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!!!


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…….

June 21, 2017 State Rep. Jay Hoffman

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

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.


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



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.


Patricia A McKnight

Breese, IL 62230


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


1) National Centers for Disease/Domestic Violence & Child abuse –

2) National Child Traumatic Stress Network

3) National Post Traumatic Stress Alliance

4) National Alliance of Mental Illness

5) Department of Health & Human Services; Domestic Violence & Children’s Bureau

Advisory Member:

National Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

Safe Kids Now National Network

Founder: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery 

Nov 2012



‘My Justice’ the survivor story from hell that will change your perception of family harm


Patricia A. McKnight ~~ ‘My Justice’

By John Miller on January 4, 2014 ~~ “Without any doubt, “My Justice” by Patricia A McKnight is one of the most horrifying, chilling and shocking accounts of child abuse, that I have ever read.”

By Stormy on March 26, 2016 ~~ “Difficult to read though it is worth it for the knowledge gained about one of the most horrific crimes against nature and the destruction that is left in its tracks.”

Lynn C. Tolson – Survivor/Advocate/Avid Reader/Inspiring Speaker for Survivors of Sexual Harm ~~”McKnight uses details, descriptions, and a direct writing model to convey the terror of her childhood and young adulthood. The style seemed stream-of-consciousness, as if telling a story all in one breath. While reading, I held my breath, waiting to exhale.”

Attention Media

‘My Justice’ is one of those survivor stories you will never forget. Described as ‘Shocking, Horrifying, Disturbing’; ‘It is amazing you are alive today’

I am constantly amazed in the types of careers who have focused their expertise in some form after reading ‘My Justice’ or have used this memoir to help others in their type of profession to truly understand the complex levels of the child, the woman, the mother who was brutally offended over a forty year period. From her early development extending into her third marriage this woman did not know what it was to have someone who didn’t try to degrade or harm you. She never received any medical care for her serious injuries sustained in the many attacks. Everything from serious concussions from being knocked-out or the many layers of filth, infected sores, and rotting, broken black fangs that replaced her childhood smile by the time she was thirteen.

Imagine never being hugged by your mother, never hearing ‘I love you, I’m here to protect you’ from the woman who brought you into this world. Mona kept me from the father & grandparents who would have helped me, rescued me and cared for me throughout my entire childhood. She permitted my stepfather to claim me and use me as property, to exploit me at our local taverns for a few beers, to hold private parties with large groups of grown men, or to take me on their dates to entice other men to buy our drinks while he grinded his groin against me as he slow-danced with me in front of everyone.

Imagine a mother who could be so dismissing and cold towards just one of her children, that she used her as a household slave. Everyday it was getting my younger sister to school, picking her up, walking her home, starting dinner immediately, helping my sister with homework, setting a proper table and cleaning up all the mess from whatever meat, veggie, and potato meal had been prepared by her alone. Imagine being told to use the toothbrush to scrub the lime from around the sink, scrub the crevices of the bathroom with bleach, to spend every day doing household chores and praying for just two or three hours during summer weekends to escape.

This is a survivor story that in truth still continues, because you simply cannot erase the physical, sexual, violent, and verbal destruction that became the only type of existence this one child ever knew. The depth of viciousness and disregard against this one girl is something so twisted, that not even the best psychiatrists have been able to understand. Most will say the story is completely unbelievable and that it was published as a ‘novel’ so it must not, and could not possibly have really happened. I assure society as a whole and welcome ANYONE who knew me as a child growing up in our small coalmining area to comment or prove me lying. If you know my family, if you grew up and went to school at Freeburg High School, Carl L Barton Elementary School, even those who passed through my life knowing my parents Malcolm & Mona White; I invite you to speak up and share whatever memories you might have of me. I know that if John Spurlock were alive today, he would be there supporting me and defending me as he almost gave his life on more than one occasion when he stepped between Malcolm as he was coming after me.

This is a story that is definitely happening to at least 1 in 20 kids in America today. It is a story on so many disturbing levels of harm, you may think of the brutal cultures that exist in other countries and just how horrific they really are against children. The worst tragedy of this story however, is that for the author, the influence and the impact of all the sustained injuries is a huge part of her life today. She desperately tries to fight to change our laws. She has educated her children on the rights and wrongs against other people and helping their children rather than living in the circling emotional suffering. This author gives her voice, her story, and reveals all of the ugly parts of her real person so that we can provide the support, recovery, and changes in our policies and healthcare system to ensure that we are able to be a society protecting tomorrow’s children today.

Join this strong advocate who gives presentations at universities, for nonprofit services, churches, and in community settings. You will find her across social media empowering others to honestly believe that life is in their control, they can change what is happening in their aftermath today and how it will affect their life skills, parenting, and even successful employment if they do not begin their own life changing recovery process today. She is a peer support person in addictions, substance abuse, sex trafficking, family violence, and most of all as an ‘expert’ in the constant drive to becoming whomever you wish to be as you take your chance at life.

Connect for more information online through the below links;




Head Trauma; Disability from Violence

Many times in a person’s life they may come across another person who is violent to the extreme. Sadly they end up with ongoing physical, maybe neurological, difficulties with their health from that moment in time. Reading this might cause some triggering, ‘bad emotional response; anger, anxiety, sadness, pain). However I do feel that what I’m discussing here is more critical for you to know than to ignore because of possible negative response. Please do take the time to read, share, respond. This is our ongoing multitude of issues revolving around our history of tolerating personal violence inside our homes, which simply ‘trains’ our children to tolerate this in their life, affecting their children, who then accept their own level of suffering in their life, which then affects their children and so on, etc……..

Our topic of Head Trauma from Violence can be viewed as the same information provided for the football players in repeated concussions. The biggest difference, the football player has a helmet and body pads. Inside a home of violence however, you never know when things might go extreme and if you are a child, to have a person twice your size and maybe 3x your weight; the end result can most definitely be death or lingering physical or neurological issues from the trauma.

We, our ‘decent’ human society, often feels as if this subject matter is being discussed to either get pity for things they have already survived or climbed above, or it is considered to be ‘Too Intense’ for common conversation. How about the fact that most of us know someone who is being violently or sexually attacked on a regular basis, or at least once in their lifetime anyway. The length of time a person endures these traumatic experiences depends on a few specifics;

    • How old are they? – Do they have the ability of age to speak up, get help, drive a car; get away, or work to support themselves?
    • What is their level of tolerance learned? – How long have they been living in this pattern of accepting violence?
    • What is their perception of self? Do they feel they deserve this type of treatment? Do they believe they can survive to pay their own way through life without someone who hurts them verbally/physically/sexually?
    • Do they have a close friend to talk to or who will get them help when needed; hopefully medical help and a police report?

This constant level of extreme violence, which quite often involves threats with weapons, use of weapons, threats of death or sudden violent attacks without cause of anger. This happens more often when people on are heavy types of illicit drugs such as Meth or even heavy drinking. I personally know a lot of people who are affected by drinking Whiskey or Tequila. Drinking, rather it is wine or whiskey is a very common act which happens in almost every household. This is something our kids learn as social behavior and many of them in our inner city or urban areas see drastic levels of drug or alcohol use on a regular basis. This is not to leave out our rural or rich society, because it most definitely is a staple of coping life in their homes as well.

Since I’ve worked much of my life as a bartender, (an excellent backup skill to always have an income); also I grew up in an alcoholic and drug enticing environment; I’ve seen people under the influence on different levels of drinking or illicit drugs. In this type of human acceptance of drinking and the BAR environment; I’ve seen first hand how alcohol has the greatest negative response for many people. They are trying to cope with the struggles of their life, maybe past trauma, but instead of finding a peaceful place they find an angry place. This will cause many family arguments, many of those simply because someone was in eyesight so they end up getting attacked. Violence is an instant reaction caused by someone who has reached their angry place inside. The choice to act against another person can be triggered by conversation, being in a difficult environment, around people they feel are a threat to their identity, or from the chemical reaction of the alcohol itself. 

The violence usually begins on a verbal foundation, suddenly a rage in the person’s reactions; slamming a fist on the table or couch, stomping their foot, throwing an item, or suddenly grabbing the person who is closest to them. The violence can quickly become intensely dangerous, which results in kicking, punching, strangulation, or by slamming the person’s head against a solid surface. This is when it becomes most life threatening and could cause a lasting trauma within the brain itself from possible bruising on the brain, just like what happens in the concussion injury of our major NFL Players or the controversial high school football when they begin to get more physically developed to cause an injury.

Myself, I lost count of how many times I was actually knocked out or had my head bashed against a solid surface in a violent attack. I’ve been slammed repeatedly against dashboards, windows, mirrors, stoves, refrigerators, doors, walls, even a huge tree slab that was meant to be a table top about eight inches thick. There was NEVER any type of medical follow up to confirm a concussion, especially during my childhood. No way could my parents risk taking me to the doctor and having my leather strap lashes and bashed up head examined; the state would have taken their family slave immediately. This is why most people in a violent home rarely receive the necessary medical treatment. I’ve had cracked or broken ribs, couldn’t move or breathe well for weeks. I’ve had both collar bones broken at the end from having my shoulder area smashed against a wall or stomped on while being kicked in the head.

Today, in my mid 50’s, there are a lot of chronic pain issues from injuries. There is also the Fibromyalgia from living in a constantly high stress environment. Our medical community have confirmed that Fibromyalgia ‘can be directly connected to the Fight or Flight Response’. Our human system is designed to enhance our adrenaline and heightened response to threat. However, if you cannot change your situation and cannot avoid being harmed, your body’s reaction to stress becomes confused. Your nerve endings go into an intense reaction from the heightened response, yet you are physically not able to do anything to get away; this causes a ‘trained’ intense neurological response to any sense of ‘threat’ and becomes a cramping, burning and intense pain in the upper body, pressure builds up in your forearms and calves, then shoots down into your fingers and feet as if they are on fire. I’ve found that Lyrica is the best medication for this type of pain, but Coping Skills must be used to calm your intense reaction so that your body & adrenaline response also calm, which then loosens the muscle contraction and burning sensation. Fibromyalgia is commonly found in those with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It is also found more in women, but I believe that men have not yet been fully examined in this research as they are just beginning to seek out help when in a violent relationship. Fibromyalgia is also found in those who have been in a threatening situation for a long period of time.

These are just a few lasting injuries from violent trauma, which are directly linked to possible ongoing disabling and chronic results which impact our nation’s healthcare system. Since many of us are harmed as children, we tend to accept a certain level of violent (verbal, physical, sexual) depending on what you lived through during your formidable years. It’s important to consider the types of influence on our growing deficit as well. The cost of those who cannot work for their independent survival income, either because of physical or emotional injury from violence and abusive actions; these millions of persons become a national responsibility, which we all know is already crippled, bankrupt, and out of control.

However, if we are trained to spot the WARNING SIGNS OF TRAUMA & VIOLENCE, as given from many reputable organizations who are experts on these traumas. I have also developed a presentation which connects all factors of violence, sexual trauma, and the result of what can become human trafficking or exploitation. A View from the Inside’ is available for viewing but is copyright research which has taken about three years to put together in the total connection of what can become the most dangerous place in the world; the connection of ‘Family Violence & Human Trafficking’. This is a crucial topic in our society and should be a priority topic for all of our elected officials and our service providers, regardless if you are a neighbor, family member, educator, law enforcement, or healthcare professional. You NEED to know what are those unspoken signs of trauma?

According to this attached article & graphic from American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, there is a very strong correlation between Adverse Childhood Experience, especially in those who score between a 4 to 8 on the counted scale of what you endured. The higher your score on the ACE Study creates a 95% greater risk of early disability, which can become a complete dependency on Social Security Income & Medicare/Medicaid for ongoing health related challenges.

In closing, think of Shaken Baby Syndrome, if we consider how detrimental to natural development is interrupted by shaking a baby, causing their brain to bounce off the skull, then what is also the cognitive and lasting affect after concussion or bashing a teen or adult head repeatedly for an extended period of time? This is something I am researching now as I focus on the growing impact of violence in our society, especially in family violence with rarely any type of medical attention received. Most of the injuries go unreported as a whole, and the victims are taught to ‘simply walk it off’ type of conditioning to tolerance. We cannot end the travesty in our society of street violence or school violence, until we tackle the growing pandemic of ‘Family Related Violence & Trauma’.

Thanks for reading and I do hope you will help share this crucial information. When we can provide needed medical help, we reduce the possibility of permanent injury and in the end also reduce the high risk of injury and early disabling conditions.

Something to think about…..

Patricia “Trish’’ McKnight

CSA Survivor Force Regional Spokesperson

Family Violence & Child Sexual Trauma Specialist

Cert Human Trafficking Trainer 2013

IL Cert DV Support Advocate 2012

Panel Member DV Offender Education Reform Program

Assisting victims & families since Nov 2010




1) National Institute of Health, Pain Treatment Research, Article 2011; 2012 Manuel Martinez-Lavin

2) Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. PMID:24486921 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID:PMC4306581

3) Types of Abuses & Warning Signs: Patricia A McKnight, Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery (Child Abuse Warning Signs & Relationship Violence Red Flags) Pub 2012 ©

4) ‘A View from the Inside – Family Crimes & Human Trafficking’ © Patricia A McKnight 2015