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Support Group for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

SUPPORT GROUP FOR ADULT SURVIVORS OF CHILD ABUSE

Not On Our Watch America Foundation envisions bringing together the over 42 MILLION adults in the U.S. who have survived Child Abuse.

WE HAVE BEEN SILENT FAR TOO LONG.  

Preventing Child Abuse needs a VOICE.

OUR VOICE.

Come join us every other Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., on this healing journey, in a safe, stable and nurturing environment.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, October 4, 2016.

I AM ONE 

WE ARE ONE

Randa Fox @ 713-447-0489

Isn’t it time to begin your healing journey?

You can also connect with me on my phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, on this website or by email @ randafoxnoow@gmail.com.

“FATE WHISPERS TO THE WARRIOR.

YOU CANNOT SURVIVE THE STORM.

AND THE WARRIOR WHISPERS TO FATE,

 I AM THE STORM.”

*Below is an excerpt from the SURVIVOR TO THRIVER Manual and Workbook for adult survivors of child abuse who want to move on with life sponsored by The Norma J Morris Center, creator of the ASCA program, a 501C3

*STEP ONE

I am in a breakthrough crisis, having gained some sense of my abuse.

 “For many survivors, this first step represents the first sign that their past has caught up with them. Survivors at this point often experience a “breakthrough crisis”: something happens to release a flood of old memories, feelings and even physical sensations of the abuse. Although this crisis does not necessarily destabilize all survivors, for many it can be the most harrowing time in recovery, and it often provides the impetus to finally face the past.

 

These are important times in our lives, and the lives of our children, and what we as a community do over the next 40 years will make the difference in millions of lives.

~ Randa Fox

The Ace Study and Why It Matters Over 15 Years Later

by Cody Adams
(Lone Oak, TX)

There is no denial that our future lies in the children of today and tomorrow. This is why so many in the medical and science fields, dedicate their lives to finding solutions to problems related to children and identifying correlations to better predict issues at hand and prevent them. It often takes years, even decades, for ground breaking studies and solutions to reach the masses with the vital information and then implement it. But this gap in time from the initial findings to implementation, does not detract from the information or make it any less valuable, in fact it makes it even that much more important when the results are of epidemic proportions.

ACEChart%20720x430

In 1997, one of the most important studies in relation to child abuse was released, changing the way we view child abuse forever. Helping us  to understand the actual scale of abuse and how it has reached epidemic levels. This study is known as the ACE or Adverse Childhood Experience Study and is considered one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being. The study is a collaboration between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente’s Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego.

The ACE Study findings suggest that certain experiences are major risk factors for the leading causes of illness and death as well as poor quality of life in the United States. It is critical to understand how some of the worst health and social problems in our nation can arise as a consequence of adverse childhood experiences. Realizing these connections is likely to improve efforts towards prevention and recovery. Almost two-thirds of the study participants reported at least one ACE point, and more than one of five reported three or more ACE. The    short and long-term outcomes of these childhood exposures include a multitude of health and social problems. Here are some of the effects:

• Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
• Depression
• Fetal death
• Health-related quality of life
• Illicit drug use
• Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
• Liver disease
• Risk for intimate partner violence
• Multiple sexual partners
• Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
• Smoking
• Suicide attempts
• Unintended pregnancies
• Early initiation of smoking
• Early initiation of sexual activity
• Adolescent pregnancy

Though this information is reaching almost 20 years since it’s release, the findings are more important than ever. We need to get this study out to the public so we can better understand our own health and lives. Then use this knowledge to create a more safe, stable and nurturing environment for our children of today and tomorrow. Adults who understand the consequences of yelling, physical violence, neglect, etc., are better equipped to raise healthy children and influence other adults to the same techniques.

It is important to remember that when studies like these come out, it is not a damning of our own childhood or our parenting skills. Rather, it is information that can help us better understand the world from our own perspective and the perspective of a child, which can then help us be better adults and child caretakers. Knowledge is power, not our enemy, and our children need this power more than we may even know.

Share this information with your friends and family and help create the type of world we would be proud to leave behind. All it takes is a little knowledge and a little action to makes ripples that will be felt across the world.

Click here to take the ACE Questionnaire.

SILENCE IS VIOLENCE

This letter was written by a very brave young woman.  I asked her if I could post it on my website.  We were brainstorming to come up with  a title.   Hailey found the perfect one:

 

SILENCE IS VIOLENCE!

 

I know it has been a long time. I have sat back and thought long and hard about even addressing you. But I have things I need to say to you to lighten the burden I have carried since I was a child.

I find it to be inexcusable how you let my father abuse me day after day without saying a word to stop the violent actions when I was too young to stand up for myself. Your silence was as painful as every hit I took. I find it heartbreaking that you rather alienate a child who experienced molestation instead of helping that child find hope, peace and understanding of those experiences. But instead you labeled me ‘a devil child’ and remained blind to the root causes of my behavior.

My lying, anger, depression and drug use as a teenager stemmed from the trauma I accumulated through my childhood. And again you alienated me by telling my grandmother you needed time to get your life together, yet you continued to allow my other sister contact.

I am devastated that I have missed so much of my sisters lives on account of your lack of understanding and compassion.

It has taken me years but I have worked  through my trauma with the help of yoga, meditation and art. I came to realize the burden of the abuse I endured is not mine to carry for I was too young to understand and the ways I chose to express myself was how I could convey what had happened to me. But still this emptiness created from the severed connection of sibling bond has me feeling defeated.

I really do not expect anything from you and I  do not want to be countered with excuses. I just needed to let this off my chest so when I look back I will know I did everything I could and this separation is not my fault.  I take comfort in knowing I will always stand up for children who are abused and never blame the child for behaviors created by abusive adults.

Thank you for the lessons,

-Hailey

ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A MAN WHO WALKED 10,000 MILES

Once upon a time there was a man who walked 10,000 miles across Europe because he decided that children should be raised in an environment free from Sexual Abuse.  

You see when he was a little boy, his uncle sexually molested him.   In fact, his uncle not only abused Matty, but several of his brothers.    You wouldn’t know it by just looking at this man – he was a teacher and he was always nice to his nephews.  He gave them lots of gifts and always wanted to spend time with them.  No one ever thought he was a child molester.  But he was.  He was a master of deception and manipulation.  The community never suspected that these little boys were being sexually molested.  For years……..

matty on the way to Croatia

At the age of 13, Matty gathered all of his courage and said “no” to his uncle.  He knew he needed to get away and had even thought about jumping out of the 2nd story window, but instead he ran to the front door and escaped. He ran and he ran, all the way home.   But Matty never told anyone – not even his mom or his dad. Not for a very long time.

When he was around 17,  he was very depressed and angry.  Then he started noticing that several of his brothers were also acting strange and lost and sad.  Matty once again gathered up all of his courage and he finally told his parents.  How shocked they were!  Of course they believed Matty, but they weren’t sure how to handle this information.  They were afraid too, and they decided it might be best to not tell anyone.  Everyone was sad and afraid.

Slowly, as Matty began to realize the devastation that was occurring in his family, not only inside of him, inside of his brothers, and inside of his whole family, he took a stand.  He decided that no adult should be allowed to abuse any more children.

The family gathered together and knew it was time to start healing and to let the police know about all of the bad things that this man had done to the children.   So this amazing family joined together in their love for one another and called upon all of their strength and filed charges against this uncle.

Luckily, in Scotland, there is no Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse.  All of the brothers were interviewed separately and it was obvious to the police that a crime had been committed against these children, and they sentenced the uncle to 6 years in prison.

Matty and his brothers are still healing, but now they know that what happened to them was NEVER their fault, and they know that any shame, guilt or stigma was never their’s to carry.   It lay solely on their uncle.   These brothers, this Band of Brothers, courageously found their voice and spoke their truth.   Healing from sexual abuse as a child is a lifelong journey.

During this time, Matty wrote a play called “TO KILL A KELPIE”.  (A Kelpie is a mythical monster in Scotland who lives in the water and eats wee little innocent children).   Matty’s play was made into a movie.  He began realizing that he was not alone, thanks to the Moria Anderson Foundation’s support for families who find themselves in this nightmare.  Matty was understanding that there were children everywhere who were still being molested, by family members and by people who were trusted friends.  So Matty decided to do something more brave than anything he had ever done in his life.

to kill a kelpie

 

He decided he would walk to every European Nation’s capital, and along the way he would share his story, share his movie, talk to people and help raise awareness of what he now realized was a SILENT EPIDEMIC OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE of global proportions.

Everyone thought he was crazy.  And maybe he was, just a little!   But nonetheless, Matty was going to walk 10,000 MILES across Europe and reach as many people as he could.  He also decided he would talk to every government in each country about the Statute of Limitations, because not all countries are like Scotland.

map of road to change matthew_mcvarish31

Now you might ask, who in their right mind walks 10,000 miles to share the message of hope and awareness?  I can answer that questions for you because I had the pleasure of meeting this amazing man.  After reading about his journey on Facebook, I contacted him.  I knew that SOMEDAY – SOMEHOW – I was going to walk with him.  I had to let him know he was not alone.  I needed to show my support for his courage.  You see, I was also molested as a child.

And so, I asked a filmmaker friend, Cody Adams, to fly with me to Slovenia to document the journey that I was about to embark upon.  I was going to walk with Matty for 5 days from Slovenia to Croatia.

 

matty and stigo at the airport

This is Matty and Stigo meeting us at the airport in Slovenia.  Stigo drove the old rag-tag van called Yvonne, and he would drive ahead and be a ‘home base’ as Matty walked.  It was also their home for almost 2 years.

Matty and I walked for 5 days, about 30 kilometers a day and we talked, and we talked, and we talked even more.  My life changed forever.

                randa with a soldiermatty on the way to Croatia               randa on the 1st day

When the time came for me to come back to America, I was so sad because I knew Matty still had over 5,000 miles left to walk and his journey would not end until the first week of February, 2015.

Slowly but surely, Matty began to receive a lot of international media attention.   People started to notice.  The hard conversations were beginning about child sexual abuse.  People started to talk about this man from Scotland who was walking in a kilt across Europe.   The momentum was beginning to take hold.

   randa and matty on the 5th day

After I left, I knew Matty still a long journey ahead of him.    But along the way, as word started to spread, he had an audience with the Pope.   He spoke to the United Nations about child sexual abuse, and he continues to touch millions of people thanks to social media and his absolute dedication to creating awareness.

And as he ended his epic journey, I flew to Scotland the first week of February, 2015, to be apart of this extraordinary man’s remarkable accomplishments.   It was a week long celebration like none I had ever witnessed!  There were magical moments every where I turned.   Matty was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Conservatoire where he got his Masters degree.

IMG_3538

 

He returned home to his family a different man.  A stronger man.  A hero.

 

matty, his dad stigomatty's nephews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He spoke to the Scottish Parliament and met the First Minister of Scotland.

matty at Parliament                                             matty and first minister

It had taken him almost 2 years to complete this journey, one where he had no sponsors, very little money, but the dedication of a warrior.  On the last day, Matty led a parade with over 1,000 people from around the world joining together to walk with him on this his LAST MILE.

 

the parade

Matty Raphael McVarish’s journey started on May 31, 2013 in London and now, on February 7, 2015, he had done what many people considered impossible.   Matty walked to every EU capital, spoke to thousands and thousands of people.

Just one man with a purpose – a determination that no child will ever have to experience being sexually abused.

Over 150 MILLION adults in America and Europe have been sexually molested as children.  Very few ever talk about it.  Many are still carrying shame and guilt – that was NEVER their burden to carry.

And so, every day when a person speaks their truth, learns the facts, begins the conversation – they are setting the stage for future generations who will be raised in a world where sexual abuse of children never happens.

Together we can prevent the sexual abuse of children.

nephews

 

 

 

 

The Sound of Healing: An evening of art & music for the children

The Sound of Healing “A night of music and art in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month”

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually molested by their 18th birthday. But this doesn’t have to be. April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month and Not On Our Watch America Foundation is asking you to learn the facts, talk to your children, your family & friends, and raise awareness about this silent epidemic that affects over 42 million Americans.

Please show your solidarity with our cause by placing a blue ribbon at your home and your place of business during the month of April. Stand with us as we speak up for our future generations and the generations of today.

We would also like to invite our Houston community, as we kick off this important month and join us at the historical Last Concert Cafe from 3:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m. on Sunday April 5th to enjoy local musicians, art, great food & drinks. We’ll have face painting, hula hooping, bubbles and much more. This event is FREE to the public and for ALL AGES. The address is 1403 Nance St, Houston, TX 77002.

Featuring our guest of honor all the way from Scotland, Dr. Matty Raphael McVarish of Road To Change.

Featuring the music of Charity Ann Music, Good Karma, Dy’Lan Ashton, Bao Pham and Sherita Perez Music .

Featuring the art of:
Frozen Fox– Live Painting
Luna D. Lobos- Live Painting & CARICATURES!
Houston’s “Doll Partzz Asylum” The Artist– Live Painting
Blanco- Live Painting
Bao Pham- Live music and Live Painting
Eddie Jack Risinger- Live Painting
Black Cassidy Art– Live Painting
Boss- Live Painting
Morey Sean- Face Painting
Freckles Antoinette Perez- Live Painting
M. A. Colyer Art- Live Painting
Phoenix- Face Painting
Jesus Alberto Rivera Rosas- Live Painting
Bert- Live Painting
Modified Reality – Live Painting – Piece will be auctioned off during the evening and proceeds will go to NOOWAF!

Together we can prevent the sexual abuse of our children. Not On Our Watch America Foundation is a nonprofit charitable trust foundation dedicated to preventing the sexual abuse of our children. Please log onto NotOnOurWatch.net for more information.

Event brought to you by Not On Our Watch America Foundation and Mickey Beaves Productions.

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Join us as we raise awareness for child abuse prevention during the month of April. Show your solidarity by placing a blue ribbon on trees outside your home or by placing blue pin wheels in your yard. And please talk about this very important issue with your friends, family and co-workers, as we can only end child abuse if we first acknowledge it’s existence.

From Anonymous: MY PERSONAL STORY/TESTIMONY

I grew up in a wonderful/Godly Christian home.  My parents were saved shortly after they were married.  I also grew up in a wonderful Bible-believing and teaching church from the time that I was born until I graduated from high school.  I was saved at age 6.  I also grew up in a Christian school from Christian school until I graduated from high school in 1986.  I then, went away to college.  I graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where I received my B.S. Degree in Elementary and Middle School Education.
So, everything looked good from all outward appearances.  But, I began being sexually abused by two older male cousins from the time I was age 6 until I was age 14.  I was raped by a teenage boy in my neighborhood on one occasion at approximately 8 years old.  Then, I was sexually assaulted by two teenage boys from my church and school on a church-sponsored AWANA trip to Stone Mountain when I was in the 3rd grade(9 years old).  I was also physically beaten/assaulted by my 1st grade teacher throughout the school year in front of my peers & classmates.
I kept everything that happened to me a secret from everyone in my life.  I believed that I was a very “bad” little girl, and I must have wanted these things to happen to me or I must have “asked” for them to happen.  I believed that I “held the keys” to destroying my family if anyone ever found out.
But, sexual abuse is NEVER the victim’s fault!  It is always the perpetrator’s fault regardless of the situation or circumstances.  No one ever has the right to lay a hand on anyone without their permission…

I also believed that since I “walked” into situations with some of these individuals, knowing what would happen, that I should have “known better” or that I caused it to happen and therefore, my abuse was all my fault.

As a result of my abuse, I suffered tremendous emotional and physical pain.  My pain manifested itself through “boundary issues..”  I tended to push myself on various people(adults) in my life.  And, when they backed away, I felt even more like “worthless/damaged goods.”  I felt like I needed to “prove myself” to others in order for them to like me or love me.  I believed that I needed to “please” the people in my life in order for them to like me, love me or even want me around.  So, when they backed away, I was very confused.

I also had NO self-esteem or self-worth.  And, as a result, I allowed many of my peers and classmates to mock me, bully me and constantly make fun of me.  I didn’t know how to stop it or even how to stand up to them.  So, these behaviors continued to go on for many years.

I began telling myself that God made me ugly, dirty and completely worthless.  And, I also believed that when God made me, that I was the only person He created, on the planet, to feel such extreme internal and emotional pain……”This was my BURDEN-TO-BEAR..”

But, I had no idea how to ever begin to tell anyone what I was feeling.  There just were no words to describe it nor any “language” to explain it.  I believed that I was completely “STUCK..”  I also had no idea that ALL of the pain that I was feeling and the “BAD FEELINGS” that I had about myself was connected to all of my abuse and trauma that I had experienced and endured for so many years.

Many times, survivors turn to drugs, alcohol, unhealthy relationships and many other types of unhealthy behaviors as a means of “coping” with all of the pain and feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.  But, my “DRUG OF CHOICE,” was “FOOD..”  I became a “food addict.”  I gained an enormous amount of weight over the years while I was growing up.  This was my way of “numbing” all of the pain that I was feeling.  And, it was also a means of “coping” with the mockery from my peers along with many other stressful situations in my life.  Most of the time, it really did not help, it was only a “temporary high..”

But, when I was a senior in high school, God, in a sense, “Blew the Whistle” in my life….I finally shared my secret with someone that I thought I could trust.  This person was someone that I believed would never tell my secret to anyone, much less, my family.  I did not think that anyone, especially my parents and family would ever believe me if I told or if they found out.  It was never my intention for anyone to ever know my secrets.

But, God knew that I could no longer live with the secrecy, shame, fear, guilt and pain that I had carried and endured for so many years. While I was in college, I began my healing process.  Then, after I graduated from college, I thought that things were much better and that I was healed.  I thought that I could move on to a “new and different” phase of my life.  But, satan was still attacking me and continuing to tell me a lot of lies about myself that he wanted me to believe.  I fell into a very deep and severe depression.  I was thinking more about dying than I was about living.

I checked myself into a psychiatric hospital at this point.  And, while I was there, and in the midst of my confusion, God gave me a wonderful verse….

Deuteronomy 30:19 “I have set before you life and death, blessings and cursings, CHOOSE LIFE…….so you can live!”
I consider this to be my point of surrender and the point where God rescued me…..God’s purpose is not for us to live defeated lives in our dysfunctional behaviors and our “stinkin’ thinking..”  I have had to choose to never allow satan to steal another second of my life or my joy.  I am learning what truly living the “abundant life” really means in my life.  That is His(God’s) ultimate purpose for me and my life here on earth.
As a continuation of my healing process, I have lost 120-lbs!  This has been a huge and very significant part of my healing process as well.  I am so thankful that through it all, and because of God’s healing power, grace, love and mercy in my life, that God has completely transformed my pain into a passion to speak up and speak out, to have a voice and to share my story….I hope to help others whom are suffering through the same circumstances that I have.  I have a passion to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Most of all, I am thankful that I can say that through God’s grace, mercy and healing in my life, that I am healed, whole & free!
Lastly, I was walking one more, listening to my ipod.  I was listening to a song by the Christian group “AVALON..”  There is a phrase in one of their songs that I love, and it says, “Your Life, In Christ, Can be….The greatest story ever told….”

We all have a story to tell about our lives.  We have all experienced pain in some way.  But, when we allow God to reach down inside of us, to the core of our beings, where our pain, wounds and scars reside, and allow God to heal us deep down, our lives, in Christ, really can be…..The Greatest Story Ever Told….

Thank you for letting me share!

THE BEGINNING OF THE BEGINNING

I think most have heard the saying, “The Beginning of the End”, but today that saying doesn’t even begin to describe what is circling around in my mind.   What I am feeling is something closer to THE BEGINNING OF THE BEGINNING.

 

Chinese Proverb

When Sleeping Women Wake, Mountains Move.
– Chinese Proverb

 

On January 30th, tomorrow, I will be flying to Scotland, to catch up with my dearest of friends, Matthew Raphael McVarish – the man who has just walked 10,000 miles across Europe raising awareness of Child Sexual Abuse.   It has taken him almost 2 years.

A year or so ago, after reading about Matty on social media, I knew that some day, some how, I was going to walk with him.   The first time I met Matty was when I flew to Slovenia to walk beside him for 5 days on one small leg of his journey.   We walked about 30 kilometers a day, and the journey was like nothing I have ever experienced. From Ljubljana to Zagreb, through beautiful countryside, vineyards far away, nestled in the sides of mountains, small streams that I insisted on putting my bare feet in, and oh, the conversations we had.  We talked, we shared, and we became lifelong friends.   During Matty’s 10,000 mile journey, he walks between 50 – 60 kilometers a day.   But believe me, I was awfully proud of my 17 miles a day!

The way I see it is something akin to ‘dog with a bone’.   Matty and I are both like that dog with a bone.   We will not rest until the reality of the epidemic of Child Sexual Abuse is brought out into the light of day, and solutions are found.

There is no shame or stigma or leftover feelings of guilt in either of us.  And that too, is part of the message.   Any shame or guilt that you may still be carrying – please hear me when I say, “IT WAS NEVER YOUR BURDEN TO CARRY!”  So I’m asking you from the bottom of my heart to lay your burden down.  

Matty and I are both dedicated to creating a world where future generations will never have to experience the harsh reality of being sexual molested.  

And so I find myself, once again, packing for a journey to a land I have never seen, to be part of the Last Mile Walk with this amazing man from Scotland.   I know that I will be there as he brings this amazing journey full circle.  And to paraphrase something Matty said,….. I do this for every adult who has yet to find their voice, and for every child that is born who will never have to experience the harsh reality of being a survivor of child sexual abuse.

I fly to Glasgow tomorrow and am so excited at the idea of seeing my friend, my fellow warrior, my hero again.

Stay tuned for more when I return home on February 17th.

“Money Bomb” Fundraiser For Our “Walking The Talk” IndieGoGo Campaign

We will be having a “money bomb” to raise as much funds as we can for our crowdfunding campaign in a 24 hour period.

Fundraiser Concert For NOOWAF! “Where The Girls Are” @Last Concert Cafe

“November 9th we will be fundraising for Not On Our Watch America Foundation via “Where The Girls Are” with Wendy Elizabeth Jones, Charity Ann Music alongside The Doomstress of Project Armageddon at Last Concert Cafe.”

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