An Open Letter to the Editor: Every Newspaper Across the Country October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I hope our society will continue to grow in how we recognize and assist the p…
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 – 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
National Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
Safe Kids Now National Network
Founder: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery
Written back in 2013, this is still one of the most linked to blogs I’ve ever written. Today there were five pingbacks waiting to be approved. This blog has been referenced by leading therapists and advocates, as well as survivors and family resources. In just a few moments of reading you will find an understanding about ‘triggers’ which you may not have realized prior. I guarantee that if you use the stages of facing and coping with triggers, you become stronger and develop your own true sense of achievement. Pass this one onto a friend or resource. Thanks so much for all those who continue to share my writings and support the efforts in bringing independent coping skills to anyone having faced any type of traumatic or destructive event.
Regards & Respect
Just like we have remembered happy moments, which set off laughter or tenderness; compassion, we can also have negative and fearful moments. In fact; as my therapist shared with me, ‘When the trauma is severely impacting our body will gravitate strongest to the negative memory before a happy memory because the negative emotions are much stronger.” We have to challenge ourselves in working through our triggers. One of the first ways in this healing process is understanding what they are and how they work. Know that a trigger will lose its initial power as you first accept the fearful reaction; note here I highly suggest if the terror is extreme then please break down the memory and the challenge of the trigger in sections. Please do not run headstrong into that which could result in a permanent break in our psyche. In facing little bits of the trauma at each step, we will find it easier to breathe through the trigger, rather than instantly respond; we can learn to control our reactions just like we do with anything else in life.
Illinois is becoming another Detroit and the circle of the small communities around it. This is decades of corruption that runs deep in the veins of our system. We are the state where big time mobs & gangsters first started developing. We have the centuries old admiration for the president who gave all human beings equal freedoms & protection under the law. Today Illinois is hanging on by a thread. Families are sinking further into despair. I hope this is the year they better get some more focused and honest legislative leaders in office. We have a history of the last four governors being sent to prison and no one can figure out how to get us out of this horrible mess. I will keep my focus in hoping to provide some help and awareness of addictions, mental health, the rising numbers of family rage, violence, sexual harm and even trafficking which happens inside our rural areas more than realized because who are our kids going to tell? Everyone around them knows their family, this means everyone usually dismisses what they say at all, or everyone will find out about what happened. This is the horrific truth about it and it’s just a normal part of our lives. As an Illinois Adult Survivor of this ugly pattern of life, I pray we involve people who truly want to repair our broken systems of crime, harm, and corruption across the state.
SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) – Illinois lawmakers averted a shutdown of schools and avoided further uncertainty in government operations with a partial budget deal that funds education for a year and other areas for six months.
The Illinois Legislature passed a package of bills Thursday to complete an agreement by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers after days of negotiations. But the deal means the state will still enter a second fiscal year Friday without a full budget and will likely extend the partisan fighting over a comprehensive spending plan past the November elections.
The partial budget ensures schools will operate for a full academic year and brings a sigh of relief for districts that wondered whether they could open at all. Schools will also get $500-million more dollars. No school district loses money compared with the current year. Districts that serve more low-income students will split a $250 million…
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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.”
‘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;
Why do survivors of Child Sexual Assault, Child Trafficking, and extreme cruelty continue to tell their stories? Because our human society is still dismissing the depth of trauma and the life affecting changes from being a sexualized and/or brutalized, (even severely neglected) child.
We hear about African Child Brides and are horrified, as we should be by the topic of young girls either being tortured, sold, or given away as if they were property. We send money around the world to help lift women and children from brutal harm in almost every country. However, here in America, where we have a developed Constitutional Right to be PROTECTED UNDER THE LAW, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, economic or geographic residence; here where we already spend an estimated $145 Billion(1) every year for prevention & recovery services from these crimes; here we still have such pandemic measures of destruction and sorrow swirling around us everyday.
The overall levels of family related harm never ceases to amaze me. Even with all of the laws listed in our Criminal Statutes, Inalienable Rights of our American Constitution, and United Nations General Assembly Universal Declaration of Human Rights; which all of these specifically outline what is NOT tolerated behavior against another human being. Still 1 in 3 children live with some form of dominating abusive behavior; 1 in 9 are confirmed sexual harm. Children’s Bureau Child Maltreatment Report FFY 2011 (DO NOT FORGET THESE ARE ONLY THE REPORTED CASES. Allowing the same formula as provided in the CONGRESSIONAL STATEMENT OF 2012 ‘FOR EVERY ONE REPORT THAT IS MADE AT LEAST SIX OTHERS ARE NOT) WE CAN SAFELY ESTIMATE A 1 IN 3 RATE OF SEXUAL HARM, WITH AN ALARMING 1 IN 15 AMERICAN CHILDREN/YOUTH LIVING IN HIGH RISK OF BEING TRAFFICKED/SHARED/EXPLOITED BY THEIR ABUSER.)
How in our modern society is this still possible? Why do our numbers of harmed persons by someone in their home & family circle still continue to climb every year? Did you know that our Child Maltreatment Reports, entered across the nation of those reported is more than 3.7 Million every single year for the past decade? HOWEVER, ONLY 1.2 MILLION EVER RECEIVE TREATMENT OR ASSISTANCE.
So what can we do to change this reality for our kids and our society as a whole? I can tell you that since Nov 1997, it has been my personal focus to change how my negative and tolerating choices had influenced my children’s young lives. I’ve talked to them since I first started gaining a better understanding of the what & how of their suffering through my own recovery and life changing developments. Constantly reinforcing that it is a choice to act against another being or to dominate them by way of control or fear; It was absolutely necessary to make certain they understood how wrong this behavior was and how distorted we can become as a result of those influences.
My strongest focus of this was to make certain my son understood that HE could not, should not, and I would NEVER tolerate him believing that women were sex objects, or there for his purpose at all. I refused to raise a man that believed women were his to control or dominate, to use in any sexual form and to dismiss any belief that he had a right to expect anything other than an independent mind from any other human being. For my girls, they were always told that nothing could hold them back. I taught them about the need to be self supportive in life, that dependence meant you had to tolerate being de-valued and controlled. I taught each of them that SAFETY was guaranteed in their home, I would not let anyone harm them or intimidate them ever again. I’ve done my best to uphold this even in their adult lives and to continue speaking, publishing my story, our path in rebuilding, and focus in helping my daughters be strong independent mothers today.
So it has been some 16yrs since I first began focusing on my rebuilding and influencing positive life and hard work to succeed. I’ve worked on releasing the trauma of my past, being able to feel confident in who I am as a person, and truly believing that I instilled the correct beliefs in my children. Now, children do grow up and they become their own person, but what they live and are taught in their younger years becomes their foundation for what they actually are able to conquer or rise above today. It becomes the environment and behavior they accept in their homes and allow others to influence in their children’s lives.
Overall I cannot be more proud of who my children are as human beings. Have they lived a difficult path? YES!! Have each of them been able to live in a safe respecting life and influence their children and others around them in a positive way; Like many young adults today, this is still evolving and each child in their own age is working in their own pace. I can say my son climbed above and beyond in developing a good sustaining career, but his fear of failing women as a whole has long been a difficulty. He was highly endearing as a young man, and today his root core is based on human acceptance as individuals and to NEVER cause harm to another or enforce his will upon another. He has countless co-workers and friends who share the same long standing respect for who he is and how he defends all others around him. He is always the first one to step up when they need any type of help and a tender ear that many have turned to and sadly taken advantage of over the years.It certainly brings a ‘Proud Mama Moment’ when I reflect on all of his previous sorrows and the man he has become today, by his own sheer hard work and determination. He was always a good gentle soul, but he has become an outstanding young man with a respectful attitude towards everyone around him. He has never taken advantage or degraded a woman, but instead has given them compliment after compliment and done everything possible to make the women around him shine; helping them realize who they are as individuals and that they have the ultimate power over their lives and their choices. He has inspired them to believe that although they may be living in pain or tragedy today, that many millions live with this, help is available, he will take you to help, and he will support your efforts to become self sustaining individuals, but he has never put them down or caused them harm, so to me; this is a huge success and I am absolutely thrilled.
My daughters have lived in trauma caused by the aggressive harmful behavior of the men in their lives. Their father was an abusive man physically. He began leaving their faces and bottoms bruised from a very young age, and then he chose to run away with them and put my babies in a home with a woman who lost custody of her two young sons because of sexual deviation behavior. She and the two teen sons my ex-husband was trying to help her regain custody of; these three people had such a horrifying impact on my children that when they did come back to live with me there were so many negative behaviors. My daughters have not yet found the strength or ability to face life completely alone until they and their children are safe. It is a terrifying experience and it is a journey that takes a lot of twists and turns. It is financial, it is educational, it is exhausting, it is something that requires a great deal of inner will, a will to become greater than the past harm against you. I continue offering help and speaking to all of my children about my past, our family’s past, and the rise to live in our own safe home and the values they were taught as young children. It is those basic values that are their inner strength and foundation. My daughters are truly beautiful spirited women, and I know that someday very soon they will be just as happy and peaceful with their own life and successes.
It is our childhood and our young adult influences and treatments from others that shapes who we are by the time we are thirty/thirty-five. This is when we begin to really grow as human beings but first we have to control our behavior and what we tolerate against those around us. Without independent financial abilities our children cannot develop their own personal reliability, their own life skills practice, and it will affect their path in a continued dependent cycle and be forced to tolerate whatever treatment their supportive partner deems necessary to inflict or cause against them. It is teaching independence and assisting single moms to rise above and live in a self supporting environment that they give the greatest possible influence to their children.
Together in what was the aftermath of my horrifying trauma,, changing the negative outlook and behaviors began with providing a secure home. It was OUR HOME, and they were allowed and encouraged to share their opinions and thoughts about what happened inside our home. If they had an objection to a punishment, to a bitch session about something they did or didn’t do, they were absolutely allowed to speak on what they felt was their opinion about the subject. Most times they talked me into reducing the grounding or changing their assigned punishment completely. They were taught to have a voice and to speak up about what they did or didn’t like, even the food I cooked and bought was based on a majority approval. We built a strong foundation to the point that my middle daughter, at just 16, was permitted to directly approach the last abusive boyfriend I had living at our house. She spoke to him about his rage, about busting in their bedroom door, about constantly yelling at them; then I took him to the bank, withdrew the deposit he had given me to help with bills, and told him to find another place to live.
My kids each had a positive loving influence around them and it made all the difference. They lived in a clean home, spotless & sanitized weekly because of my extreme OCD behaviors. We all ate dinner together every night, they knew mom’s whistle meant it was time to come home, and they knew without doubt that if they needed love, a hug, or protected that I would absolutely be there. In the sense that I had finally realized how cruelty had affected their daily world, this became my devoted mission to change and it was not an easy process at all. My struggle to be a single mom, desperate to find one sincere love and be respected like any other being, support my three kids and give them a decent, safe, loving home was the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced and I know I do not have the strength to do it again physically, but I damn sure made it happen if they were still young.
In truth, to feel superior, as if we have some type of right to harm or use another human being at our will and demand our dominance over them is a learned and tolerated behavior. We have lived and accepted centuries old traditions of what is and is not acceptable in our society and especially in our families. We ALLOW someone to control us or harm us without ever trying to find assistance or believe that anyone cares simply because it is what we have always known and it is really challenging to step up and away from those beliefs. A large part of our tolerance for these types of attacking behaviors in our homes and families is done first by what is witnessed as young children. The arguing, addictions, and cruelty inside their home teaches them to either be dominating of others or to tolerate the same. Our very first step is to become watchful of our families, our friends, in the apartment building and trailer parks across the nation. We can either continue hurting ourselves, allowing drugs, crime, gangs, abuse, violence, and sexual trauma to tear us down, or we can make a decision today to change just one thing in their lives, to teach them good, teach them human kindness and respect, teach them appreciation of another human being. We can give them hope and give them a better life, but let’s start with the most important of all; to be safe & live safe.
Our strategy as a society must be to open our minds, our ears, our eyes, and help those who need support. Teach our children from the very beginning that NO ONE, not even their parents & family, has a legal right to actually cause them physical, emotional, or sexual harm. Teach them the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitutional Inalienable Rights to be SAFE; that every human being has a right to live free from harm & free from the fear of harm. We cannot change our past until we begin teaching and living in a new behavior. Survivors of these traumatic and violent homes have been sharing their stories across the country and around the world to empower other persons to speak up when someone harms them or when they witness harm to another. Just as we combat bullying behaviors inside our schools, we should also combat abusive bullying behaviors in our families and communities as a whole.
We cannot allow injustice or harm in any form. It is harmful to commit actions against another human being and it is a crime to wrongfully accuse another of a harmful behavior against you if they indeed did nothing at all to you. This is not a topic we want drama incited teens to accuse without proof of an action. It is not something we can take lightly in false or true accusations. It is a disgusting cruelty to make a false statement because you then are using your own cruel actions to ruin and cause extreme emotional distress, or severe legal ramifications to an innocent person. Our courts across the country are filling up with trials about Child Sexual Abuse, most of them decades old and these victims absolutely deserve justice because they were definitely violated against. Trust me I would absolutely relish the opportunity to get the women and two young men who harmed my young children in court for their crimes, but since the kids were so little at the time, there are few true memories they can put together, but it is still there inside their spirit and it will always be a part of them.
Honestly there are more victims out there of different levels of trauma and they certainly know this suffering; they should be able to hold those who harmed them accountable for their choice to act on their deceitful behaviors. I know we also have to protect the innocent persons who are having life destroyed because of false reports of these crimes. There are adults who use false reports of harm as a custody issues in family court. There are also teens who report falsely because of their anger, jealousy, or targeted behaviors with complete disregard of what it does to that person, their career or life path, and whether or not they spend the next 20 years in prison for something they absolutely did not do. We have a responsibility to teach appropriate reporting of these crimes and to ensure that justice is served for those who indeed offend against others. At the same time, we must ensure that innocent people are not kept away from their children by a false accusation, something that is twisted by suggestive investigations and over zealous child protective service caseworkers. We have a responsibility to uphold a true justice in our society as a whole, to respect the need of evidence of behavior or of offending crimes before we actually prosecute and send innocent men and women to prison or condemn them in a Sex Offender Reporting Status for the rest of their lives.
If you know anyone who reports an offense, of which there is no real evidence to support; be courageous enough to maintain your true sense of justice and contact someone immediately about the possible false report. Standing by and doing nothing when our justice system is twisted by angry or vengeful people, when we allow our systems to be used as a manipulated weapon, rather than protecting the very foundation of our American Freedom; this will only allow the corruption and greed, the pain and possible prison death of an innocent person. Do not allow yourself to be used as a weapon of destruction and pain. Let your true spirit shine and become a warrior in the rebuilding balance of our human society as a whole.
It is an amazing time in our human history and we should all absorb the life changing possibilities of living in a SAFE SOCIETY. Just imagine how tremendous it would be to give this ability and environment to every child in your country, no matter where you live. Think of the changes we could bring in the health of our planet, our animal kingdom, our rainforests, our traditions, and most of all in the hearts of our children if we can begin making a positive choice for our own lives today. I believe it is the one true thing that can change the path of our human society as a whole. Only love can heal the hate, the pain, the trauma of our centuries old behaviors and lifestyles around the world.
Be strong for you, because you make a difference in someone’s tomorrow!!!!
Thank you for reading and I hope you inspire one precious being in your lifetime
Peace & Strength Always
Facts Confirmed so far…..
National Institute of Mental Health estimates 1 in 5 Americans suffer with some form of mental illness. When helping people deal with mental illness, the illness (90%) of those affected, have endured these types of violent & sexualized traumas.(3)
National Institute of Health estimates some 75% of drug or alcohol addictions first began by trying to cope in a daily suffering environment of harm or sexual destruction. L Khoury 2010 (5)
National Human Trafficking Resource Center estimates 70 to 80% of prostitutes/trafficking victims have first endured brutal physical or some type of sexual trauma in childhood.
1) The estimate totals are separated on all available research so this is the sum total of each reporting national estimate; $64.7 Billion in the estimated medical & productivity loss costing analysis from National Centers of Disease & Control based on data for year 2000, published by Finkelstein; the same person whose finding are still being used to support data today. PS Corso 2007 – President Obama re-enacted the VAWA in 2013, with the following estimate of cost for each sexual assault ranging from $87,000 to $240,776 per rape
2) Centers for Disease/http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/
3) National Alliance of Mental Illness/ http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/
4) Humanity Against Local Terrorism http://haltnow.ca/what-is-abuse/child-abuse/statistic-of-child-abuse
5) National Institute of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051362/
6) National Human Trafficking Resource Center http://www.nhrtc.org
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