The Gap in Victims’ Rights and Protections

The gap fails to protect the victim.

When is the Victim of a Crime officially a Victim and afforded the Rights and Protections that Victims deserve?  Upon the reporting of the crime?  That makes sense, but is incorrect.  The Victim of a Crime has no protections as a Victim under the law until an arrest is made or charges are filed or an indictment has been handed down.  Until the decision to charge the perpetrator of a crime has been made, the Victim is not yet a Victim.  I shall refer to them as “Unvictims.”

The gap allows victims to continue being victimized.

Lacking the rights and protections afforded to Victims of Crimes, the Perpetrator can find ways around any protective order to Harass, Threaten, Intimidate and even Terrorize the Unvictim, causing the Unvictim’s life to become a living nightmare, the kind you believe only exist in horror flicks and Dramatic Lifetime Movies, you know the ones, where somebody has to die in the end.

The gap allows violent perpetrators to remain free.

The Perpetrator is able to bully the Unvictim until the Unvictim can no longer handle living in fear and halts the Investigation in exchange for peace with the Perpetrator thus allowing the Perpetrator to remain free and ensuring Justice is never served.

This is not a horror flick nor is it a Lifetime Movie, although it does have all the makings for one.  This is reality.  This is the retelling of real life events my children and I have suffered through, survived, and overcome.  These events continue to occur today and the will continue to occur until the Perpetrator of these horrendous acts and terrorization of my family gets everything he wants and not one minute before.  The law will not stop him.  The law looks the other way.  By law, we are not Victims nor will we ever be considering the main investigations have been halted by one of the Unvictims in exchange for the end of the living nightmare and the terrorization of her soul.

That is not all the Perpetrator demands.  The Perpetrator demands silence from myself and the other Unvictims.  The Perpetrator demands sole custody of the only child he still has rights to.  The Perpetrator demands the mother (that’s me) walks away from the child and forgets he ever existed.  The Perpetrator demands the mother pay him Child Support to live off of.  Until these demands are met, the Perpetrator will continue on his self-proclaimed mission of seeing to it that the mother is completely destroyed, imprisoned or dead.

Silence? Daddy always said I had a problem with authority and running my mouth.  He said running my mouth would cause me trouble but never did he say I should keep my mouth shut and my mind to myself.  Over the next few weeks, I shall tell the tale of how the Cochise County Sheriff’s Investigations’ Unit shelved an investigation of long-term, sexual abuse and molestation of a child beginning at the age of 9 and continuing non-stop until the age of 15, ignored pleas for help to stop the living nightmare, allowed the perpetrator of the child sexual abuse and molestation to terrorize the Unvictims of his crimes and to remain free to continue molesting children and how it was one of the Unvictims who eventually landed behind bars in an attempt to defend herself.

They never notice a thing until the victim fights back.

What does the “law” expect the
“Unvictim” to do when the law
fails to protect the “Unvictim”?

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Stranger Danger vs. Friendly Fire

Who is more dangerous, the creepy stranger standing on the street corner or the relative/friend-of-the-family you’ve known and trusted your entire life?

I remember learning about “Stranger Danger” as a child.  We were taught not to take candy from a stranger because they might through us into a van and drive off with us and we’d never be seen again.  Several homes in the neighborhood were marked as safe houses – places the children could run to in case of emergency and help was needed or the children needed a safe place to hide.  There was one we would stop in on the way to school every morning and watch a little cartoons while there.  That’s the only thing I can remember about it, as I was only about five years old or so.  I was either in Kindergarten or First Grade.  I’ll catch myself here before I digress.

We were never warned about the people residing in our own homes, family members, friends of the family, yet they ARE more dangerous than strangers.  Worse than that – they can get away with harming the children for years and once outed [IF (BIG IF) outed is more like it], still get away with it.  After all, who wants to believe that somebody you’ve known your entire life, who is a trusted and respected member of the family and society, is not only capable of but has carried out the worst atrocities against children one couldn’t even imagine thinking about carrying out?  Who wants to believe that their spouse, a person they consider their soulmate, has been sneaking into their daughter’s bed while you slept to molest their precious little girl?  I couldn’t believe it when it happened to me.  That is the normal reaction.

The first thought that runs through your head is that the child must’ve gotten into trouble and is trying to find a way out of trouble.  Our first thought is the rarest of possibilities.  Chances are, 99% of the time, the child is telling the truth yet somehow, we believe the child, that we raised to be honest and we believe we are doing a proper job in raising that child, is within that 1% of rare false reporters.  We automatically believe our child is lying because we don’t think there is any possible way Uncle Daddy is the type of person to rape our children.  There are not very many arrests in that area so why would we think it was possible?

Reality is that more than 90% of long-term child-sexual-abusers will never even be reported to authorities and around 95% of long-term-child-sexual-abusers will never be punished for their crimes.  Most of the long-term-child-sexual-abusers who are reported, will never be charged with the crime.  They get to roam freely and find their next target while you drown in the damages they’ve left behind.  Children are afraid to tell for a variety of reasons, the biggest and most common being that nobody will believe them.  Having experienced this in real life, within my own family, I can honestly say, those children are right.

Their abuser tells them over and over that nobody will believe them and they’d get in trouble.  Their abuser is telling them the truth.  So how do we change that?  How do we reprogram our brain to believe the child when the child tells?  That is the question and I don’t have the answer – or perhaps – education.  Just as we launched the Stranger Danger program, we need a program to teach people and children the reality of child sexual abuse; that reality being somebody in your home or who visits your home on a regular basis is more likely to sexually abuse your child than a stranger is.

When a child tells, you listen.  99% of the time, it is true and isn’t it better to err on the side of safety than the side of danger?

Dwelling in the light where the monsters cannot travel,

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**Please note, the numbers I used are from memory and may be off by up to 5%.**

My Father the Narcissist: A Narcissistic Father is a Tyrant and a Bully

Written by on August 6, 2013

Narcissistic fathers often emotionally damage their children. They disregard boundaries, manipulate their children by withholding affection (until the children “perform”), and neglect to meet the needs of their children because they are interested only in meeting their own needs. Their image and perfection is essential to narcissists; they often demand perfection from their children. The children thus feel intense pressure to be perfect and try to ramp up their talents, looks, intellect or personality to please their father. It has a high personal cost to them if they succeed in fulfilling their father’s wishes – and it can cost them just as much if they fail. It’s a no-win situation.

There is profound unhappiness among the members of a family ruled by a tyrannical narcissistic father. In many of these families, the mother simply echoes the father as she feels uncertain of herself (due to his emotional abuse) and is afraid to take her husband on. Often this destructive pattern is the result of the mother’s own childhood. Not aware of the dynamics of narcissism, she went from a cruel, tyrannical father to a brutal, domineering husband. Repetition of psychological patterns, such as is seen with abuse and narcissism, is common. The mother chooses a spouse similar to her abusive parent and raises a family in an abusive environment like the one she was raised in.

How a narcissistic father affects his children

Daughters of narcissistic fathers frequently report that they can never feel satiated when it to comes to getting what they need from their fathers. They never got enough time with their father and would have to compete with siblings for that rare time. As a young child, a father might comment on how beautiful his daughter was. But as she grew older, he would rarely miss an opportunity to comment on her weight and attitude. The daughters often carry these concerns into adulthood, even if they were otherwise successful. With a father like this, nothing is ever good enough. Their relationship with men in the future is clouded by feelings of vulnerability and worries that they’ll be dumped for someone else. Anxiously avoiding commitment or taking on the narcissistic role are both natural ways for the daughters to keep relationships “safe”.  It’s self protective but doesn’t lead to healthy relationships.

Sons of narcissistic fathers describe feeling that they can never measure up. Their fathers were so competitive they even compete with their sons. They either compete or pay no attention to their sons. The sons often simply accept defeat – how can they possibly win against a grown man? Sometimes they take another tact and work hard to beat their father at his own game- just to get his attention and some semblance of fatherly pride. Yet they never feel good enough even when they do succeed; they still feel empty and second rate.

Both girls and boys need to be loved by their fathers in order to feel validated as individuals. Narcissists are incapable of loving anyone other than themselves. Some of their children become narcissists themselves. That way they get their father’s attention (imitation is the highest form of flattery) and they learn from an expert how to manipulate and use people.

Having a tyrannical father is a nightmare for every member of the family except the “chosen child” (or children) whom he picks to reflect his perfect image. The chosen child is groomed to become his little clone. They have been chosen for their looks, intellect, special talents, or some other characteristic that the narcissistic father regards as valuable to him. Other children in the family are bypassed because they have not measured up to his expectations. They can be very bright, kind, considerate, or sensitive–none of this matters to the narcissistic father. He doesn’t care about the quality of his other children’s character or personality. These children suffer; they spend their whole childhoods doing their best, trying to get their father’s love and attention yet they always come up empty-handed. There is also usually the “scapegoat” child. Narcissistic fathers are often mean and cruel to these children and let them know- on a regular basis- that they are deficient, unmotivated, always wrong and too soft. They are worthless to him and are blamed for everything that goes wrong.

Characteristics of a Narcissistic Father

(From Children of the Self Absorbed: A Grownup’s Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents by Nina Brown)

  • Turns every conversation to himself
  • Expects you to meet his emotional needs
  • Ignores the impact of his negative comments on you
  • Constantly criticizes or berates you and knows what is best for you
  • Focus on blaming rather than taking responsibility for his own behavior
  • Expects you to jump at his every need
  • Is overly involved with his own hobbies, interests or addictions ignoring your needs
  • Has high need for attention
  • Brags, sulks, complains, inappropriately teases, is flamboyant, loud and boisterous
  • Is closed minded about own mistakes. Can’t handle criticism and gets angry to shut it off
  • Becomes angry when his needs are not met and tantrums or intimidates
  • Has an attitude of “Anything you can do, I can do better”
  • Engages in one-upmanship to seem important
  • Acts in a seductive manner or is overly charming
  • Is vain and fishes for compliments. Expects you to admire him
  • Isn’t satisfied unless he has the “biggest” or “best”
  • Seeks status. Spends money only to impress others
  • Forgets what you have done for him in the past but keeps reminding you that you owe him today
  • Neglects the family to impress others. Does it all: Is a super person to gain admiration
  • Threatens to abandon you if you don’t go along with what he wants
  • Does not obey the law-sees himself above the law
  • Does not expect to be penalized for failure to follow directions or conform to guidelines
  • Ignores your feelings and calls you overly sensitive or touchy if you express feelings
  • Tells you how you should feel or not feel
  • Cannot listen to you and cannot allow your opinions
  • Is more interested in his own concerns and interests than yours
  • Is unable to see things from any point of view other than his own
  • Wants to control what you do and say-tries to micromanage you
  • Attempts to make you feel stupid, helpless and inept when you do things on your own
  • Has poor insight and cannot see the impact his selfish behavior has on you
  • Has shallow emotions and interests
  • Exploits others with lies and manipulations.
  • Uses emotional blackmail to get what he wants
  • May engage in physical or sexual abuse of children

The tyrannical narcissistic father is a bully- a cruel, lying, arrogant person. He is a tyrant that is totally entrenched in his grandiose world and insistent that everyone follow his commands. He is emotionally abusive and can cause significant emotional damage to all family members. Unfortunately, his behaviors cause the relationships within a family to be toxic and can cause lifelong wounds.

References:

http://thenarcissistinyourlife.com/tyrannical-narcissistic-fathers-push-everyone-around/

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_know_if_your_father_is_a_narcissist

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201303/the-narcissistic-father

Has the Truth Ever Passed Though Your Lips?

Dispelling Rumors

This is my son, Johnny.  Now, I did not give birth to him.  He has an Angel Momma.  I did watch him take his first steps and hear him speak his first words and I love him ever so much.  Johnny has a special story that he and I will be telling.  I wish I had seen him before he was shipped off to his “dad’s” parent’s house way back when.  You see his black eyes in his first two baby pictures?  Those were neither the first bruises nor the last that his “dad” inflicted on him.  See, His “dad” is a Narcissistic Sociopath.  People like that place roles on the children in the home.  Johnny’s role was the Scapegoat.  The following defines scapegoating and how Johnny was treated in the home with the encouragement of his “dad”.  Why?  I have a theory.  I will tell you all about it…

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The Narcissist’s Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . .

Sure, the narcissist’s many defenses protect them–but at what cost?
Post published by Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on Oct 12, 2011 in Evolution of the Self

The ability to take criticism well depends mostly on how secure we feel about ourselves. Yet it could hardly be said that any of us actually enjoys being criticized. For it’s a challenge to avoid feeling defensive when we experience ourselves as attacked. At such times, it’s more “natural”–or rather, more aligned with our conditioning–to go into self-protective mode. And typically, the way we choose to protect ourselves is through denying the criticism, indignantly turning on the criticizer, or hastening to disengage from the uncomfortable situation entirely.

Such a well-nigh universal tendency is elevated almost to an art form with those afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). When criticized, narcissists show themselves woefully incapable of retaining any emotional poise or receptivity. And it really doesn’t much matter whether the nature of that criticism is constructive or destructive. They just don’t seem to be able to take criticism, period. At the same time, these disturbed individuals demonstrate an abnormally developed capacity to criticize others (as in, “dish it out” to them).

Although narcissists don’t (or won’t) show it, all perceived criticism feels gravely threatening to them (the reason that their inflamed, over-the-top reactions to it can leave us so surprised and confused). Deep down, clinging desperately not simply to a positive but grandiose sense of self, they’re compelled at all costs to block out any negative feedback about themselves. Their dilemma is that the rigidity of their defenses, their inability ever to let their guard down (even with those closest to them), guarantees that they’ll never get what they most need, which they themselves are sadly–no, tragically–oblivious of.

To better grasp why narcissists are so ready to attack others and so unable to deal with being attacked themselves, it’s useful to understand something about their childhood. People aren’t born narcissistic–it’s powerful environmental influences that cause them to become so.

As a caveat, however, I should add that no single theory adequately accounts for every instance of NPD. The explanation I’ll be offering, though seminal among those proposed, is still just one of several. But even though it’s a bit oversimplified, I think it elucidates the essential dynamic of the narcissistic defense system better than any of the theoretical alternatives.

Briefly, in growing up future narcissists had many reasons to doubt whether they were good enough. Neglected and ignored, or constantly disparaged and berated by their parents, they were held to unrealistically high standards of behavior. And their caretakers were quick to judge them whenever they failed to live up to such unreasonable, perfectionist expectations. As a result, they couldn’t help but feel defective, not okay, and insecure, doubting their fundamental worth as humans. In most instances, neither did they feel cared about or wanted–as though they were factory seconds, to be tolerated but not respected or loved. Anxiously experiencing their bond to their parents as tenuous (for regardless of how hard they tried, they never seemed able to acquire their approval or validation), in their head they cultivated an imaginary “ideal self” that could get the parental acceptance–even adulation–they craved. If narcissistic adults project an air of importance, superiority, entitlement, and grandiosity, it’s a pronounced reaction (or overreaction) to the massive self-doubt that, frankly, they keep well-hidden beneath the self-satisfied facade they present to others.

The narcissist’s marked lack of accurate empathy for the feelings, wants, and needs of others is all too well known. But what is less appreciated is that this deficiency represents an unfortunate consequence of their growing up so preoccupied with their own frustrated needs–and emotional distress generally–that they could never develop sufficient sensitivity to others. Intensely driven to succeed, or at least see themselves as successful, their focus inevitably became myopic, pathologically self-centered. Others simply weren’t in their line of (tunnel) vision.

Without any clear recognition of what’s motivating them, in their relationships as adults they continue to seek the encouragement, support, and acceptance denied them earlier. Yet, however unconsciously, at the same time they’ve cultivated the strongest defenses against ever having to feel so excruciatingly vulnerable again. And so when they’re criticized, or think they’re being criticized (and they’re definitely hyper-alert to the possibility), they’re compelled to react aggressively, in the frantic effort to avoid re-experiencing the terrible feelings of loneliness, abandonment, or rejection they suffered when they were younger.

It’s especially suggestive that two common terms in the psychoanalytic literature used to describe NPD are “narcissistic injury” and “narcissistic rage.” The “injury” results from their parents’ deficiencies in being able to adequately nurture them, and so make them feel loved–a prerequisite for self-love. Which is why they need constantly to prove themselves by arrogantly claiming a superiority over others that, alone, can make themselves feel “good enough” to be loved . . . but which, ironically, serves in time only to alienate these others.

It’s precisely this need to be viewed as perfect, superlative, or infallible that makes them so hypersensitive to criticism. And their typical reaction to criticism, disagreement, challenges-or sometimes even the mere suggestion that they consider doing something differently can lead to the “narcissistic rage” that is another of their trademarks. To protect their delicate ego in the face of such intensely felt danger, they’re decidedly at risk for going ballistic against their perceived adversary.

All of which indicates just how fragile their artificially bloated sense of self really is. Given the enormity of their defenses, they regard themselves not on a par with, but above others. Yet they’re mortally threatened when anyone dares question their words or behavior. Ancient fears about not being acceptable are never that far from the surface, which is why narcissists must forever be on their guard with anyone who might disbelieve or doubt them. For any external expression of doubt can tap into their own self-doubts.

And this is why, though they can certainly “dish it out” (by way of affirming to themselves their superiority over others), they just can’t “take it” themselves. Obviously, if the child part of them was unequivocally convinced about their basic acceptability–was, that is, adequately integrated into their adult part–they wouldn’t need to boast about (or exaggerate) their accomplishments, or vehemently debate anyone who took exception to their viewpoint. But it’s definitely the case with narcissists that they see their best defense as mandating a good offense.

To sum up the above (as well as extend it), when criticized, narcissists–acutely sensitive to negative evaluation–can begin to experience anxiety or degradation. A certain shame at their non-family-bonded core may rise perilously close to consciousness. So, by way of safeguarding themselves from such never-resolved feelings of worthlessness or defeat, they’re likely to react to present-day threats with contempt or defiance, or with a verbal violence frequently referred to as “narcissistic rage.”

Another way of putting this is that, exquisitely susceptible to criticism because it endangers their frail sense of internal validation, they take great pains to devalue or invalidate the person criticizing them. To achieve such dismissal of the threatening other, they’ll do everything possible to negate their viewpoint. And this can include much more than blaming or indignantly challenging them. For narcissists, when their position has been exposed as false, arbitrary, or untenable, will suddenly become evasive, articulate half-truths, lie (actually, as much to themselves as others), flat-out contradict themselves (and to a degree that can leave the other person gaping!), and freely rewrite history (literally–and audaciously–making things up as they go along). This is why at such times they don’t seem adults so much as six-year-olds. And in fact, when others inadvertently trigger mini emotional crises in them, there’s little doubt that, both cognitively and emotionally, they can regress to a maturity level of that age (or less).

So what’s the final cost of all the narcissist’s efforts to ward off what constitutes for them the unbearable sting of criticism? As already suggested, it’s immense. Though not consciously realized by them, their heart’s deepest desire is to form an intimate bond with another that would successfully address the huge void their parents’ denigration or neglect left in them. But because they’re so strongly motivated to avoid re-experiencing this keenly felt hurt, their overpowering defenses prevent them from letting anyone get close enough to assist them in recovering from their pain. A pain that they conceal quite as much from themselves as others.

Blaming and excessively criticizing others to shore up an extraordinarily vulnerable ego–and reacting antagonistically in the face of anything regarded as critical of themselves–they keep others at a distance that renders any true intimacy impossible. The way they “set things up” in relationships, particularly intimate relationships, makes their self-created dilemma unsolvable. And if they’re married, they can be expected to be especially hard on their spouse.

Recall that they need somehow to see themselves as perfect, for they can’t perceive anything less than that as good enough for the critical parent they’ve internalized (who’s now “immortalized” inside their own head). Consequently, they’re made extremely uncomfortable whenever their mate–implicitly viewed as an extension, or reflection, of their idealized self–reveals an imperfection or makes a mistake. In that moment they experience an irresistible urge to dis-identify themselves from their partner, for their partner is now inextricably linked to parental disapproval and rejection. At such times, they can be extremely unkind–and yes, even brutal–in how they react to them.

At last, the prodigious defenses of those with NPD simply don’t permit them to grow, to evolve, or to take full responsibility for their lives. They’re so “bound” by these defenses (which are more varied than I’ve been able to do justice to here) that there’s a stagnant, two-dimensional quality about them. They’re not really free to reform, to change, to progress, to expand. Given their considerable drive, they’re frequently able to attain more and more things. But as Huston Smith wisely declared: “You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.”

So they remain emotionally and spiritually unfulfilled, hungry for a nebulous something they can’t even conceive. Lacking the ego strength that would allow them to be genuinely vulnerable to others–the prerequisite for the intimacy they secretly long for–their relationships demonstrate a level of detachment not entirely dissimilar from their original so-hurtful disconnection from their parents. But this time they’re not just the victim but the “perpetrator,” too.

In attempting to avoid any resurgence of the acute pain they once felt with their non-nurturant caretakers, they succeed only in muting–or burying–this pain. They’re unwilling to take the chance that authentically opening themselves up to another could lead to a personal fulfillment beyond anything they ever experienced in growing up. So, in playing it safe, they present others with an impenetrable facade. And the price they pay for such habitual self-protectiveness is that their wounded inner child–well-hidden beneath their carefully cultivated, false exterior–can never be healed.

You can read this article and others like it on Psychology Today

Child Sexual Abuse Awareness

The highlighted text is applicable to our lives.  It is not the only portions of the text which are applicable.

This information comes to you from Sanford Health Dakota Children’s Advocacy Center.

Child sexual abuse overview

Child sexual abuse is a national epidemic. It affects boys and girls of all ages. In fact, this is a problem that directly affects millions of children around the world. Child sexual abuse is not rare. There is an estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America today, and based on prevalence data from adults, about 500,000 children are sexually abused each year in the US. In contrast, each year in the United States, there are 12,400 new cases of childhood cancer diagnosed and 18,000 new cases of juvenile diabetes diagnosed. It also affects more children than those diagnosed with asthma or ADHD.

What is child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult or another child in which the child is use for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse can include:

  • Touching of the vagina, penis, breasts or buttocks
  • Oral-genital contact
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Voyeurism (trying to look at a child’s naked body)
  • Exhibitionism
  • Exposing the child to pornography

Abusers often do not use physical force, but may use play, deception, threats or other forms of coercion to engage children and maintain their silence. Children can be sexually abused by another child or adolescent. Activity in which there is a clear power difference between them and one child is coercing the other—usually to engage in adult-like sexual behavior—generally would be viewed as abuse. This is very different from behavior in children of about the same age that reflects normal sexual curiosity and mutual exploration (such as playing doctor). While some degree of sexual curiosity and exploration is to be expected between children of about the same age, when one child coerces another to engage in adult-like sexual activities, the behavior is unhealthy and abusive.

Disclosure

Disclosure can be a scary and difficult process for children. Some children who have been sexually abused may take weeks, months or even years to fully reveal what was done to them. Many children never tell anyone about the abuse. In general:

  • Girls are more likely to disclose than boys
  • Very young children tend to accidentally reveal abuse, because they don’t have as much understanding of what occurred or the words to explain it
  • School-aged children tend to tell a caregiver
  • Adolescents are more likely to tell friends

Disclosure is often a difficult process for children. It is rarely a one-time event in which an interviewer sits down with a child and the child tells everything. Children often tell their stories over a period of time and some never fully tell what happened. Delayed disclosures are more common then not. Many children will never tell. Reasons many children don’t disclose include:

  • Fear the abuser may hurt them or their families
  • Fear of not being believed, or will be blamed and get in trouble
  • Worry that their parents will be upset or angry
  • Shame or guilt
  • Fear that disclosing will disrupt the family, especially if the perpetrator is a family member or friend
  • Fear that if they tell, they will be taken away and separated from their family

Additionally, to most children telling means something very different then it does to adults. Children will say “Uncle Joe hurt me” and will assume adults know what they are talking about and will react to keep them safe. They don’t understand or comprehend why adults would need more information.

What do I do if a child discloses?

  • Listen. Do not fill in words for the child.
  • If the child is having a difficult time talking—don’t help the child with words that you think the child is going to say. Allow the child to tell you what happened in their own words.
  • Tell the child that you are glad that they told you.
  • Tell the child “It was not your fault.”
  • Reassure the child that they are not in trouble.
  • If the child asks you not to tell anyone, remind the child that it is your job to help keep them safe and you will do whatever you may need to do to keep them safe.
  • Do not be overly critical of the offender. Children are protective of people they care about, even if they are being abused.
  • Tell the child you believe them.
  • Don’t express panic or shock.
  • Use the child’s vocabulary to the child and when reporting.
  • Be aware of your own feelings about abuse so that hopefully you will not project these onto the child.
  • Do not ask probing questions.
  • Remember you must report suspected abuse.

Recantation

Recantation is common among children who disclose sexual abuse; approximately 23 percent of children who disclose sexual abuse later recant. Studies show that most children who recant are telling the truth when they originally disclose. Recantation is largely a result of familial adult influences rather than a result of false allegations. Children are more likely to recant when they are younger, abused by a parent figure and who lacked support from the non-offending caregiver. Interestingly, children who were placed in foster care immediately following the disclosure of sexual abuse were slightly less likely to recant then those children who remained with family members. Finally, when looking at reaffirmation rates, the researchers noted that 48.3 percent of the children who recanted their statements of sexual abuse eventually reaffirmed at least some part of those statements.

Children with no emotional reaction

Often there are times when you will encounter children who have been abused and they are emotionally upset, angry about the abuse or show extreme embarrassment. This will most often occur with children who are abused by strangers or when the abuse is a one-time incident. Children who are abused by someone they know and/or are victims of chronic abuse may suffer from depression and thus present with no emotion or a matter-of-fact stance. Sometimes it can be difficult to believe that the incident occurred, especially violent abuse, when the child’s disclosure does not involve any emotion. The fact that the child may be depressed should be taken into account when making the assessment of the child’s statements.

Common myths about child sexual abuse

Children who have a normal medical exam were not sexually abused.

False: The majority of children who have been sexually abused do not have conclusive medical findings that substantiate sexual abuse.

Children make these types of things up for attention.

False: Most victims are very reluctant to disclose abuse; they attach a sense of shame to their victim status, and blame themselves for the abuse.

Only female children are abused.

False: Many boys are victims of sexual abuse.

You will be able to tell if your child has been sexually abused.

False: There is no foolproof way to tell if your child has been sexually abused.

All children who have been sexually abused will become abusers in the future.

False: Appropriate counseling may help prevent the cycle from continuing.Children who have been abused need help dealing with the trauma of abuse.

Children will tell someone when they have been abused.

False: Children are often afraid or ashamed to tell someone about their abuse. Many children are threatened not to tell.

Children are always angry with the abuser.

False: Children can have feelings of anger, fear, love and concern for their abusers. Children can love the abuser but hate what the abuser did.

A child who has been sexually abused once will not let it happen again.

False: Children do not let abuse happen and often cannot protect themselves against adults.

Gentle sexual activities that aren’t forced or don’t involve penetration will not harm the child.

False: Any sexual activity with a child can be emotionally and physically harmful.

Sexual assault by a stranger is more traumatic than sexual abuse by a known adult.

False: Children can be more traumatized when an adult the child knows commits the abuse; because the child’s trust in the adult has been broken.

All sexual offenders are men.

False: Women as well as other children can be sexual offenders.

If an alleged offender insists he or she did not abuse the child, the child must be lying.

False: Most offenders deny that they abuse children. The police and Child Protection services will carefully investigate cases of alleged abuse.

Men who sexually abuse children do not have relationships with women.

False: Men who sexually abuse can be married, have children of their own or be in serious relationships with adult women, it doesn’t make a difference.

You can tell if a person would molest a child by their personality or their appearance.

False: There is no foolproof way to tell if a person would abuse a child. People of all incomes, education levels and professions have been convicted of child sexual abuse.

People who sexually abuse children do so only to achieve sexual pleasure.

False: Many times sexual abuse involves issues of control and power. In other cases, sexual abuse involves unresolved issues of past abuse.

Grooming awareness

Most offenders groom their victims; in other words, they spend time making themselves look nice to their victims and their victims’ families. Many times offenders appear as charming, smart, caring, warm and helpful. Grooming is a process that sometimes occurs over years. It starts by building relationships with potential victims that an offender targets. They may do this by hanging out where children are: schools, malls, playgrounds and parks. They often target children who feel unloved and unpopular and will welcome any adult attention. Children with family problems, who spend time alone and unsupervised, who lack confidence and self-esteem and who are isolated from their peers are all likely targets.

Grooming also often involves building trusting relationships with adults who are in charge of children and may be overwhelmed. Single parents, homes where parents have to work more then one job and caregivers who are sick or disabled may be seen as easy targets by offenders because there is less time and resources to spend on the child. Often this includes helping out the parent by offering to babysit, give rides and even becoming physically involved with the caretaker. Offenders do whatever they have to do to become a trusted part of their life and gain access to their victim. Successful predators find and fill voids in a child’s life.

Once the offender has built that trust and has access to the child, grooming moves in another direction. They start to prepare the child for a physical relationship. The first physical contact between offender and victim is often non-sexual touching designed to break down boundaries: They may hug the child too long, start to play tickle games or have the child sit on their lap. Non-sexual touching desensitizes the child. It breaks down inhibitions and leads to more overt sexual touching—the offender’s ultimate goal. They may “accidently” leave out pornography or start making comments about a child’s physical appearance. An offender will usually introduce secrecy at some point during the grooming process. Initially, secrecy binds the victim to the offender: “Here’s some candy but don’t tell your mother.” Later on, secrecy often includes threats: “If you tell your mother what happened, she’ll hate you. I’ll get in trouble and we’ll never see each other again.”

Eventually the touching moves to sexualized touches. The offender may “accidentally” move his hand up the child’s shirt while tickling them, or put their hand down a child’s pants “to keep them warm”. Children most often react confused and unsure of what to do.

Grooming signs to watch for:

  • Having a “special relationship” with the child. Often wanting alone time and spending unusual amounts of time with them.
  • Offering drugs or alcohol to older children or teenagers.
  • Secrets between the adult and child.
  • Becoming “indispensible” to the caregiver; offering to babysitting and/or having the child sleep over night.
  • Buying their victim and/or caregiver gifts or money for no apparent reason (toys, dolls).
  • Pornography in the house that is “left out” or where the child can see or reach.
  • Commenting on the child’s appearance: how beautiful they are, how grown up they look, how they are developing and even how sexy they are.
  • Talking about sexual topics or participating in sexual acts where the child can see or hear.
  • Talking about problems normally discussed between adults, including marital problems and other conflicts.
  • Having a non-sexual physical relationship with the child such as having the child always sit on their lap, tickling the child or rubbing their back constantly.
  • And they almost always offer a sympathetic, understanding ear. “Your parents don’t understand or respect you? I do. I respect you. I care for you more than anybody else. And I love you. I’m here for you.” They take an undue interest in someone else’s child, to be the child’s “special” friend to gain the child’s trust.

What you need to know about sex offenders

The majority of sex offenders are male, although a small percentage is female. The average age of the sex offender is 31. Sexual offenders usually don’t fit the stereotypes of being dirty old men or strangers lurking in alleys. More often, they are known and trusted by the children they victimize. They may be members of the family, such as parents, siblings, cousins or non-relatives, including family friends, neighbors, babysitters or older peers. There’s no clear-cut profile of a sex offender. About 20—30 percent of offenders were sexually abused as children, but others have no such history. Some are unable to function sexually with adult partners and so prey on children, while others also have sexual relations with adults.

Child sexual abuse is so hard for most people to comprehend because people want to believe it only happens when an offender is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but that’s not usually the case. Very frequently, abusers are repeat offenders and a significant percent are adolescents.

  • Family members commit 39% of the reported sexual assaults on children (Snyder, 2000).
  • 56% of those that sexually abuse a child are acquaintances of either the child or the family (Snyder, 2000).
  • Only 5% of sexual abuse is perpetrated by a stranger (Snyder, 2000).
  • The younger the victim, the more likely it is that the abuser is a family member. 50% of those molesting a child under 6 were family members. 23% of those abusing a 12—17 year-old child were family members (Snyder, 2000). 34% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by juveniles. In fact, 7% of sexual abuse is perpetrated by youth under the age of 12 (Snyder, 2000).
  • The younger the child victim, the more likely it is that the perpetrator is a juvenile. Juveniles are the offenders in 43% of assaults on children under age 6. 14% of these offenders are under the age of 12 (Snyder, 2000). Homosexual individuals are no more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual individuals. (Jenny, et. al., 1994).

The impact of child sexual abuse on adolescents

Children who have been sexually abused may display a range of emotional and behavioral reactions, many of which are characteristic of children who have experienced other types of trauma. A number of factors influence how a child reacts to a specific traumatic event including:

  • Severity of the trauma
  • Extent of exposure to the event
  • History of or presence of other stressors
  • Multiple episodes of abuse or exposure to violence
  • Proximity to the trauma
  • Preexisting mental health issues
  • Personal significance of the trauma
  • Separation from a caregiver during the trauma
  • Extent of disruption in support systems during and after the trauma
  • Parental mental health issues and parent distress
  • Support available from family members
  • Presence of supportive role models in the child’s life
  • There is a growing body of literature that suggests that genetic factors may influence the strength of an individual’s response to any given traumatic event, producing more extreme responses in some children.
  • Although many children who have experienced sexual abuse show behavioral and emotional changes, many others do not.

Traumatized may report vague physical complaints, seek attention from parents and teachers, withdraw from others, experience sleep difficulties, avoid school, show a decrease in school performance and even show regressive behaviors, like the inability to handle tasks and chores that they used to be able to handle. Traumatized adolescents may isolate themselves, resist authority, and become highly disruptive. Because adolescents may experience feelings of immortality, they may experiment with high-risk behaviors such as substance use, promiscuous sexual behavior, cutting, and suicidal behaviors or other risky behaviors, like driving at high speeds or picking fights. Coping behaviors don’t always appear to be negative. Adolescents that internalize things may become perfectionists and over achievers. Always having to prove themselves or be the best. They become good at hiding their pain by always being perfect.

Adolescents may also feel extreme guilt due to not preventing injury or loss to loved ones. They may fantasize about revenge against those they feel caused the trauma. Adolescents typically feel a very strong need to fit in with their peers. This may result in a reluctance to discuss their feelings, even denial of any emotional reactions. Finally, due to their increased maturity, adolescents may show traumatic responses similar to those seen in adults. These responses could include flashbacks, nightmares, emotional numbing, avoidance of reminders of the trauma, depression, suicidal thoughts, difficulties with peer relationships and anti-social behavior (e.g., criminal acts).

A list of other behaviors that traumatized adolescents may show includes:

  • Withdrawal from peers/family
  • Substance abuse
  • Delinquent behaviors
  • Perfectionism
  • Change in school performance
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Detachment and denial
  • Shame about their fear and vulnerability
  • Abrupt changes in or abandonment of friendships
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • “Pseudo mature” actions such as getting pregnant, leaving school and getting married

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My Dearest Sunshine

March 5, 2015

I never noticed the light had left your eyes. To pretend your whole life that everything was OK; to paint on a smile every single day while your heart was breaking; how difficult that must have been for you to hold it all inside and how amazing you are for accomplishing so much in spite of it all.  I believed you’d always come to me.  I never expected you’d believe you had to protect me. My Cindy Lou, my Sunshine, taking on such a role at such a young age should never have happened and I am so sorry that I never noticed the light leaving your eyes.

I was thinking, why can’t you believe in me and trust in me; at least half as much as I believe and trust in you, but I realize you can’t.  How could you?  I failed you. I should have seen the signs. I should have seen the light leaving your eyes.  I should’ve noticed the pain you hid deep inside.  I am so sorry these things happened to you.  I am sorry I did not protect you from him.  I am sorry I did not make it clear enough that you could tell me anything in the world and I would trust and believe every word and I would take any and all actions necessary to protect you and keep you safe from the one inflicting that pain on you.  I just can’t fix what’s broken if no one ever tells me what’s broken.

I’m sorry that John put all of that stuff all over Facebook.  I am sorry he texted people and called people and said all of those things about you to everyone and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to stop him and that nobody else was either.  It’s hurting Devon too.  I tried to get our story out there and you were with me for a bit.  I’m sorry you no longer want me writing, but I have to write.  I have to tell my story and hope that other mothers will become more aware of the signs than I was so that they don’t experience what I am experiencing now and their children don’t live through what mine have lived through.  Had somebody made me aware, maybe I would’ve noticed the light leaving your eyes and maybe, just maybe, I could’ve saved you from him, protected you, done my job as a your Mom.  Besides, John wants me to shut up as do his minions and puppets. When we go silent, he wins.  He gets control again.  I cannot allow that to happen.

I am your mother and you are my daughter.  I have loved you since before I knew when you were coming.  I had been planning you my entire life.  You had a name before you even had a Father, before I had a husband, before I could even create you.  I would never replace you.  I could never replace you.  Never once have I even considered the idea nor would I ever.  You are my one and only Sunshine and you will always be my one and only Sunshine.  You are irreplaceable and you are everything I have always known you would be.  I waited my whole life for you before you came and I will spend my whole life loving you, unconditionally.  I have other children and I love them all.  I have a big enough heart that I can love them and continue to love you.

I know he told you that I love them more than I love you, but he lied. I know that thought he implanted into your mind was triggered when we were in Texas, and you saw me hug Ashley and heard me tell her I love her.  I saw the switch in you flip.  I knew right then that I had just triggered your rage.  Nothing has been the same since that moment.  Know that everything he ever said was a lie.  He said those things to come between us, so you wouldn’t trust me enough to tell me what he was doing to you.  He said those things so that you wouldn’t trust your sisters and so that you wouldn’t have a good relationship with them.  He created chaos and destroyed the relationships between the family members so that nobody would tell anybody else what he was doing to them.  I have triggers too.  You were not his only victim; however, I recognize that you as the ‘golden child’ and Johnny as the ‘scapegoat’ had additional sufferings.

Certain insults are a trigger because I did suffer verbal and emotional abuse during my marriage to your father and now I suffer it from John and from you.  Also from your older brother at times, which I am working on putting a stop to.  I suffer it from you too.  You kids have had some pathetic examples set for you to follow on how to treat your mother.  John was bad about showing you guys that I am worthless and nothing I have to say is important, not even my own decisions and especially my decisions with you kids.  We argued over that quite often.  He’d tell you guys to ask me and I would answer and he’d get mad because I’d give the wrong answer.  Finally, I told him if he doesn’t trust the decisions I make when you kids ask me something, then he should stop sending you to ask me.  You and John argued about that too.  I let you do something and he got pissed off at you because he didn’t want you to do it.  He told you he didn’t care what I had to say about it.  He called me a piss poor excuse of a mother to you.  Imagine that. He was giving you drugs, having you sell drugs, molesting you, manipulating you, degrading you, verbally abusing you and he called me a piss poor excuse of a mother.  I was his mirror.  He was saying that about himself while projecting himself onto me.

He made everybody in the home hate each other by playing games with their weaknesses.  He caused your abandonment issues when he caused your Daddy to stop picking you up for visits.  He then played on those abandonment issues by telling you I’d leave you, or they’d take you from me, or you’d be left all alone if you ever told what he was doing.  Don’t let him win.  Don’t let him get control again.  Your Daddy didn’t mean to abandon you.  He loved you so much.  John made that happen.  He had to isolate you from your Daddy so he could step into that spot and gain your trust.  He chose us as his victims the first day he saw me after Dara left him.  He has been playing with our minds and emotions since day one.

Your sisters didn’t mean to abandon you.  They loved you and still love you, but you were so mean to them back then.  You scared them.  You scared me too at times.  They did not know that you were mean because of the things John carved into your mind.  Your sisters did not even know that both of them were being hurt by John.  They did not come up with some elaborate plan, leaving you out of it, to escape the abuse and abandon you, leaving you behind to continue to be abused.  Ashley only spoke up because Tiffany had spoken up, then they hoped you would speak up if you were experiencing the same abuses. They did not know how long and how often he had been abusing you or of all the threats and promises he had been making you.  They did not know the extent and severity of the abuses he was inflicting on you.  They were just kids, like you, at the time.  They didn’t know anything more than you knew.

Your sisters still love you; they want the best for you and they want you to be OK.  They want a relationship with you again.  They miss you.  They are very sorry for what their father did to you and to everyone else.  I am very sorry too.  I wish I could change everything that has happened and replace the bad memories with beautiful memories, but I do not have that power.  I can only make the future better than the past.

I would never toss you aside for them or anyone else.  I don’t make trades or deals with my children’s lives.  I have told that same thing to John many times; each time he tried to make a deal with all of you.  I do not make deals with children as if they were objects to possess nor do I give in to ultimatums.  He’s given me an ultimatum, too.  If I don’t do as he says, then he will make my life hell.  I am my own person and I am in control of me, not him, so I do what I feel needs to be done.  Like a spoiled brat who has not gotten what he wants, he’s been throwing a tantrum and making my life hell.  So be it.  I will continue to do what I feel is necessary.  I will survive and he will never get what he wants.  This thing that’s going on in our lives with the constant attacks and false rumors he continues to spread to try to finish off our family the rest of the way may never end.  I don’t know.

Take something from a spoiled brat and they tend to throw fits! They will say anything just to hurt! Even get revenge! So so sad!!! ~ John Jaramillo

I am his mirror.  That’s what he said to me.  But he didn’t say it to me; he said it to himself while projecting himself onto me.  I have no idea how long a tantrum like the one he is throwing can last.  I understand it is too much for the injured to bear.  It is too much for you and Devon to bear.  I have done my best to act as a shield for the both of you by putting myself out there and getting between him and the two of you.  It isn’t easy and it brings me pain and heavy burdens, but I can bear it.  My strength as a Mom protecting her children from further harm is greater than he is.  You do not need to worry about me.  You do not need to try to protect me.  I will tend to him.  You focus on yourself and being the kid that you should have been allowed to be all along.  Let Mom handle the monster.  I got this.  Now that I know what’s broken, I know what to fix.

Now you’ve given me an ultimatum. I’m sorry that you are not proud to be my daughter.  I’m sorry that your love for me is not unconditional and that in order to have your love, I have to do as you say.  That is not love.  That is not how love works.  I have done everything to teach you how love works, but I am afraid I am unequipped to undo the damage that John has done and I do not know how to erase the misinformation and ugliness that he has engraved in you.  That is not who you are at the core of your being, is it?  I know that it isn’t.  I know it is John who taught you to be this way.  I taught you differently.  You don’t have to become what he is.  You can still be you.  Not everyone is like him and not everyone is going to hurt you like he did.  No one will hurt you like he did ever again.  No one will be able to once you learn the signs like I’m doing.  I also know you are your father’s daughter and you have his stubbornness, along with many other traits.

Do you know that ultimatums are abuse?  You are attempting to force me to give you what you want regardless of the truth and my feelings and wellbeing.  This is me.  This is who I am.  I am always learning and always growing.  If you cannot accept me as I am, then I will have to accept that.  If I have to change who I am just to be loved by you, then I will have to live without your love because that is not love and it is not you who controls me;  it is me who controls me.  For once in my life, I know who and what I am and I am in control of that.  I am awake.  I am aware.  I am no longer blinded or manipulated.  I see the entire truth, all of its beauty and all of its ugliness. I write the entire truth, both the good and the bad.  I like to write.  It helps me empty my mind, organize my thoughts, put things into perspective, understand more about the events of the past and regain my balance when I go into the negative emotional spin cycle between rage and despair.

I am not afraid to tell my story.  Why are you afraid to tell yours now?  You weren’t afraid before.  You’ve done nothing wrong and you have nothing to hide.  You have nothing to be ashamed for.  There is no shame in admitting somebody hurt you and how they hurt you.  There is also no shame in being honest and admitting your own shortcomings.  You should not be ashamed or embarrassed that you were victimized.  It was not your fault and it was not in your control.  It does not make you less of a person and it does not make you any less intelligent.  You did not make a mistake.  You were taken advantage of by somebody who pretended to love you.  He is a great pretender.  You are becoming a great pretender too.  Don’t let him dictate your future.  Don’t let him finish off what’s left of our family.  We need to stick together and keep our bonds strong.  Together we can fight him and win.  And with all of us together, all seven of us working together, there is nothing he can do to hurt us and we can put him where he belongs.  You could tell your story and it would help you as well as other people that are going through what you have gone through.  You don’t have to take the path of the abuser.  You can take the path of the warrior.  It is your choice.  You have made your decision.  I will accept it as it is.

I accept you for whom and what you are.  I love you unconditionally and I always will.  I will not subject myself no others in my home to abuse.  I cannot have abusive people in my home.  As much as I love you, I cannot allow you to abuse me or anyone else in my home.  You know right from wrong.  You know what it’s like to suffer abuse.  You don’t like it and neither do I.  If you wish to take the easy road, I cannot stop you and I will no longer try.  Monsters are not allowed in my home.  If ever you decide to do the right thing, to act with honor and integrity, the way you used to be and to follow your dreams and live a happy, satisfying life instead of carrying that anger around with you everywhere you go, I’ll be here for you.

All of my love,
        All of my Thoughts with you,
                All of my Prayers for you,
        Always and Forever,
Always Unconditionally,
        With a Heavy Heart,
                By The Grace of God I Go
        Mom

P.S.  I am adding Zac to my story in the next few days and more of my story with you, explaining and demonstrating the abuses I have suffered from the both of you.  I will also be revealing that I am not the only one with a daughter spreading lies about me now.  Participating in the actions of the main abuser.  My best friend has the same issue and the words that came out of her mouth sounded just like yours.  I am no longer tolerating abuse from anyone.  I know you’re hurting, but it is not my fault and I will not allow you, nor Zac, nor Jos to take your anger out on me.  Welcome to adulthood: the place where actions have consequences and you get exactly what you give.