Can you hear the children screaming???

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coverkindle.jpgThese are pictures of my past, but now have become pictures of my present day life. Yes, the Breese Journal, Belleville News Democrat, and even KSDK News 5 have all done articles or have shared video from local speaking events. Today even the FBI Victims Services & Citizens Academy have recognized what I am doing here locally (Clinton County Illinois) and as a Trainer in Human Trafficking, Certified Domestic Violence Advocate, Child Abuse Prevention Specialist, and ‘Steps to Recovery’ presenter; what I do to help others is a constant area of work for me today. It is crucial, as in URGENT we begin paying attention to what goes on in our surroundings and circles. There is not enough we can do independently in everyday concern and respect for another, which will outweigh what has been passed on throughout centuries in the acts of domination over another.

My story is one which comes from a life growing up in Freeburg, Illinois during the years from 1970 through 1980, a period of ten years as a child living in a publicly displayed nightmare of horrific abuse, child sex trafficking with community members; actually husbands and sons who were co-workers of my stepfather, schoolmates of my brothers, and directly related to some of my mother’s best friends. The actions of my stepfather were never hidden, as my mother and stepfather truly didn’t care, who did or didn’t know, about how they used and tortured this one middle child in their care. There were so many individuals who were involved with or knew about how I was being used that I can’t even remember how many hands have touched me. Many times I’ve been hit with memories and even shared some of the direct evils inflicted in the true story written in ‘My Justice’. What’s worse however is what has been triggered in my subconscious by permitting myself to travel back in time to reveal the ugly family secrets I’ve carried throughout my life. Those who know me from this town remember little things here and there. Schoolmates have contacted me after reading ‘My Justice’ and all share remorse about what they as children, didn’t recognize, but they remember how my parents used me, isolated me in family responsibilities that went as far as to answering the ring of that little brass bell. Some have contacted me and stated ‘I knew something was going on, but Trish, I had no clue how vicious the life you spent in that home really was.’ Sadly the adults who know my parent’s and, especially my stepfather,only one or two have reached out with words of sorrow or statement about any of what I wrote in being untrue.

Even my own mother, who is still alive, has asked but a few questions, the most ridiculous of those is, ‘How would you like me to talk about a few SECRETS about you?” Thanks Mother, that statement in and of itself validates everything I’ve shared about all that happened and what YOU took part in the training of your little girl whom you helped develop as his forced child whore. How dare you Mother? Do you see what you have done to your child? Do you see just how ugly and brutally neglecting you were? You threatened to SUE me; REALLY MOTHER!!! Step up and claim yourself as being my mother, the mother of all mothers who would allow such evil against one of your own children, but hell you never really cared about any of them!! All you were worried about was the fact you had someone to put a truly evil roof and dysfunctional views for your children. Why was I the only one you allowed him to target in these evil acts? Why was he not ever put in jail? Why didn’t some of your circle of ‘FRIENDS’ ever say a word, or what excuse did you give them for their questions? You probably told them you were the VICTIM. All you ever focused your attention on was what you wanted to make you happy. You knew you could make him do anything, or was I part of that bargain? I hope these questions reach you, since you will not permit me any form of concern or apology, you have given me VALIDATION and for that I guess I can do nothing but at least thank you for that.” your daughter, ‘Trecia Ann’ – Now I am a published author, now I have even developed my own source of business as prevention and awareness, support and information for all those communities today. Are you proud of me yet mother?

Today I find it also validating to hear from others who knew me as a kid, who share with me statements their parents made, such as; ‘I always wondered why that man was so mean with that little girl’, ‘I remember how he used to always take her with him out drinking and hanging out at the bars’. In truth, I was the girl their sons were not allowed to date and their daughters were not permitted to befriend. I was the girl that the boys, groups of them, knew they could come to, either one on one or together, to use in games of ‘Post Office’ where each one had a chance to see how far they could go and just exactly what I would allow them to do with me. There is one childhood friend who started reading ‘My Justice’ and when they got to the part about the one time I spent the night at a slumber party and the only nightgown I had was the see-through little cotton gown purchased by my stepfather at ‘Victoria Secrets’, which my mother permitted him to buy as a gift for me. Well, this friend had to throw the book down and was sickened by what suddenly became the reality of the girl she knew so well. At this time I was just twelve years old, it was his favorite age; the age where my body started to grow into a young woman, the breasts changing and pubic hair just starting to grow. It makes me sick as I think back on it even at this very moment.

Malcolm, ‘Walter in the book’, which I changed names to protect siblings; however, not a single sibling will even talk to me today. My brother condemned me a long time ago, at least ten years ago and has not spoken a word to me since. He only sees my stepfather’s trained whore when he looks at me, says my actions make him sick because I do not live up to the standards of his perfect little life. My younger sister, used to connect and was willing to talk with me about how dysfunctional our home was as a result of the severe alcoholism and mental health disorders in our parents unfolded. She would discuss her emotions of how it was for her after I left, when she was just nine. I say to them both, ‘Neither of my siblings have endured anything remotely close to the harm they witnessed against me.’  Its validating enough for you to discuss the raging alcoholic who was so vicious and the parties, which kept her awake all night.

Mona, ‘Shirley in the book’, is the mother who turned against her own child and abandoned her in the evil of his touch. She has read ‘My Justice’ and repeatedly tried to reach out and talk with me, threatened to sue me, and worst of all; ‘How would you like it if I went around a told a few secrets I knew about you? How about if I tell them how I used to have to go searching for you dirty clothes? How about if I tell them about the boy who climbed through your bedroom window and caught you having sex with him at just thirteen?’ She has not once apologized, she has never denied any of it at all. When she found out about the time he shut me up forever by using his favorite shotgun barrel to take my virginity while my brother and sister lay downstairs watching their favorite show; all she had to say was ‘That sounds like something that sick son-of-a-bitch would do’. She admits that she was warned by his own son from his first marriage about how evil and disgusting he was, yet she chose to marry him and allow him complete control over just one of her children, her young daughter who was just then five years old.

It was a lifetime of haunting by a monster. He would prowl around in the dark like a lion hunting his prey. He would beat me for having boyfriends, and stalk me even after I had grown up, had children, moved out and gone through my first divorce. He even hunted me down to smash my head against the truck window and dash, drag me across the very public street, call me every name he could think of as the neighbors watched and did nothing. The boyfriend I was dating, whose father’s house we were at, simply said; ‘He’s here for you, outside screaming your name. You really have to go now.’ This man preyed again when I was forty years old, had just lost everything I had due to an illness (Pulmonary Embolism), which caused me to be out of work and depend on credit only to take care of my children; well I ended up at my mother’s house to stay in her basement till I was able to get settled again. Guess what happened, guess who prowled around outside the basement shower room which I was told I absolutely had to use, because her bathroom with a lock on the door was completely off limits? She told me he couldn’t climb down those stairs anymore. The bed I was supposed to sleep in was the very same bed I had used as a young teen, even had the same yellow lace bedspread. She would not permit her granddaughter who desperately wanted to travel with me; Mother simply stated; ‘I am not responsible for anything that might happen, so don’t you start your shit’. SHE KNEW!!!! Mother has never denied a single event or action of her neglect for all basic human necessities. She never apologized and in fact there was one slip of the tongue when she stated, ‘You got the life you deserved’, ha-ha really Mother????

You see, I am the one left today with many broken parts still inside. I doubt they will ever fully be able to heal, and some well the scars are so deeply embedded there is no magic surgery from any specialist around that can give me back any sense of normalcy as I look at my reflection everyday. You’ll see in this brief video the horrifying skin which covers my body today. I am left with scars inside and out that will never be able to be erased or healed, the child they tried to destroy and the one an entire community allowed to simply rot away. You will be horrified by this brief video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rpt_oHU5NM The Rot of Abuse, uploaded by Patricia A. McKnight

We as a society continue to ignore the hundreds, thousands who are sharing stories of evil today. You can search the net and find video after video, story after story, of lives destroyed and many who are now so extremely wounded by these acts they cannot even be parents to their children. Some so broken into actual separate personalities developed to protect them from the extreme trauma they endured. I ask you all, media, literary agents, book promoters, local press, organizations who defend children or rescue them; ‘When will all of this be enough to create a society strict on its punishments and supportive in recognition of the surviving souls today?” Help share the many stories today; let no child suffer in silence and become your own defender of children. Allow their screams of mercy and rescue be heard!!!! Our children are not expendable, they are not sex objects, they are not household slaves to be beaten and tortured for the slightest infraction. They are person’s waiting for us to lead them through growing to become the next generation in charge of our society. Let the monsters be known and protect our country’s children as one united force against these types of evil. No more can we ignore their screams, their tears, their secrets being shared today.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I pray there is a path for ‘My Justice’ and the many other survivors who are finally speaking out for their freedom and their recovery today.

Patricia ‘Trish’ McKnight

Owner/CEO Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery

Author: My Justice’  READ THE FIRST FIVE CHAPTERS COMPLETELY FREE!!!!

Mentor/Crisis Resources/Speaker/Child Abuse Prevention & Steps to Recovery Trainer Member: Southwestern Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force Board Development Member: Illinois Victims Assistance Network (I.V.A.N.)

(c) Patricia A McKnight

Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery Sept. 2012

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art via www.michalmadisonart.com

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Missing and Throw Away Children vs. Abuse Factors and Risks

 

                    Pulbished Article in MPN.com back in Feb 2012……..

Feb. 13, 2012 – original writing

Missing Children and Abuse
Written By: Patricia A. McKnight
Author: “My Justice”

Recently I was approached about writing an article on the relationship of abuse and our missing children. When I first began to look into the many different aspects involved with abuse and the “Missing Child”, I was astounded by the numbers of our youth who are affected and the many different reasons provided. First, let me explain that I found quite a few sites that provided information on this subject, but I’d like to outline a few of the most reported reasons before proceeding.

1) Missing Children can be the result of parental abduction
2) Missing Children can be taken by a stranger or some other predator, (maybe even one they trust).
3) Missing Children can be the result of fleeing the fear of abuse, sexual assault, or confrontation with their parents.
4) Missing Children can be the result of outside influences, such as: gangs, bullying, drugs, or temptation from peers to challenge their parent’s authority.
5) Some of the reports of missing children are related to what is referred to as “throwaways”. These reports are usually made by someone other than the child’s parents.

All of the above issues came into play when doing the research for this article. However, according to the National Runaway Switchboard (NRS; http://www.1800runaway.org/) report provided for year statistics of 2002; “The exact reasoning for why a child leaves home is hard to determine because many of them do not reach out for help.” This report is based on the children who call the hotline number to be provided with a safe place from our streets and those who prey on them. The young children who make up the largest portion of these cases reported fleeing because of abuse. It seems that an astounding 1.6 to 2.8 million youth, age 12-17, escape from the fear of those around them each year. The NRS found 77% of these children, both boys & girls, reported fear of physical or sexual abuse prior to leaving home.

This is phenomenal to me and these stats are a bit outdated. I find myself curious about the new number of those living in shelters or making the call to get help from our streets. What is even more astounding to me is that their report also shows at least 50% of our homeless youth are what they refer to as “throwaway” children. These are children who were either told by their parent to leave or told their parent they were leaving but no one seemed to care. I can only think of one way to actually bring you into the mind of these homeless children and to what their world must be like, that is by writing the below opinion for you to consider.

If you could sit for a moment while reading this article and imagine that you are a young child. Let’s say about fifteen years old for the sake of this experiment. Also, I would like you to think about your own demographics as a mid-teen. Was your home low income? Was there a great deal of tension or anger inside your home? How about your parents? Was one or both of them abusive or neglectful towards you? Did they get involved with your daily life? Did you have dinner as a family together in the evening? Was it a time of healthy discussion or was it quiet with little conversation about what you were dealing with at school or with existing peer pressures? How about drug use? Was it discussed openly? Did either of your parents provide you with the positive support and guidance that a teenager so often requires?

Hopefully you have the picture of your own childhood and your home environment in your thoughts. It is now that I want you to take the pressures of your childhood and multiply those issues by ten. This will allow for the 10 years of growth in our society since you were that age and these above statistics were provided. Consider the added pressures of our youth today with the gang influences; the continuous cyber bullying that plays into their daily life. Add the stress of parents to keep a decent income within the home and the often requirement of both parents to maintain a job outside of the home. How about the increase of single parent households or the many parents who are on medications relating to their mental health and possible emotional scars from their own abusive childhood?

We have now created a vision for our teens living in the new age of social development. You might often see a teen that appears to be having problems and brush it aside, but have you taken time to consider what might be troubling that child? At least 80% of the total number of homeless girls, who reached out for help in the study from 2002, reported being sexually or physically abused. This isn’t to say that young boys are not a factor in this situation, but the larger reports of sexual abuse came from girls. Many of us know that girls, especially between the ages of 9 to 18, are at a higher risk of being sexually abused; but that risk is only about 1 in 4, where boys are at a 1 in 5 risk of being sexually abused within this age range.

The impact of the silence surrounding abuse leaves a child feeling desperate, alone, broken by those they trust. Imagine a child being so terrified of those who are entrusted with their every day care. They are forced to keep secrets of being raped or molested for years. Perhaps they are even terrified with a serious threat of death from their abuser. This is a cruel start to their young life and we are forced, when they leave home to the streets, to think about the severe impact of the abuse they’ve suffered.

When a child is abused within what should be, the safety net of their home, it will leave them to doubt their own self-worth, which often leads to the use of alcohol and drugs to help bury that personal shame. It is way too often that the traumas of these crimes are brushed aside and rather than deal with the damage they are told, “It happened, now just get over it”. That is an impossible feat for a child. Many of the adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, on average 60 million, are living with what they often refer to as “A lifetime sentence”. Even if the child gets support and is helped to understand the sexual crime, they are still often left with the long term affect and will undoubtedly be troubled in their adult relationships; some may be so severely traumatized that it requires years of therapy and daily personal struggles to overcome. There is nothing to say that a person ever recovers from the trauma of sexual abuse. Most often they can come to terms with the situation, but will still be plagued with nightmares and flashbacks, which can be triggered by certain smells, music, a kiss, a touch, colors; everyday types of basic daily living can cause panic or anxiety for decades. It is estimated that about 32% of all abused children will attempt suicide before they consider running away to life on the streets.

The crimes of abuse against our children have become, and are now, a pandemic situation. We hear it on the news and read it in the papers every day. Most often, however, it doesn’t gain our attention until a child is found brutally murdered, either on the streets as a runaway or in their homes by someone who is supposed to love and guide them through these difficult years. More often than not these children will leave home to escape being abused, fleeing for safety elsewhere, but then are taken in by pimps and predators who at first will lead them to believe all is well but then push them into prostitution, sell them into sex slavery; some may be kept prisoner by a predator for their own personal satisfaction. This is the cruel reality of our children who are so broken that they are left with no choice but to run for their own protection.

We must as a society, take on the responsibility of protecting all of the children around us. They have such an extreme amount of pressure to keep up in school with technology and advanced learning. The new age of social media leads to an increase of being lured away from home or added bullying from their peers online. Our homes have become a view of how much can “I” own to show a certain status in society. In this challenge, or need, to earn more and gain more our children are left with little of our attention to show them a positive support system in a home that is loving and, most importantly, safe.

In the end there are more and more children running away, become missing or are even throwaways because of our blind acceptance of abuse. The growing number of these children cannot all be helped and supported by the volunteer programs or the state and nationally funded programs. This reason is simply because of our country’s financial breakdown as a whole. The allowance for state and nationally funded programs are being cut continuously. Sometimes this is because of misuse of funds, but mostly because of the constant budget cuts, of which we all are aware. The volunteer programs cannot be sustained if our neighbors are all out of work or having their own incomes cut in half. It is a crucial time to step up in our country. Whether we like it or not there is a dire need for vigilance against abuse and a simple nature of caring for another, especially when it comes to our children. This simple attitude of caring can create a great change in the number of our missing youth.

It is time to realize the constant pressure they are under and the many ways that they can become influenced to go in what seems to be the wrong direction, which without a support system, can leave them to run away and fend for themselves. This is like giving them to the wolves and saying to ourselves that some must be sacrificed. No child should ever have to feel that deep pain of being abandoned by the family who should provide them with unconditional love.

There should be no “throwaway” children in our society. Each and every child deserves the benefit of knowing someone good in their circle of life; someone who will protect them, support them, guide them, and most of all want them to grow in a healthy loving manner. They should have the possibility to become a very important person, perhaps creating a cure for the largest disease that plagues our society; not cancer, but instead the violence around them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a way to promote and create kindness and love towards each other? A simple way to change the pandemic of child abuse, runaways or throwaway children is by truly starting in our homes and actually caring about the children we bring into this cruel world.

***References:

1) NRS Statistics on Runaways from Peer-reviewed Journals and Federal Studies     http://www.1800runaway.org/)
2) Suicide Risk Among Abused Children/Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 4, 2008 http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/08/04/suicide-risk-among-abused-children/2685.html