful situation.  These are friends, family warriors, and persons whom I’ve actually admired and found strength from in what we are doing together.

We must understand the path of recovery from these issues isn’t just doing without a drug, or a drink, or getting through a moment. This process of recovery influences your education, your life skills knowledge, the ability to work everyday, to not be triggered by something in a grocery store or when with a group of friends. It effects parenting skills, boundaries, and educating our children as well as protecting them from any of this type of negative influence. It requires a complete moment to moment process of changing your lifestyle, your thoughts, your learned behaviors and disrespect for others or a type of person; such as Racism Against a Religion, Sexual Preferences, Color of Skin, Gender, Age, Economic Status or Place of Residence.

Humans have been taught and influenced by the generation before them, those who are responsible for guiding them and providing balance in their growing life. Tragically those who are teaching them in family have already endured the suffering and been influenced by what their parents and then the generation before have believed was appropriate and influenced without punishment or concern against their kids. Each of us can go back for centuries in our cultures and family tolerances to see a cycle that just continues and no one seems to know how to change it. They are either too traumatized & trained to believe this is simply life, or they have been altered by the distress of being victimized and living in a daily battle of survival.

How can we possibly see an end to this behavioral emphasis in our human existence. Yes, we definitely make sure that our laws & policies provide the best possible guidelines and punishments, but also that we provide the best possible community awareness and education in every small rural community across the borders. It is only in helping to develop a NEW way of thinking that this process will ever be achieved or even begin to affect the whole of our society. It starts in what we teach our kids and how we treat them.

The basics:

  • YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HARM OTHER BEINGS.
  • YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SEXUALLY INFLUENCE A CHILD IN ANY MANNER.
  • YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO OWN, TRADE, SHARE, USE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING OF ANY AGE, RACE, RELIGION.
  • YOU DO NOT HAVE THE POWER TO OWN OR DOMINATE; TO VIOLATE THE FREEDOM OF ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

Yes, I’m a dreamer. I wish we could flip a switch and end this TODAY, but sadly like it has taken us generations to get as severe as we are today; it will take generations for us to provide that path and create a peaceful type of life with others.

We can however definitely make a CHOICE; make a decision right now, begin this very moment; I will not allow this destruction to touch my life or my family any longer. I will decide to do whatever it takes in getting therapy for myself and my family, to begin teaching respect for the welfare of others and appreciate the most precious right of safety in every home, in our personal circles and to openly discuss this basic freedom in all possible settings. We can influence the life of our friends, our neighbors, and our community leaders. We can absolutely insist that this topic of recovery for our society as a whole begin to be addressed as a Human Recovery in our political agendas and who we put into office in our governments. We can begin holding others responsible for their choices to harm, just as we are responsible for our actions and reactions.

Our human brain, emotional development, attitudes, beliefs, traditions, even violence, rage, sexual behaviors, anxieties, fears, actions and reactions are an affect of what we have lived in and been taught to accept; the creed we live by in our close circles; inside our homes and teach inside our schools.

Teach Positive Life behaviors

Reach out for life so you can grow.

Spread your wings to release your sorrow.

Fly strong to reach the stars

Show the world how beautiful you are

❤ Life Strong & Fly Free ❤

Believe as the Butterflies; ‘Believe Anything Is Possible with You in the Active Equation’

Thank you for reading & I hope you’ll share, comment, post, discuss in casual conversation and begin to live in your own true freedom & recovery today.

Patricia A McKnight

Author; ‘My Justice’

Creator: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery

www.butterflydreamsabuserecovery.com

www.blogtalkradio.com/voicesInjusticeRadio