Public Health Department canceled presentation because victim story too intense

biopic3This is no joke my friends. In January I was asked to present for the Illinois Department of Public Health; April 8th for the Women’s Health & Family Wellness. Unbelievably the lead coordinator for this conference contacted me last week and stated they would have to cancel. When I asked upfront if it was something specific about my story or my presentation, she quickly responded;

‘Your story is really a bit too much in your face. Perhaps if you tone it down a bit and focus more on what we can do to help, then maybe we can invite you back. We’ll keep you on the list of presenters and see what happens.

Let me say first, any time that anyone has asked me to speak – all they have wanted is my horrific victim story. I have learned how to ease my story through but it’s not an easy feat, especially when you consider the true horrific nature of the story itself and how many persons circled through my childhood and adult relationships without ever saying a word.

Quickly I emailed this lead coordinator the presentation I have used to help more than 100 survivors, used on more than 200 radio shows, and have built a website for educational & empowerment for every person. It is NOT a VICTIM’S STORY. In fact, it is ‘Steps to Recovery’.

In this presentation I share first our protective law history, the stats of some 2.3 million discarded reports because the sole intake worker decided they didn’t warrant further investigation. The presentation also covers the very serious truth about molestation, a crime which leaves no physical trace. When someone has molested a child, there is rarely any trace because it’s not like rape. It is touching and groping, therefore without seeing a child’s physical response to another person, or listening to how they play and interact with other children or their toys; you may never know your child is being molested. If the person/s molesting the child are the parents/guardians, then this child may have been going through this since before they can remember. It could be that sexual contact and stimulation is all they know. If they have just started being molested, you will see the outward signs of trauma and challenges in the child’s appearance, interactions, and their school work.

Anyway, also in the presentation I go through the Five Steps of Recovery which came from what I had to do in order to help myself change from victim to victorious. These are goal lists, positivity lists, understanding the impacts of my specific trauma, and it is the work which VICTIMS have to do, NO ONE ELSE CAN DO THIS FOR THEM. It is about empowering every victim with the one thing taken from them which leaves them in a victim state of life, it is about teaching them to use their voice and not to be ashamed of what someone else has done to them. It is not a crime they did but rather a crime committed AGAINST THEM.

Think about this for a moment, if we tell victims they need to ease up on the facts of what someone else has done to them, isn’t this the same as the abuser telling them that no one cares, no one wants to hear, no one will help them? In my eyes, having gone through my own very challenging and life pattern changing recovery; silencing a victim is like putting them in a cage with a bowl of water and a blanket for comfort. It’s like gagging them and only letting them talk when you want to hear them. It’s like taking away their power and their strength to find their balance again. It’s very hard for a victim to find trust and safety to speak at all. They must reach deep down inside to find that one point of them that they feel matters and then believe that someone else will think that it matters as well.

Now, having the Public Health Department tell me that they had professionals who had seen video of me, had seen photos and read a few emails; then decided my story was just too ugly to sit through. If we cannot educate the professionals about the honest truth of how vicious these crimes within our homes, hidden under the parental control and inflicted terror against a child; if we cannot be honest then how will we ever teach our children that they have nothing to be ashamed of? How will we teach them to tell someone when they are being touched, probed, sold, traded, beaten and degraded by the people they live with, the persons who control their very existence? I ask you friends, although we should definitely use age appropriate measures when talking with our kids about these topics, how can we teach them if the professionals do not want to hear the details of their suffering?

I very much believe that the voice of a victim is the one solid tool which will lead them to feel victorious in their life. One step at a time they learn that as they release the details of their suffering that are no longer afraid of the sledge hammer of hell coming down to destroy them. It is the locked up silence which traps them in living a victim pattern of life. This much I’ve learned in the years of not having insurance or money for a therapist so I lay in bed crying for days, screaming about the how & why of what happened to me, why wasn’t I worthy of protecting as they protected my siblings? Why did I have to be a slave, forced to answer the ring of that little brass bell, whatever the ‘master’ needed? Why was I the only one forced to spend days scrubbing the corners of our house, then two years after I move out, the house is so over run with roaches, not even the exterminator can keep up with the battle? Why didn’t it matter that I was covered with filth and infection, my teeth black, plaque covered and broken, my body covered in bruises day after day? Why didn’t someone in that town help me, why didn’t I matter as a human being?

Because no one ever stepped up to say; ‘Hey Trecia Ann, you don’t deserve to be treated like this. You deserve to be safe, take a bath in your home, a toothbrush, some tenderness.’ Sadly as a result of all those people who either witnessed or took part in the sadistic games with me as the prize, but yet not one ever found me worthy to acknowledge as a human being; it is these types of actions which led me to believe this was my life. This is was what I deserved, and I should never think that I deserve anything better. It is all of this that left me living in a victim state of mind. I was everyone’s perfect victim and completely submissive for any person who showed me a hint of kindness. I just wanted to be loved, to be safe, and I would give anything of myself to not have someone hurt me, even to the point of regulating my breathing so as not to give cause for another attack.

I know many exactly like me and I hope you have taught the children you know the true power of their voice and our professionals need to know how monsters like this make it their mission to silence their victims. As ridiculous as it may sound, my stepfather still has me terrified of my afterlife; afraid that I might have to endure him all over again. This is a real fear for me. This is how evil and how horrific his actions were and not a single person in the middle of that town would ever want to hear my voice, my plea for mercy, my begging my mother’s help, my prayers for God to take me away.

Readers, I hope as you’ve read this it made some sense and that you will watch the children in your circle of life and family. I assure you, I am not the only survivor of such atrocities. I assure you, evil like this is happening in the smallest of communities across the country. As many advocates I work and share with have found, more cases of parental child sex trafficking & web-based exploitation of their children is happening in small communities across the country. The internet has a lot of great uses, but the deviate mind who wants to make money; they find that charging people to watch them molest, traffick and exploit their children is sadly more than our services can possibly take down. All of us within a community need to be aware of the children in our neighborhood. Do they seem like good kids? Are their people coming and going at all hours? Is there a lot of adult men and strangers coming to the house? Our educators can help by watching how the child’s school work is completed, are they up to date, interact in class, have reasonable social skills with others, are they reasonably clean and well cared for?

Our health care professionals & law enforcement are the frontline for their safety. You need to know how dark it can become and exactly what adults will go through to silence a child for what can turn into decades of their life, remember the fear and silence has to outlast any statute of limitations so that the predator is never held accountable or prosecuted for their harm done. We should never tell ANY victim to be quiet, ‘tone it back’, ‘get over it’. They may want to have us ease our stories, but for this victim who has worked so hard to become victorious and put every ounce of devotion possible into helping make sure we are able to help others trapped today, the frontline defenders will not tell this victim; ‘it just doesn’t matter’.

To me this reprehensible, and it feels a lot like the weapon and slap used to silence me a long time ago.

Empower every person to know their Civil Rights to life, liberty, and security of their person. They deserve a SAFE life, and no one has the right to inflict harm or sexual contact, unless they are consenting and accepting adults. No one has a right to inflict harm like this on a child who cannot speak up, cannot refuse, cannot fight back, cannot run away, and cannot escape the day to day torment & torture by the one who has control over their very existence. You can help us educate our frontline defenders by supporting our petition – ‘Family Terrorist Act – https://www.change.org/p/mr-president-please-enforce-the-right-to-be-safe-for-all-persons-especially-our-children-enforce-family-terrorist-act-trecia-s-law

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful day

Empower every person to believe they absolutely matter!!!

Patricia McKnight

copyright @ www.butterflydreamsabuserecovery.com

Author; ‘My Justice’

The Town Who Chose to Abandon the Child

Each day I am usually contacted by a survivor of Child Rape, Molestation, Brutal Physical Abuse, Emotional Battery, and even severe Neglect. It breaks my heart to know there are so many of us, especially since I always felt so isolated and alone in my recovery journey. To know that in truth there are an estimated 40 to 60 Million of us in society today who are now parents and grandparents trying to make up for what our emotional scars have passed on to our own children while we try to watch out for the children around us now.

There are many layers of recovery that we must work through and if you are one of the millions who are still struggling through the aftermath, you know exactly what this means. For me the abuse encompassed all forms; from severe disfiguring neglect to spiritual and religious abuse, to trafficking and forced involvement with many different grown men and young teen boys who I also attended school with each day.

“Crazy to think these many young boys were threatened to take part in either raping me or lining up while I was ordered to perform oral sex on them. The next day when I saw them at school however, they would whisper, tease, point and be disgusted by the very sight of me, but ot once ever spoke up about what they were ordered to take part in the weekend or night before.”

This past Tuesday I had a therapy appointment and as I was preparing myself all morning as to where I wanted to direct my discussion that day, the hour long drive to her office filled my head with the swirling tornado of anger and memories. By the time I arrived at her office I was such an emotional wreck all I could do was walk in circles in the closed little office and shake violently at the prospect of talking. There was a fire of anger inside and I honestly did not know how to begin the sentence and explain to her what was wrong. Thankfully she is a marvelous well trained and expert in Trauma Recovery Therapy and we’ve been working together almost six years now. T^o say the least however, she was still a bit shocked at my actions and when I broke down on the floor in tears she knew that whatever was going on inside was eating at me and we had to break the wall to get through.

The anger was billowing up from the gates of hell where I had trapped it many years ago. I honestly believed I had worked through all the anger issues and had nothing left inside to be angry about. I guess as I have been talking on the radio with my guests, co-host and the wonderful growing number of listeners, it seems the hellish nightmares started churning and things I didn’t think I felt any anger about came pounding down like a hard cold slap in the face.

“If you know or love a survivor or if you are a survivor; know that our emotions buried from the trauma continue to invade our present day lives because of the many layers of mental destruction caused by the attacks.”

To share with others of this new emotional breakdown, those of you who know this buried pain and how we try to avoid going back to our dark reality; this new layer of anger is aimed at the entire community who made a conscious decision to ignore and watch as a beautiful little girl rotted in the evil of her home. The town is Freeburg, Illinois, where I spent nine years of my life, living through the very worst of all the torture and blatant neglect, the trafficking and the beating. The town was a small coal mining community back then made up of farmer and miners and totaling about 1500, according to our population sign shared on the ‘Welcome to the Village of Freeburg’ that was posted at either end of the main road, Highway #15, which ran through the middle of our small little nest.

“Oh how I try to erase all of the connections to my past. My life is so good now and it has only been truly safe since about April 2002. There are days however when I just can’t turn up the music loud enough to drown out the thunder of emotions and dark horrific memories.”

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Now I know times were much different back then, after all I grew up there between 1971 and when I first left home it was 1979, then finally left the area for 20 years in 1983; not ever moving back to that community. I can’t even drive through it without having a major panic attack, but back to what I was saying.

According to PDF report, attached here, written by John E.B. Meyers, he gives an excellent break down of our country’s Child Protection Act and it’s origin.

To quote just a few bits & pieces here;

1) In the forty years between the economic panic of the 1890s and the great depression of the 1930s; the devolvement and growth of social work became a recognized profession.

2) Organized child protection emerged after the 1874 rescue of 9 year old, Mary Ellen Wilson, who lived with her guardians in New York City’s Hells Kitchen.

3) The 1960s witnessed an explosion of interest in child abuse and physicians played a key role. It was pediatrician Henry Kempe and his colleagues that published the block buster article, ‘The Battered Child Syndrome’, which played a leading role to bringing child abuse to national attention throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It was after this publication that media outlets started filling their publications with stories of maltreatment. A Newsweek article titled ‘When They’re Angry….’ quoted this:

    “For every child who enters the hospital badly beaten there must be hundreds more treated by unsuspecting doctors. The Battered Child’s Syndrome isn’t a reportable disease, but it damn well ought to be.”

4) The Social Security Act amendments of 1962 gave way to the following shared by Vincent De Francis in 1967:

     “In additions to sharpening the focus on child protection, the 1962 amendments required all states to pledge that by July 1, 1975, they would make child welfare services available statewide.”

5) The first four child abuse reporting laws were enacted in 1963 and by 1967 all states had reporting laws. As the reporting laws went into effect the prevalence and child abuse and neglect came into focus. By 1974, some 60,000 were reported, by 1980 the reports climbed to 1,000,000; by 1990 they topped 2,000,000 and since 2000 they have been hovering above 3,000,000.**In 2011 there was a total of 3,712,034 reports of child maltreatment, but only about (1/3) of them were actually handled and processed through our child protective services system.** per Federal Children’s Bureau reports from all 52 states collective CPS reporting systems.

6) In 1977, Henry Kempe, gave a lecture in which he described: ‘sexual abuse of children and adolescents is another hidden pediatric problem and hidden area.’

It is this author’s determination that while I’ve tried to excuse the problem of ignorance throughout the school officials and the community in which I grew up, you can clearly see that in the early 1960s child abuse and sexual abuse of children was becoming a nation wide media and governmental issue. You can also clearly see that each state had a least four mandated reporting laws in effect as early as 1963.

“So for the officials who were required by law to report and help the abused children they witnessed, what the hell happened to me towns people of Freeburg?”

The first and most prominent of the Red Flags I was displaying, was the severe blatant neglect. Our family had the very best healthcare coverage available then, that which was paid for by United Mine Workers Union of America. There was absolutely no our of pocket cost  at all for care. Many may remember how strong the Mine Worker’s Union was in the 1970’s. These people took baseball bats, axe handles and fists to their meeting and brawls were common with many having to go for medical treatment. Our town, Freeburg, had these such meetings because Peabody Coal, Riverking Underground #1 was the lifeblood of the community.

Now although I was suffering in the many sadistic sexual attacks from my stepfather, and yes I know that sexual abuse rarely displays any noticeable physical signs; there are still many silent signs the victims display without being fully aware of what these actually reflect.

In school my silent warning signs were like huge beams of light searching for hope of rescue. My grades went from A’s and B’s to D’s and F’s. My homework was rarely completed, but the teachers always seemed to make note of that fact and ridicule me in front of the other students.

“Are you dumb or just lazy Patricia? Boy how I”d love to have told them that I didn’t get it done because I got beaten for two hours because I put on the heavy pajamas to protect me from his roaming hands or I was busy cooking, caring for my sister, and had to spend the evening being raped by a shotgun barrel.”

Of course we all know the shame attached to this type of abuse, so it is rare that a child will ever break that silence; especially if they are being badgered and belittled by an adult. All the red flags were waving high in the sky around me. My plaque covered, never brushed, broken black fanged teeth. The rotting flesh covered with crusted filth and infected sores. The heavy stench of body odor and the unwashed stinking gym uniform was all visible to those around me, but still not one single person, no teacher, school nurse, or other school official ever questioned my care in any form. They all watched me fail at everything, they avoided any discussions or physical contact at all. The memories I have of school are all clouded by the many years of trying to hide from the world the ugliness that was now seeping from my soul and covered my flesh.

When I share that it was the entire community, I do mean all the family friends who came to our house for various reasons; the adult men who attended the late night parties which I was ordered to be hostess, toy and child drunk they could feel up and play finger games with as stepfather watched on in enjoyment and mother’s cold eyes as she walked into her bedroom and closed the door. She permitted him to use me however and whenever he chose. I was taken on their dates and fed alcohol while he tried to find a man to entertain my mother so he could teach me how to slow dance. I was taught very young, just 11, when we first went out to the bar and I was ordered to shake my ass about and use my body to entice the grown men around me.

Then of course I can’t leave out the neighbors and local police. I can’t even remember all the parties we had with drunken teenagers and cases of beer or the half barrel stored outside to keep cold. Kids walking in and out, my little sister got in the habit of charging them a dime to use the bathroom and it was a joke as too how much money she actually made at each of these events. The times when Mother took her along for weekend excursions, but left me behind to take care of the house and of course her husband.

“This is my time away and I won’t be bothered with you coming along.”

Each time she went away she would go around to the local corner bars and warn them each not to give stepfather whiskey because she couldn’t trust him not to kill her kids while she was away. Every time she came home I was covered with bruises and had to spend at least 6 to 10 hours cleaning up the mess from the fights that always broke out. Usually it was because a boy that didn’t want to take me in the next room and screw my brains out stood up and said ‘No’ to him. It could have been the nights that he got angry because I had a boyfriend so I didn’t want to do what he ordered from me.

The neighbors and the police all knew of these many parties, you can’t keep anything in a small town quiet. The folks on our street got a birds eye view of him dragging me across the road by the fist full of hair, or getting beaten in the middle of the street with his fist; perhaps the midnight dash out of the house trying to find a safe place to hide after my brothers had taken off and left me there with his raging temper. There was always some type of explosion at our house and the temper of stepfather was well known to everyone.

As I talked with my therapist the other day, she asked me what I would say to the community of Freeburg and the many who watched me be handed out and rot in this hell. I would actually love to have an article published to share my anger with them. It was suggested by her the following:

“Everyone in that town should be REQUIRED to read your book so they could feel what you lived through and hopefully open their eyes to what they so blatantly ignored.”

In truth I know I wasn’t the only child in that town that suffered the abuses of their parents, but not once have I ever met anyone else who had rotted like I did or been left so severely scarred, both physically and emotionally, in such an extreme nature. To be perfectly honest however, the words I would like to say to them could only be screamed and would be so foul that it would just lower me to their mentality, so I’ll use this writing instead to express the trapped emotions. Hopefully this will help me shed another layer of pain and begin a new light of healing.

Our society is so judgment of everyone who seems to be poor or less worthy. Our society disregards even the children of those adults who they feel are unfit. Our society damns all who have contact with such families. Our human society has no empathy, respect or tenderness for the many in our country who do not live according to their beliefs and morals.

To all of society I ask you; What morals do you have when you turn away from these vicious acts against children committed by their parents and the family friends each and every day in our country? When our Federal Children’s Bureau has reports of the statistics on these crimes and in our present day world full of information, emergency response system, federal and state child maltreatment reporting mandates, but you still use the age old ‘UNFIT’ status quo to pass your judgment on who should and shouldn’t receive your attention and who deserves to receive help or rescue. The poor of our society are not all bad parents, in fact, the reports show that the largest account for child abuse in our country is the White Middle Class who account for 43.9% of all the reported 3,712,034 calls for help to Children’s Protective Services.

“How do these reality checks make you feel now about the moral standards of mankind?”

Every soul is born with purpose, let no one keep you down by their judgment. Dream and chase those dreams, put forth the effort and no one can hold you back. No matter what the past has taught you, tomorrow is a new day and a new chance to create, build, achieve!!

~~Always Live Strong & Fly Free~~

Patricia A. McKnight

Author: ‘My Justice’

Advocate/Speaker/Writer/Talk Radio Prod & Host/Survivor

Founder: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery & Talk Radio Brdcstng.

http://www.butterflydreamsabuserecovery.com

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