In ‘the life’ – survive vs. suicide

As Human Trafficking Awareness Month comes to a close, I’d say there was a much larger presence of those focused on this issue and those others which can be the beginning steps to trafficking. I’d like to remind everyone that for those who have or are trying to survive the influence human trafficking has left on their sense of personal value and the survival behaviors learned while you are trapped.

Human beings, like other animals, adapt to their surroundings. Our inner most sense is that of survival itself. So let me ask this; ‘When you are so engulfed by constant explosive and almost deadly violence wouldn’t you become quite submissive to survive? How long do you think you could hang on? How bad would it be when you started praying for them to kill you and end your misery? You survive the best you possibly can, but if there is no sign of help or hope, you pray they kill you so you are free!!

This is the life you learn to endure and the behaviors of the human being will naturally adapt to keep you alive. Let me assure you; those who do survive rarely just walk the door of trafficking and live life like what is needed to adapt in ‘normal’ everyday neighborhoods. Without residential recovery services like those provided by Eden’s Glory & Grounds of Grace, among others; going from ‘The Life’ to a self sustaining life is usually filled with a path of addiction, mental illness, extreme emotional distress, lack on interpersonal skills, and a continued submissive behavior (despite how hard we try to cover that up). There is rarely any money available from the trafficker to pay for services needed to help their victims, so this burden lies on the shoulders of those who want to help. These are usually provided by nonprofit services who need funding from you and I; they are struggling for funding to help create more functional and self supporting individuals. The end result of their services will change the lives of these persons and the lives of their children and grandchildren.

When you are trapped in this way of life, you learn to live in a ‘Survive vs Suicide’ mode of thinking. The pain becomes so bad physically and emotionally that you pray they kill you just to put you out of your misery. You hope for a way out and if you run into the arms of another person, you are extremely lucky if that is a kind person who truly wants to keep you safe and learn how to live on your own. More common than not you end of up going straight to the arms of another abuser, usually a domestic relationship that starts off being really kind and your survival habits make you more tolerable of acts of control or degrading remarks. These are dismissed and before you know it, one day they take a swing. The first strike is always the most difficult one, so the second will be much easier and more aggressive. This will take over your relationship and become your existence at least two or three times a week. Your holidays will be taken over by the threat or possibility of violence. You will rarely defend yourself and even less likely to leave because of those few good moments you share. You tell yourself, ‘He does love me. He is good to me most of the time. He just gets angry. If I don’t do this, or I stop doing that, he will stop hitting me. Just so long as he doesn’t leave me alone, doesn’t kick me out, doesn’t cheat on me, doesn’t hurt my kids. This is the way of life for those who have been so violently and violated in the life of trafficking.

How is a person who has grown up in this type of threatening environment and distorted behaviors supposed to choose the right relationships or live a stable everyday life? How are they supposed to learn to associate in common social and professional environments? If we do not ensure funding for shelters and rebuilding services for young and old, victims of family violence, sexual harm, and trafficking, then we cannot just expect them to be self sufficient and become a member of the family, become a parent or a teacher, become a police officer or a social services caseworker without some turmoil and dysfunctional behavior.

Now believe me it is possible for those who have gone through this tragic way of life, especially as children or teens, and then become a parent without any support or family around to help them. We learn to isolate ourselves out of the heavy shame and disgust we carry for our past. We can’t just open our mouths and say; ‘I was forced to have sex with a lot of men from a very young age’. Do you have any idea the level of courage it takes to say these words? If it had happened to you, could you just sit down to dinner and say this to a mother in-law, or an uncle? Could you go see your priest one time and tell him these words? Could you go to a stranger, a doctor, or an employer trying to explain why you’re ill all the time or having so much trouble?

This is why it’s important for survivors of these types of traumatic events seek help. It’s why it’s important to find your voice and help others find their own light. It’s why we need the services of Violence Prevention Center, Hoyleton Youth & Family, DHS, SAVE, Call for Help, PAVE, The Women’s Center, RAINN, ChildHelp, NAASCA, and other leading local and national organizations. All of them continue to put their hearts into the mission of saving lives and rebuilding lives, healing generations every single day. I’m very proud today to say that now we also have Butterfly Dreams Alliance, an incredible team who have joined me in creating a prevention and rebuilding nonprofit service for families & professional education in Southern Illinois.

Today my life has come full circle. I am no longer trapped and praying for death. I am no longer contemplating survive vs suicide. I am 55 years old, I am in the best relationship of my life. I have three beautiful grown amazing children. I have three amazing grandchildren. I have made hundreds of inspiring and supportive friends across the country. We have fought to update and change policies & statutes together. We are creating more known knowledge about the human mind and the human heart in every survivor we encourage along the way.

Today my life is truly free and I am so thankful that I did not miss the dance it has given me. Please help those services in your area and across the country!!!

Advertisements

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/

 

The truth about child protective services

Good Morning Everyone,
 
I live in Southern Illinois and have been a key voice these past three years in updating our Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes & Trafficking Against Children. In this is a proposal presented and discussed with many of our political officials. The process of the Child Protective Investigation has been going through public destruction amid resignation of Director George Sheldon, Illinois Child Protective Services who stated after a recent toddler death:
“There are significant issues we’re still dealing with and these child deaths are an example of that,” he tells WGN News. “Mistakes were made. There’s no question about that.” Mistakes that may have factored into Semaj’s death include a lack of communication within the department. “There were at least four or five protective investigators that visited that home. But was there communication between them… That’s what we’ve got to deal with.”
Illinois has seen at least five different directors in approximately 6 years and none have been held accountable for the severe lack of investigation and appropriate services, as well as the Federal Guidelines for Requirements to Remove a Child. Parents know how to work this system. Family turn away and feel they can help in other ways or simply do nothing at all. The kids who age out of the system have no idea how to function and continuously find it more and more difficult to find help in life skills and employment to secure their survival. Nothing can be more distressing to a country as a whole than the complete disregard and maltreatment of our nation’s children.
 
For these past three years I’ve been rejected time and again on this issue and updating a system across the country that provides the intervention to keep families together, but most importantly investigates every report thoroughly with every child having the right to have their voice encouraged and supported. No one knows better than that child what is really happening inside their home. It is time to stop silencing endangered children to protect their abusers. The healthy solution is for the parents to undergo required parenting classes, mental health evaluation, find resource that will actually help with housing, employment, education, life skills. It’s time to ensure that all of America’s Children and the children around the world do not have to TELL SEVEN ADULTS ABOUT THEIR ABUSE BEFORE THEY HOPEFULLY FIND ONE WHO WILL LISTEN, BELIEVE THEM, AND HELP THEM.
 
Please see the guidelines and numbers to justify the need for these changes by reviewing the attached documents containing the full proposal and research shared with Illinois Congressmen & State Level Legislative Members. Here you will see it as ‘Trecia Law’ Family Crimes & Terroristic Abuse – I honestly do not care what it’s titled as long as we enforce some of these strategies in helping our children.
 

1) Amend Child Maltreatment Investigation to require reported maltreatment of any person 15 years or younger, in acts of sexual, physical, verbal harm, use of or threat with weapon, drugs, alcohol, exploitation, trafficking, neglecting basic needs of shelter, food, education, medical, dental,or mental health necessities. These reports against young persons shall be completed by a

  • (Three Stage Review Process)
  •      A = Call Intake Recorder
  •      B = Local County Forensic Investigator
  •      C = County Director/Supervisor Final Disposition

2) Begin updated training to understand ‘terroristic trauma’ and the terrorized child victim. ALL FIRST RESPONDERS/MANDATED REPORTERS/FORENSIC INVESTIGATORS or other necessary key professionals who interact with families and children to better assist in spotting a terrorized silenced victim and/or possible trafficked child.

3) Provide recovery support to meet needs of the victim for a period up to 5 years; beginning and ongoing from the investigation or implemented protection of victim. (Education and Recovery focus to assist in self sufficient life skills preparedness, home and parenting awareness, health care and family building blocks.)

4) Public School System education and prevention strategies educating all children within each school system to understand their individual rights to life, liberty and safety, even within their home and family relationships; also provide grades 4 through 12 instructions for reporting violations of another person’s individual rights to be safe. (training to report will aid to reduce school violence, bullying, abuse, gang or family related violence)

5) Engage a Community Response Teamwithin every police department across the country; providing involved education and prevention strategies to better understand Warning Signs & Reporting Guidelines when abuse, violence, trafficking or other types of harm occur within our neighborhoods and families.

**Note: these changes in our prosecutorial and civil remedies are to protect and educate about the types of terroristic personal attacks, specifically against  minor children, without regard to familial, foster, or governing state custody or residence location.

 
The United Nations General Assembly wrote into law; The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
 
 
Article 3.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 4.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 5.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
 

We need to ensure that every human being is provided these basic equalities regardless of age, race, religion, economical, geographical, or political status. We’ve had too many generations of our human race destroyed and harmed throughout centuries by acts committed by those closest to them. It is time that we unite as one human race to protect the rights and freedoms of all in our world. If we cannot ensure the wellbeing and healthy freedoms from harm and the fear of harm for our children, then who have we become today? I thought we were supposed to be the smartest species on the planet. The most basic truths have been buried and disregarded so that others become more powerful and walk without guilt or shame for their crimes. It is in our modern day society that we know more than ever before, have a decade of data by national leading health and human services organizations; CDC, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, National Child Traumatic Stress Network and many others. We know the ugliness and sorrows for any human being trying to survive each day in these heinous crimes, yet we rarely actually protect and hear our most vulnerable; those too little to fight back, too young to fully understand, too easily controlled and manipulated by those who they depend on for their very life.

We all must continue our great works together. If we are carrying our own agendas then there are no laws or guidelines that will help our human change. These are taught beliefs and behaviors passed down through generations and only by committing ourselves as a more informed and stronger human society can we fully expect for our children to continue learning or living in any other form.
 
I pray all of us here at NAASCA and other leaders around the world will find a way to create this new path for our children.
Respectfully,
Trish McKnight
“Always believe anything is possible with you in the active equation of life” ~~ trish 
Patricia A McKnight

New Direct Email: p.mcknight@charter.net

Midwest Regional Ambassador DirectorNAASCA.org
IL Cert DV & CA Advocate
IL Cert Human Trafficking Trainer
Panel Member DV Offender Education Program of St Clair County
Family Trauma, Child Sexual Abuse & Rural Trafficking Specialist
Mentor/Speaker/Support Resource Provider
 
Author; ‘My Justice
Amazon/Barne’s & Noble/Authorhouse
Ebook, Kindle, Nook, Paperback
 

Illinois is going the extra step for Human Trafficking Victims Under 18

Readers it is finally here, something which myself and many supportive colleagues have been focusing on for three years; updating Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Trafficking. The one person who is really doing the hard work in making this a reality is

Illinois State House Representative Jay Hoffman (D) Swansea. Jay_Hoffman_Headshot(1)_Web

The first fact I need every reader and leader to understand is that there is one particular misperception about the real crime of child sex trafficking in America; more often than not it is a parent or guardian who is exploiting or trafficking the child. This is a horrible fact I’m asking you to consider, but in Small Town America we usually don’t see Pimps, Working Girls on Street Corners, or the ‘Johns’ circling the block in their vehicles. We don’t have the inner city crime areas where others drive by picking and choosing from those standing almost naked in the freezing cold at three in the morning. We don’t have gangs of kids pushing drugs from the projects. We rarely have common acts of vandalism in the thousands of ‘safe’ communities across the country.

It is because we believe in the ‘safety’ of these communities that we don’t think about what happens inside the house or apartment or trailer next door. We figure our neighbors are all very ‘GOOD’ people because we see them at the grocery store, we see them at picnics, we see them at church, and our kids go to school with their kids, play school sports together, or hang out at the public pool together. However, let me be perfectly clear when I share a few more facts with you.

Children’s Bureau, National Child Abuse and Neglect Data Systems 2011- 1 in 9 confirmed cases of child sexual abuse.

Centers for Disease 2013 estimates 1 in 4 children living with maltreatment or abuse in America

National Human Trafficking Resource Center confirms 70% of Prostitutes reported Child Sexual Harm

NO PERSON DREAMS OF BEING A PROSTITUTE WHEN THEY GROW UP – this is something that is done out of survival; either being forced by control and threats or physical harm by someone or the aftermath destruction of leaving an abusive home and a life influenced by drugs, degradation, and sex.

I was born in small town rural America, raised in these ‘safe’ communities, and grew up to become a wife and mother living within a ‘safe’ suburb so my children could be safe. Most in the town of Freeburg knew my mother and stepfather well; they each had their own reputations. My stepfather the violent and depraved alcoholic and my mother playing the poor victim and woman who had to tolerate him as a husband.

This was not the truth, or at least about my mother anyway. My mother pretty much handed me over to Malcolm like a piece of property she signed over in a prenuptial agreement. By the time I was ten he could dominate me, stalk me, molest me, and then started using me and sharing me with other men that he knew or worked with at the local coal mine. Sometimes he took me to the area bar and pawned me off for a couple glasses of beer, other times he took me to private locations with more than one or two men involved. Mother allowed him to take me along on their dates and then use me as bait to lure some guy in who would by our table drinks and dance with her as she allowed her husband to rub himself against me on a public dance floor. She permitted him to enter me into some bathing beauty ‘Miss Peabody’ pageant at thirteen and then started allowing him to invite five or more men over for late-night parties with alcohol, weed, and porn; entertained by her young daughter as she lay in her room watching TV or reading a book.

My mother was not threatened to allow any of this, in fact Malcolm would have and did do anything my mother requested. Yes, he was a very mean drunk, but not once did I ever hear him so much as raise his voice at her, much less threaten her or dominate her. If the things she permitted to happen to me would have been something he did to her, and if she was treated with such constant control and physical violence; if any of the cruelties against her middle daughter would have been committed against her I know she would have moved on to the next man who was willing to take care of her.

This is how most cases of Rural Area Child Sex Trafficking in America really happens and the escalation of cruelty that encircles the life of these young victims. As children they don’t quite understand what or why these horrible terrifying things are happening and it will probably take decades before they can finally process all the darkness and distortions caused by the parent or parents responsible for their care; for giving them life, but destroying their spirit. These young persons, who can be of any age, are used, shared, sold and bartered for shelter, drugs, and possibly even money. It happened in my case and I know a couple hundred adult survivors and rescued teens who have endured these small town secret crimes without help or hope, just trying to make it through so they can get big enough to escape.

These are the types of offenses we must stand strong against as communities. We must rally our law enforcement, our healthcare providers, our educators, and our neighbors to be a voice for a child or a family in distress. The internal suffering of these silenced and ignored young victims is a haunting with repercussions that affect many aspects of their forming and adult life patterns and behaviors, which then becomes a burden to citizens by the estimated $145 Billion per year economic deficit to provide recovery and rebuilding services, along with many other challenges.

    • Employment Difficulties
    • Mental, Dental, and Medical Healthcare
    • Early Disability from PTSD, Depression, Permanent Injury
    • Immediate & Longterm Life Skills & Recovery Support
    • Criminal Justice & Legal Services
    • Homelessness & Shelter Services
    • Addictions & Self Harming Behaviors

Way too often and much too common, as discussed with a few hundred advocates & survivors; the guilt and shame of these brutal acts is like a brainwashing, ‘training’, ‘conditioning’ that our adult relationships are challenged and our families suffer as they see the emotional turmoil roll through like an evil snake of destruction. We stand for the rights of so many different causes today; Rights for LGBTQ, Muslims, Christians, Animals, and Trees – it’s time to stand up for the Rights & Safety of our American Children.

VOTING – YES for HB3629 – Illinois becomes one of the many states updating Criminal & Civil Statutes for the crime of Human Trafficking, Trafficking in Persons, Involuntary Servitude of a Child, Involuntary Sexual Servitude of a Minor. By voting YES – HB3629 we give these young victims time to grow so they understand what happened, time to heal from the layers of trauma, time to actually accept what their parent or caretaker has done or allowed others to do against them.

Child Voices; we all can speak for someone

Trecia Ann  “This is me…..the five year old who first met Malcolm, was first attacked by Malcolm, and never heard Mona say I love you again. From this point forward nothing would be safe for a very long time. This girl has made one hell of a journey. I’m surprised and grateful for the blessings of life, love, friendship and family who have been there and are with me now, unashamed and proud of this incredible little girl. She is truly happy today”–Patricia A. Mcknight

In complete openness, it took forty years before I could think about the courage and strength of this little girl. The battle lines always changed, but without a doubt home was the most dangerous place in the world. The crimes against her were many and involved years of horrific violence and being used, traded, sold by the two people who were supposed to protect her. They didn’t ignore or neglect her younger sister or her older brother, so why did they both decide that this little girl didn’t matter to anyone?

Way too often we hear someone say; ‘Why doesn’t anyone do something about those people?’ Usually they are talking about the family living in poverty who doesn’t meet the local standards of the community, but this is simply our negative judgment of others. We don’t know what goes on in their home or inside the $2Million dollar home a few blocks away. Sure the chances are greater that someone is getting hurt inside this poverty stricken home, but perhaps it is just a financial inability to provide for the family? Be very cautious because it is that financial hardship that can lead to years of nightmarish disgust for a child.

Granted it could be attributed to a lot of different negative influences, but the reality is our children are being used, bought, traded, shared as if they are some type of commodity. Perhaps it is addiction and violence only between the parents? Perhaps their economic suffering has lead them to do something they never believed they would do, and probably wouldn’t do in their sober stable mind, but in distress and looking for another fix could mean they commit the most heinous of all acts; they offer their child for the price of another fix, for a few extra drinking dollars, or maybe a single parent looking for shelter allows a predator to take ownership of their child so the parent does not have to worry about providing a home on their own? It happens in all sorts of ways and for all different types of reasons, and still it seems we cannot get our governments to unite around the world to combat and change the idea of value for our innocent children.

I’ve seen child trafficking happen in many ways and I’ve heard account after account of these most violating acts from one incredible survivor after another. It seems the one thing all of the survivors and maybe even the victims today have in common – there is always someone in the tight family circle who knows what really happens. There are those who hear of the child whose parents or guardian will trade them for a few bucks or just because they want to give you something special. We hear of those in the community who then say; ‘I knew something was going on in there”. Despite these people who live beside these types of offenders and those who know because the child has been offered to them; yet somehow no one ever reports their suspicions, even when they watch it go on for years and witness her battles of being beaten and dragged along the street. Maybe the law enforcement in the local town know the talk through the community about why other parents will not let their children around this home. The parents who tell their daughters to stay away and their sons not to date her. ‘She is that rotting stench covered girl that I hear is doing it with anyone!!” Even though she is only thirteen or fifteen years old, still no one ever reports the rumors of the late night parties, her going in and out of the camper with men, pornography blaring on the television, and drunken teenagers stumbling around the yard.

It doesn’t matter and it’s not my business; these are the two greatest reasons that children suffer so badly.

Right now in Illinois our legislators are avoiding a very important bill which would update Illinois Statute of Limitations for these types of crimes. House Representative Jay Hoffman drafted the bill under a proposal I’ve been working on for three years. I’ve seen it get to a House Bill Number before and I’ve seen it get lost in the residue of Illinois Budget Crisis, but sadly it is never discussed again. What is so difficult when our society and our legislative leaders should all be very much for these updates. Illinois is one of the few remaining states who have not addressed or updated their ONE YEAR AFTER VICTIM’S 18TH BIRTHDAY current statute, which has allowed predators and traffickers to walk away without fear of ever being held accountable for their violations and slavery of a child. Enough with this already. ‘Trecia Ann’ and millions like her are talking, writing, interviewing, but nothing ever changes. What will it take before it is considered a priority by our leaders?

I’m asking anyone who knows or loves a child who MAY be in danger to give your voice to them now. I am asking anyone who loves an adult survivor of these types of degrading traumas to speak up for them now. I am asking survivors to share their childhood photo which is their voice of that once silenced child; the child who endured and tried to maneuver through the constantly changing rules which always surround the life and behavior of an abused or trafficked child.

Together every one of us has a valued voice and should use it now in this greatest time of human concern for our society. When we can provide a path to safety and justice for our children, then we can say we have done something to help prevent the cycle of human conditioning of violence and the destruction which haunts the millions of silenced children around the world!!!

Please comment below and add your child photo for the voice you are speaking for today!!!

**Always believe anything is possible with you in the active equation of life** ~~ trecia ann

PLEASE PASS “TRECIA ANN” AROUND THE WORLD!!! MAKE OUR GOVERNMENTS LISTEN TO YOUR LITTLE VOICE. Thank you!!!

Patricia A McKnight

www.yourvoiceradio.one

Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery

Author: ‘My Justice’

Who I am today

 

miracles-happen  “I’m not feeling sorry for myself, so please don’t pity me, it really just makes the situation worse. What I need is to know that something I say or do or write will help you support someone whose been harmed, as well as prevent or intervene when something happens in your circle today.”

Over the past ten years I’ve been on a reality mission to figure out who I am, without focusing on what has been done to influence my past beliefs and behaviors. Learning about the aftermath of my personal war and the influence I have left on those I treasure most. This is not an easy process and one which comes and goes in different situations and challenges as I get stronger and learn more about myself and the actions of others; all resulting in who I am today.

My idea of self appreciation and self worth was never developed because I was put in my place, and lived in the example of who THEY thought I was or the value I carried as a person. Tragically, just in America, we have 3.7+ Million children still living in those same types of environments today. Even worse is that myself and millions of others know exactly who that child might become tomorrow, especially if they are not given help or have at least one positive person who gives them something more to believe in and seek to achieve a greater good.

My stepfather, Malcolm White, was truly walking evil; to me he was and always will be the devil himself. In fact, he used to quote; ‘Heaven doesn’t want me and the Devil is afraid I’ll take over’. I knew in my heart that he would definitely kick the Devil’s ass and de-throne him without an ounce of effort. However ridiculous as it might sound, I am still afraid of his ghost some six years or more after his death. I can still feel him lurking around like an animal after his most favorite prey. I can’t sleep for more than three or four hours at any one time, then suddenly I’m shocked awake and for a split second I’m still in harms way, even though I truly am not.

For Malcolm, the violent molesting attacks that began before he married my mother was not enough. His appetite for cruelty and deviate influence progressed to the point I became HIS PROPERTY; my mother, Mona, stepped aside and did absolutely nothing to help me or care for me ever again. I was told to shut up and stop whining. I still hear this from my siblings today on the rare occasion I speak to them at all. For me the only family I had died in March 1989 and I still mourn his death today. I just stopped by his grave last week and thanked him for helping as much as he could. He was just a boy, a boy who willingly lived in our home until he was 22yrs old; but he was a boy who stepped in front of Malcolm’s rage more than once and he stepped in front of the loaded weapons pointed at my head. He would have taken that bullet rather than see me be harmed. For John, I will never have the chance to repay what he did for me, which was the best that had happened until I was 40 yrs old.

Malcolm influenced my sexual behavior with other boys and men within the community of Freeburg beginning around age 11, when he first arranged a special party with a case of beer and about five neighborhood boys who hung with my brother. I was instructed on who to invite, how to dress, and what to encourage and allow these boys to do with me. It is the most shameful and disgusting memory that I carry. I attended school with these boys. I saw them hanging in the park everyday, and I would party with them being my ‘friends’ for the next five years.

It was just a few weeks later he took me to JB Tavern, just two blocks from our house, where my mother worked and all the coalminers hung out. I was fed double shots of vodka with orange juice, so many that I puked the entire evening and next day. We were there for about two hours when Dave and a crew of miners came in to shoot pool and toss back a few beers. I was given a dollar for the jukebox and instructed on how to ‘shake my ass’ as I played the music. I was asked to pick out the cutest guy, and then taken to his table and offered out for a trip out back or in the car; all it would cost is a couple of beers. This was my value if I had any at all, and when he looked at Malcolm and said; ‘She’s just a kid’, I was taken to the car and beaten for being so ugly no one would ever want anything to do with me at all. ‘I was lucky they wanted to ‘f***’ me’. This was who I became and just part of how I was used until I finally escaped, running to move in with the first guy who asked; a guy from thirty miles away who didn’t know anything about me or my family history. I just needed to get away before I either killed Malcolm or he killed me.

At that time I was 17yrs old; he was going to purchase a mobile home and put me on a plat of ground where he would have his own special key to come over anytime and bring whomever he wished. I didn’t care who helped me get away and I certainly didn’t take time to evaluate who he was or how he treated me. As a result of my inability to realize the inner cruelty he had, the following two years would be almost deadly on a weekly basis.

In the influence of my parents, I became the perfect lifetime victim. It didn’t take much kindness for me to open my legs and my heart; for me to seek their approval regardless of the cost, so long as I felt they wanted me. My behaviors became coping strategies. I was fed a case a beer before I turned 10 years old. It was the way Malcolm reduced my rejections or put me in a manipulating and controllable condition. I was given my first joint before I was 12 and to say the least, this is what I depended on to numb the loss and disgust that I couldn’t escape. Lance was the first to give me cocaine, and I even did a few small hits of acid; but it definitely was not for me and the cocaine was too expensive, so my constant state of being was either drinking or high, or both until I got pregnant and left the country. It was a blessing to be removed from all that surrounded me, but the man I married was not the same man I lived with over there. This man had me in the perfect place; I couldn’t escape and had no one around to talk with or convince me that I wasn’t as low a piece of crap as he insisted I was. Our society wasn’t even discussing the acts of child abuse or family violence back then and I definitely didn’t know anything other than what I had been so well trained to accept; it was my ‘normal’.

From 20 to 40 there was a handful of failed and cruel relationships, some more violent and destructive than others, but each a reflection of the only thing I knew. I fought constantly trying to absorb all of the bad so that my kids would never know that type of pain; however, I didn’t realize just how the chaos was affecting them and the example of womanhood I was giving my daughters. Imagine seeing your mom be beaten to a pulp while you’re sitting at the kitchen table waiting for her to come eat dinner with you. Suddenly the perfect plate of food she delivered to him goes flying across the room, and because she wasn’t going to sit on the couch with him, she was thrown, kicked, punched and slammed against walls, the stove, the sink and the door. Finally the fighting stops and she comes into the table, trying to calm your little sister and get everyone to eat as if nothing happened. Imagine the confusion and human value your children learn in our examples of tolerance. How do you think they will grow to see the world and what value they will hold precious about themselves? What will their children learn and how will they behave in school or in the teenage social situations as they develop?

This is our human conditioning and it leaves an ugly mark on all those affected. It distorts our value of ourselves and how we treat others. Some might become extreme protectors and put the needs of others higher than the needs of themselves and their happiness. Some might become lost in drugs, alcohol, or even deviate attacks on others. Some of those like me get so lost they can’t get out and are emotionally wounded forever; these are those prone to submissive and self harming behavior, that which commonly ends in suicide or overdose ending in death. They can’t hold productive steady employment and have chronic health conditions which studies are finding are actually early onset conditions that first show up as Juvenile Fibromyalgia or Early Post Traumatic Stress; conditions that hold trigger reactions before the person is old enough to realize the effect at all. The overall economic cost to society, becomes the taxpayers burden because of these invading health and emotional conditions that cause a reduction or inability to sustain in self supportive life development. Most have difficulty in learning skills or the development of healthy, productive life skills. After all when did they have time to concentrate on homework or study for that big test?

Personally, I’ve got so many injuries and health problems my body and my daily life are a mess. The cost of my constant healthcare in pain management, medications, various procedures, circulatory and pulmonary progressive diseases; I’ve been on disability since 2007. I would have to say that the worst of my conditions today is the permanent spinal cord trauma which has caused elongated cystic sacs to grow inside of my central canal, a condition called Syringomyelia. This alone causes wide spread severe pain, but add in the intense Fibro & Head Trauma and you’ve got a disastrous mess. I’m not feeling sorry for myself, so please don’t pity me, it really just makes the situation worse. What I need is to know that something I say or do or write will help you support someone whose been harmed, as well as prevent or intervene when something happens in your circle today.

Victims and Survivors need to know that their suffering and their voice matters to someone; that someone cares enough to help heal the wounds and make us stronger so that we can provide a better life for ourselves and more importantly our children. We need the law changes to prosecute these types of repeat heinous offenders. For most of us, we will never be given a chance at justice, because the laws of our past allow absolute minimum time to report or press charges; in Illinois these offense statutes allow only ONE YEAR after victim’s 18th birthday. Hell, I didn’t even know what the word trafficking was and definitely feared this couple so much, along with the condemnation of those around me; my life was something so destructive and disgusting I couldn’t tell anyone what happened to me at all until I was around 35 years old. Some knew that my childhood wasn’t pleasant, but no one, including myself, really knew just how evil and tragic it was.

We are NOT our parents, and we do NOT have to live in the sorrow, pain, and pattern of harm or victim they taught us. We have a choice today and we can actually use the strength of amazing survivors who are finally able to discuss what’s happened; use their courage to speak up as a precious gift. This is a strength beyond measure they cling to and can use, not just to help themselves, but to influence how we help and how we can truly save the life of someone else today. You can be the one to step in and take the bullet; you can stop the bleeding and help stitch up the wounds of our kids lost in the pattern of destruction, crime, drugs, and harm they are trying to survive today. Please don’t sit on the sidelines and judge what that person should or shouldn’t do, because until that same personal violation is against you, then you can never know how it feels or the damage it causes. You may be stronger than they are and bounce back with no problem, but you may watch someone else slowly disintegrate so horribly that it becomes their own extinction.

Today I use my past, all of it; my behaviors and my pain, my bad choices and the influence I’ve seen continue in my children and grand children’s lives; I use all of this hoping that somehow I can help empower one other survivor to believe they absolutely matter. Hoping that I can inspire one victim to get help for themselves and their family. Hoping that I can change the offensive behavior of someone who has been harmed, but reacts and attacks others in their pain. We DO NOT have to harm others or devalue ourselves, because on this amazing planet; every life and every breath taken truly matters and we all have the power to do something about it.

Be a Hope-Line & save a life

Thank you for reading & I do hope you’ll share

Love for all,

‘Trish’

Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery

Author: ‘My Justice’     mj-2

http://www.facebook.com/triciagirl62  

Promo 07.17.2016

Domestic/Family Violence; YOU make the difference between life and desruction

Purple-Rose_13.jpg  October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I hope our society will continue to grow in how we recognize and assist the persons affected as children or adults so they can give something better, SAFER, for their families.

‘Awareness’ is about;

    • Acknowledgement; almost every person in our human society has either experienced some type of Family Harm or is dealing with this today. In America the Centers for Disease estimate that ‘1 in 4 homes’ are coping with some type of violence or abuse. Millions of children & families living in extreme, life threatening, harm or terror. If we look at this ‘human conditioning’ of tolerance as a disease; a human disease which we may have been taught as children to keep secret, we can see it encompasses our entire history. Most children are taught to protect, even respect, the person who is harming them or their family. It has been happening since the beginning of time. Unless we step in and teach our children a better, safer way of life; their kids are going to learn the very same types of behavioral harm and violence.
    • We are supposed to be the most intelligent species on the planet. However, it took us until Jan 2014 to finally enact amendments to Violence Against Women Act to provide services in aiding MALE victims. The amendments provided that ANY person, of ANY age or gender, ANY economic standing or place of residence, ANY ethnic origin or religious beliefs; there are no boundaries that divide an act of family harm or Domestic Violence, even trafficking/slavery of our partners and children; so now we have laws & services growing together to help make a difference in our worst ‘human condition’.
    • Accept that we have a decade of studies by nationally recognized medical, psychological, behavioral, and reported acts that have been evaluated in every level to understand the lasting traumas and distorted behaviors; learned reactions as a result of having been someone’s victim. Our nation’s reports continue to climb and the depth of emotional trauma continues to be studied so that we develop the appropriate resources to help heal these wounds and rebuild to alter the ‘VICTIM’ state of learned behaviors.
    • These offenses if beginning in the early years of a child’s life, even inside the womb, can and do cause an ingrained emotional alteration in our frontal lobe cortex. In young children you can see how living in this every day or week, month, year can affect every person differently. Some might become adult or teen offenders, others might stay in that trained sense of ‘VICTIM’ pattern and submissive behaviors. Either way these young persons grow up to become those who run our businesses, our police officers, judges, and political leaders of our nation. These are the people everywhere around us today, and we are creating the next generation of tomorrow.
    • If you’ve ever lived with someone who has gone through these types of Family Related or Relationship Offenses, you know daily life can be challenging. Usually the result of a heightened anxiety, inability to level our stresses, which then results in emotional reactions that either bury the feeling of harm, triggers harmful behavioral outbursts or cause various types of self harming, even suicidal responses.
    • Address these types of behaviors as if they are an illness within your family or circle of friends. The first way to begin combating this type of illness is to discuss the symptoms and provide a support system of knowledge, friendship, and resources to take care of this illness so that our loved ones know what it’s like to have a SAFE life and laugh without fear.
    • We have pandemic measures of victims recorded for the past decade that prove 1 IN 3 AMERICAN CHILDREN (about 25Million) every year are trying to survive and understand what is happening inside their home or trusted circle. If we had any other type of DISEASE affecting this many children, (these are only the REPORTED cases); if these numbers were reflective of any other illness we would have rallies, legislation, and targeted specialists involving every small rural or urban community across the nation until we ended it’s plague. We would listen to every victim and develop continued working strategies to decrease those affected. We would ensure that somehow the message was connected across the country, courts providing justice, healthcare providing treatment, emotional support, and long-term behavioral life skills development so that new victims do not become tomorrows offenders. We would all talk together and work together because it would not be about how much money you can take in for helping, you would simply just have to help.
    • Right now the annual estimated budget for providing prevention, intervention, and short-term recovery for these offenses is around $145Billion every year. Economically those harmed have trouble succeeding in a self productive manner to care for themselves and their families. If they are working with services, some of these CEO’S are bringing in 6 or 7 figure salaries but show few changes in how many victims they’re helping or how they’re changing the way they help them. Most are short-term recovery shelters to get you started, which give about 45 to 90 days. In this you have to get all your legal paperwork done, find a job, a place to live, apply for any state assistance, and figure out your own transportation. Have you done the ‘Walk in Her Shoes’ event anywhere? You definitely should so that you are fully aware of exactly what it’s like as a single young person in a homeless shelter or a mother of three trying to find somewhere to go and how to care for your kids.
    • Services and rallies for adult males who have been harmed in childhood or in their adult relationships with either men or women; these guys still have very few resources as most shelters have been designed for women and children. They have little if any support and it is still an old traditional ‘hero’ thing if an older woman or girl teaches them about sex early in life; maybe an uncle or the neighbor they mow the lawn for once a week. We really don’t have true numbers of male victims because we’ve made it so difficult in what we teach them. Usually it’s about being a strong man; ‘Don’t you cry when you’re hurt boy, you get angry and you keep going’. It’s been this way forever and will be until every man, woman, and teen is involved in helping those in their circle learn about how to stop this mess and give the support, addiction recovery, and financial ability to live a better SAFER life.

I have taken my own past and use what I’ve experienced, along with Certifying Classes, to educate myself about how deeply wounding these acts can be and what little it takes from family and friends to actually make a difference in a person’s life.  I try to share very personal and upfront knowledge about how detrimental these acts can become over a period of time; tragically thousands ending in homicide and millions ending in suicide. It is crucial to have just one supportive person in our lives who is willing to wipe our tears and help us help ourselves so that we become stronger as adults and parents.

Much like the 50 Million estimated Adult Survivors of Family Violence or Sexual Harm, my life has been a rollercoaster of disasters. Battling alcohol & marijuana addictions, depression, high anxiety, and constant panic. My adult relationships and marriages reflected the male dominant partner who committed emotional/physical/financial/sexual/life threatening acts which continued destruction and fear; control to the millisecond of my life. What I tolerated and lived with was based on the choices of what I knew as ‘normal’, which honestly was pretty violent and depraved. Sadly I lived in this until I was almost 40 years old. I became a young mother who believed that if the kids weren’t being directly harmed, then they were doing alright. However, how do you think they might have felt hiding in the closet in the middle of the night, waiting to see how badly their mother would be beaten, or would she even be able to come calm you down when the fight was over. 

Would she live? Would you live? What if he got the gun out and was threatening everyone with it again? Who would you go talk to about what was happening? Would you be able to concentrate in school or get your homework done? What if both parents were drinking or using drugs, then either violence or sex began happening around you? How do you think our children would perceive life, what was expected of them, how to behave and how to treat others? What behaviors would develop in drugs, alcohol, violence, street gangs, sexual respect, or your emotional wellness? All of it would be altered until that person was in a circle of help that provided a SAFE ZONE, open discussion and support.

What you and I can do is to look at our family circle. Think about how you were raised; was it violent or amazing? Use what you know to begin making a difference today. If you have the same couple in your apartment building or neighborhood where you hear or see violent acts, the kids are screaming and crying; please call someone who can help intervene. If you’re a teacher, healthcare worker, law enforcement, minister or other community member; just take a few moments of gut knowledge and watch a child behave over time. See how many of the behavioral silent warning signs you know and how you remember behaving in what you’ve gone through yourself or seen in the numbers of victims and families you’ve helped. Communication & Community are crucial in helping change the future for our kids. If we don’t focus on the root of the problem at home, then we will never be able to change what is happening in our society. Sadly this ‘human conditioning’ will simply continue.

I hope something I’ve written will touch the heart of others around the country, as well as those areas closest to me. We can make a difference and I really hope that it begins right in this moment for you.

Respectfully,

Patricia A McKnight

Breese, IL 62230

Advocate/Author/Mentor/Survivor

A child may try to avoid situations which place them alone with their abuser such as; not wanting to interact with a particular family member or friend; not wanting to hug or sit on their lap; not wanting to go places with them or where the abuser will be; remember to watch for signs of what your child IS NOT telling you. They may not know exactly how to verbalize their dislike, distrust, or what is happening to them. Pay attention to their actions and reactions around others

Resources:

1) National Centers for Disease/Domestic Violence & Child abuse – http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/childmaltreatment/prevention.html

2) National Child Traumatic Stress Network http://www.nctsn.org/resources/audiences/parents-caregivers/understanding-child-traumatic-stress

3) National Post Traumatic Stress Alliance https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/treating-hidden-wounds-trauma-treatment-and-mental-health-recovery-victims-human-trafficking

4) National Alliance of Mental Illness http://www.nami.gov

5) Department of Health & Human Services; Domestic Violence & Children’s Bureau http://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb

Advisory Member:

National Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

Safe Kids Now National Network

Founder: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery 

Nov 2012