Check out our new Soundcloud page to hear our founder and trustee, Randa Fox, as she joins various radio programs to talk about her very important work to prevent and end child sexual abuse.
Let me tell you why I became involved in putting an end to the sexual abuse of children.
It began over four years ago.
My hero is a 7-year-old girl
My hero had the courage to tell her mom she was being sexually molested.
One weekend, I drove to Washington County, the birthplace of Texas, to visit my dearest friends. When I arrived the atmosphere was thick with anger and helplessness. You see they had just gone through a two-year court battle in Grimes County. Their daughter had told them her uncle was sexually molesting her. She said she didn’t want it to happen to her little sister. The family had done everything right. They called the police, a forensic interview was done, and DNA was tested. The uncle was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
The prosecuting attorney felt there was no need for a jury sentencing because everyone was confident that the judge would give the uncle at least 10 years in jail. So they let the judge do the sentencing. He gave the uncle 90 days in the county jail and 10 years deferred adjudication.
The family was outraged. They felt betrayed. They had done everything they knew to do – how could this happen? That weekend, we decided to do something about this injustice. That weekend changed the trajectory of my life, and the idea for Not On Our Watch America Foundation was born.
Something had shifted in my soul. You see I am a survivor of child sexual abuse and yet, I was shocked and surprised by my ignorance, or my inability to grasp that children were still being sexually molested. I was still stuck in that place of aloneness, as so many others are. I thought it wasn’t still happening to other children. How wrong I was.
That weekend and every day since, the mother lion in me ROARS. Not only for my inner child, but for the little girls and boys around the country and our world who are still being sexually molested.
I had to ask myself “How could this still be happening?”. “How could our court system give this uncle only 90 days in the county jail? ” What no one could realize at the time, is that my hero’s life had been forever changed and so had mine. I started researching. I started speaking out on social media and in groups. I knew that I had stumbled across something so monumental that I could no longer remain silent.
I asked myself why I thought sexual abuse of children was no longer happening? Was it just because I had grown up and thought I was no longer affected? Nothing could be further from the truth. Adults who experienced sexual abuse as children were all around me. Why wasn’t anyone talking about it? I learned that there are over 42 Million adults in the U.S. who experienced child sexual abuse. That is 15% of our adult population – every time you are at the grocery store, the movies, or Starbucks – look around and know that there are people who are walking wounded all around you.
Logic follows – our children are being sexually abused every day. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually molested by the time they reach the age of 18. And here is another statistic that helps me to understand the pervasive silence: 88% of people who have been sexually abused as children RARELY, if ever, tell anyone.
I started to see a clearer picture. I began to understand why I chose not to see that child sexual abuse is rampant – it’s because if we talked about it, we would not be talking about ‘stranger danger’. In fact, we would be talking about those whom we had loved and trusted. On some level as adults we have carried with us the shame, guilt and stigma, and the inability to trust, as if it was all somehow our fault. I began to see why an adult who is away from their abuser wouldn’t want to drag up old memories. After all, we had survived, right?
But that’s the kind of thinking that has led us to the present crisis of child sexual abuse. It’s easier to bury it; it’s easier to not stir up old family issues. Therein lies the dilemma, because over 90% of all child sexual abuse occurs by a family member or a close and trusted friend of the family.
My vision was becoming even clearer. Who wants to tear apart a family by bringing up old childhood issues? Haven’t we gotten over it? Haven’t we survived? The answer is yes and no. We may have survived, but the healing process takes a lifetime. And perhaps the most challenging reality we must face is that the people who molested us have not stopped molesting others.
And so here I am. I know a lot of facts about child sexual abuse – all easily accessible on the Internet.
I became a warrior. I found my passion. I realized that I could actually change the norms of how society deals with child sexual abuse. I could use my voice and speak my truth and reach out to the millions of adults and let them know they are not alone. And at the heart of the matter, I know that together we could change the future for our children.
There is a stigma attached to this epidemic. The victims, our children, and the adult survivors have been carrying the burden of their abuse, as if it was their fault! Children growing up believing they did something wrong, that they are dirty, thinking they are unlovable. I can’t think of anything sadder than this stigma that we have allowed to be solidly placed on the shoulders of our children.
And still, no one was talking about those who choose to sexually abuse children. How could we? They are the very people we call family, they are the upstanding citizens we trusted. They are still largely in control of how we perceive child sexual abuse and how we choose to move forward.
To that I say “NOT ANY MORE – NOT ON MY WATCH“ – and now I am reaching out to you to ask if you can say also – “NOT ON OUR WATCH”?
My choices were becoming crystal clear. I could not let another generation of children grow up behind the veil of secrecy and shame that has been so pervasive. It is not our burden to carry and it never was!
For me, however, it has become my mission, my purpose, my passion – to bring this reality of child sexual abuse into the light of day, so that everyone can see it, and so that solutions can be shared.
No abuser can hide if 42 million adults let their voices be heard.
The decision was made. My path was decided.
Proudly and with love in my heart, I dedicate my life to putting an end to the epidemic of child sexual abuse and to healing those already hurt.
I recently returned from walking for 5 days alongside Matty McVarish of Scotland, who is walking 10,000 miles across Europe to raise awareness of the sexual abuse of children. We are going to bring the walk to America in 2016.
In my last blog I left off on day 2 – I’d love to share with you the last part of this adventure and the plans we have to bring this walk to America in 2016.
WALKING IN AMERICA SOON
On day 3, filmmaker, Cody Adams, joined us to capture some of the experience. The scenery was beautiful and Matty and I had great conversations along the way, but it was dangerous as we had to walk at times along the major roadways. Thanks to a mutual Facebook friend, Renja Gramc, we met one of Matty’s heroes and one of Slovenia’s hero’s, Martin Strel, who is a long distance swimmer. He has swam the Amazon, the Ganges and the Mississippi Rivers, to raise awareness of environmental quality. We were also met by local media as we came out of a small forest into a small village.
I began to see how walking was really getting the attention the press and locals.
Day 4 started a bit behind. I slept that night in a small pop tent near a beautiful river, but it had started raining in the middle of the night, and I had not zipped up my tent, so I got a little wet. Walking in the rain wasn’t too bad at first. We replaced our walking sticks with umbrellas, but as the day went on it got cooler and a bit more difficult. I learned how weather can have a major impact on the walk and how it wasn’t just a ‘walk in the park’.
Then it was day 5 and we arrived in the heart of Zagreb. I had just walked 143 Kilometers! On this final day of walking we started at 5 a.m. because we had to make it in time to meet with the British Embassy. There Matty and I got to speak with the British Ambassador to Croatia along with his staff about our very important work and the issues surrounding it.
The next day, two separate television stations interviewed Matty and me and we again were able to tell our stories and spread our important work to an international audience.
I thought I had made it through this adventure without much fatigue, but I was wrong. Two days after the big walk ended I hit my ‘brick wall’. That day we were scheduled to meet with an NGO and the press, but when I woke up and put my feet on the floor I cried. Luckily Cody and Matty still received a tour of the facilities, geared toward helping child survivors. It is very similar to the multi-disciplinary approach like the one the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston, Texas, uses, and Matty gave a press conference to multiple international news outlets.
As all things do, our time was coming to an end. The bond between Matty and me is something hard to describe. There is a kindred strength we share and a recognition and bond from what feels like a time long ago. Fellow warriors who are making a difference and using their voices to bring the reality of Child Sexual Abuse into the light of day. We are both dedicated to ensuring that every person who has been sexually abused has a voice and that every child born never experiences what we did. I had made a lifetime friend and it was hard to leave him, because I knew that Matty still had another 4000 miles of hard days to go before he finished this quest.
However, I felt joy knowing that by walking along side Matty and filming the experience, we could help bring the necessary support needed for him to finish this amazing 10,000 mile journey across Europe in February 2015.
And now the seed has been planted and it has been watered and nurtured, this idea of effectively creating change by walking to raise awareness of child sexual abuse! It could actually happen not just in Europe, but here in America as well. Something NOOW America Foundation plans on being apart of.
Look out 2016, because we will be WALKING IN AMERICA SOON to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and much more. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and remember to live in the moment.
We are launching this IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to directly educate and change the norm of child sexual abuse that is plaguing our country and our world. Please listen to our story and cause and consider donating to the campaign that can make so much change for our children.
Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) affects 1 in 5 children and we take this very seriously. That is why we are taking the “Walking The Talk” mentality with our campaign and foundation. Not only talking about ending child sexual abuse but also actively engaging with the necessary solutions and steps needed to prevent it.
Not On Our Watch America Foundation is a Nonprofit Charitable Trust dedicated to the prevention of CSA. We accomplish this with two main methods. First, we raise awareness about this issue with public service announcements, advertisements, billboards, websites, blogs, articles, books, films, documentaries, screenings, speaking engagements, round table meetings with community leaders, community events and more. This is our first method because without presenting the facts and statistics about this epidemic of CSA, the public will not know the true scale of this issue that affects every fifth child and every fifth adult.
We understand that this epidemic does not have one solution or one organization with all the answers, so as a Charitable Trust Foundation, our second method is to raise funds and resources that will be distributed to multiple other nonprofits who have proven applications in preventing CSA and the aftereffects. This way we are helping to create a solid foundation of nonprofits geared toward creating the many solutions needed to end CSA and not focusing on just one. When people support NOOWAF, they are helping create a coalition of organizations with the same end results in mind.
So when you contribute to NOOWAF, you are donating to multiple nonprofits already doing important work and you are helping get out information that is vital in healing and stopping child sexual abuse. We follow up with every organization we help and work with so you can ensure that your contribution is being most effectively utilized. This is also why we say we are “Walking The Talk” because we are not just giving resources and support away to anyone or group, we are making sure that what is being said is being translated into action and into effective change towards ending CSA.
Before we ever give any grants or resources out, we have an interview process with potential nonprofits that will ensure how the grant or resources will be used and how we will measure the effectiveness after the grant or resources have been received. This will all help build the necessary trust we need in creating a strong, solution-oriented coalition of organizations dedicated to ending CSA.
One example of our “Walking The Talk” mentality is our work with Stop The Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse and the 10,000 mile awareness walking campaign, Road To Change, they are behind. We contributed to this organization and our founder, Randa Fox, joined the walk for 5 days in Europe to not only show solidarity with such an amazing cause and raise awareness but to also see and show how the resources and funds were being utilized to make change in society and law. Check out our mini documentary covering the trip below.
Another example of “Walking The Talk” is our founder & trustee, Randa Fox, donating $50,000 of her own money to this foundation and cause. Showing she is willing to give before she ever asks anyone else to help.
We have also worked with Kids Hope USA.
As we continue to work with more nonprofits, we will follow up with each and present videos, blogs and more on how progress is being made and how our “Walking The Talk” ways is positively affecting our children and our community.
Once we receive the donations, 60% of the funds raised will go out in the form of grants to nonprofits doing great work in ending child sexual abuse. The other 40% will go into our awareness campaign and help us continue to get the word out via social media, the web, commercials, billboards and more.
Please consider contributing today and receiving one of our many great perks and help end CSA once and for all. If you cannot support financially, we understand and ask that you instead share this campaign with friends and family and help our cause in that crucial way, which is just as important.
Together we are building a brighter world for our children!
It has been four years since Not On Our Watch was born. The idea began when a 7-year-old little girl told her mother she was being sexually molested by her uncle. Her courage was inspiring to me. Her vulnerability was courageous. If she could do it – well then so could I.
Our First Indiegogo Campaign Launches October 1st I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.
Not On Our Watch America Foundation presents:
WALKING THE TALK to End Child Sexual Abuse
I have learned that in our country alone, there are over 42 MILLION adults who were sexually molested as children. Can you imagine what it would sound like to hear 42 million adults saying NOT ON OUR WATCH? How powerful would that be? Our voices can change the world – so please take a moment and check out our Indiegogo Campaign. Become a part of the solution, because together we CAN put an end to child sexual abuse.
We are launching this Indiegogo Campaign to raise funds to directly educate and change the norm of child sexual abuse that is plaguing our country and our world. Please listen to our story and cause, and consider donating to the campaign that can make so much change for our children.
Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) affects 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys before their 18th birthday. That is why we are taking the “Walking The Talk” mentality with our campaign and foundation. Not only talking about ending child sexual abuse, but also actively engaging with our community to create the necessary solutions and steps needed to prevent it.
NOOW America Foundation joins Road To Change and Stop the Silence which is a 10,000 mile walk across Europe. Matty Raphael McVarish is walking to every European Union capital to raise awareness about child sexual abuse and to engage in conversation with policy makers, asking them to look at their laws about the Statute of Limitations in all Child Sexual Abuse cases in their country.
Our founder, Randa Fox, flew to Slovenia to walk for 5 days with playwright and actor Matty McVarish, who is the walking force behind Road To Change. This is an amazing story showing how one person can change the course of history, and how 2 people with the same ideals and dreams can change the course of a child’s life. Imagine what 3 people could do……
Follow Matty and Randa on this astounding journey as they face danger, meet local celebrities, speak with the press, meet Ambassadors and make change with every step they walked. Both from opposite sides of the world and both dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, not only for this generation, but every generation that follows.
Please log on the websites below to learn more about this very real epidemic, and learn how you can support these great efforts to end child sexual abuse:
I didn’t realize that when I went to Facebook many months ago that I would end up walking from Slovenia to Croatia with a man from Scotland, Matty McVarish. I also wasn’t aware at the time that Road to Change was affiliated with Stop The Silence. Pamela Pine, the founder, had called me several years ago offering words of support. I love synchronicity in life.
SOMETIMES ALL IT TAKES IS A LEAP OF FAITH
After talking with Matty over several months, we decided the best place for me to meet up with him would be in Ljubljana. Once there, I would join Matty for 5 days as we walked from Slovenia to Croatia. Matty had already walked over 6,000 miles across Europe so I knew I would be in good hands.
Matty explained to me that at night he slept in a small van he has called home for the past 15 months. She was a small ragtag motor home called “Yvonne”. She was a good place to sit, but I wouldn’t want to sleep in her, and he was right, there was not a lot of room for extras. Of course I assured him that Cody and I were going to pack light. Each with a backpack and one small shared suitcase. Only my backpack was twice the size of the shared suitcase. I must learn to pack lightly.
So on July 31st, my 56th birthday, I found myself hurtling through the sky, along with filmmaker Cody Adams. We were flying to Ljubljana, Slovenia to document my journey of support as I walked beside Matty for 5 days from Slovenia to Croatia. We arrived after a 14 hour flight and we were surprised by Matty and his driver, Stigo at the airport.
The next day, we went to a local museum to see the screening of the film ‘To Kill A Kelpie” which is a play Matty stars in and wrote that was adapted to a film. Before the screening, we met Matic, who offered us our first meeting with international press due to a case he was involved in with the state, in his role as a psychologist. After meeting with Matic and the media, we headed inside and watched the powerful film, “To Kill A Kelpie” .
I knew this film was based on Matty’s experiences as a child, but actually seeing the film and feeling the characters come to life, I lived it and all it’s pain.
On August 2nd, we began our great adventure. I had walking sticks and a yellow day-glow vest – I felt like a professional walker. Oh lord was I mistaken. I was running on pure adrenaline and anticipation as we left Ljubljana. The first day was amazing. We walked through small villages and rolling hills. I put my feet in an ice-cold stream several hours into our walk. This was the 1st of 5 bodies of water I played in on on this trip. What an amazing day. And I had survived walking 16 miles!!!
Stay tune for more blogs from my adventure with Matty…….
SAFE, STABLE, NURTURING
3 BUZZ WORDS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR CHILD’S LIFE
Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships (SSNRs) actually influence early brain development and act as a buffer to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).
SSNRs are essential for children’s development and depends on the quality and reliability of their relationships with the important people in their lives.
Young children experience their world through their relationships with parents and other caregivers. Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments between children and their caregivers provide a buffer against the effects of potential stressors such as Child Maltreatment (CM), and are fundamental to healthy brain development. They also shape children’s physical, emotional, social, behavioral, and intellectual capacities, which ultimately affect their health as adults.
As a result, promoting safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments can have a positive impact on a broad range of health problems and create skills that will help children reach their full potential.*
3 Buzz Words That Will Change Your Child’s Life
The consequences of Child Maltreatment (CM) can last a lifetime and include negative impacts on social, emotional, and physical health. We can cut the leading causes of illness and death in our community by assuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for our children.
Maltreatment causes stress that can disrupt early brain development, and serious, chronic stress can harm the development of the nervous and immune systems. As a result, children who are abused or neglected are at higher risk for health problems as adults. These problems include alcoholism, depression, drug abuse, eating disorders, obesity, high-risk sexual behaviors, smoking, suicide, and certain chronic diseases.*
*The Effects of Childhood Stress on Health Across the Lifespan
I am ONE. My name is Randa Fox, and for the past 4 years I have been dedicated to creating a foundation that can give back to my community, my village, my tribe. I have created such a reality. Not On Our Watch America Foundation is officially a 501(c)(3) and our mission is to give money to non-profits who are helping to raise awareness and working toward preventing child sexual abuse, and creating healthy families.
I AM ONE
I proudly use my voice for those who are yet unable to do so. Our society may not understand that there are OVER 42 MILLION adults in the US who were sexually molested as children. We, the survivors, have been silent far too long. The time for action is NOOW. Notonourwatch.net
Please understand that I will no longer remain silent. I will continue to speak out about the facts of child sexual abuse, share my knowledge and own personal experiences, and continue to find proactive solutions to an epidemic of child sexual abuse that our world has yet been able to truly acknowledge. Until now. Studies have provided us with much data about the sexual molestation of children. We know who approximately 90% of the people are who are sexual molesting our children, and they are our family members and our close and trusted friends. We know where 95% of the molestation takes place – in the home of the child or in the home of a close, trusted family friend. ‘Stranger Danger’ is a very small % of people who are molesting our children. Think about this, because this is one of the hardest parts of this issue that we must come to terms with.
According to the CDC, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually molested by their 18th birthday. What we haven’t quite figured out yet is the why…but we have many experts who are working on this social issue – people like Dr. Vincent Filetti, Bob Geffner, Pamela Pine, Victor Vieth, Svava Brooks, Jolie Logan, Diane Cranley, Vivian Farmery, Angela Rose, Tom Scales, Lurleen Hilliard, Catherine Hislop, Jill Starishevsky, Wendell Teltow, Rozetta Mowery, and the list goes on and on. There is a movement underfoot made up of organizations who are dedicated to ending all abuse of children, and their are hundreds of groups who specialize in preventing the sexual abuse of children.
I want every single child, teenager and adult who reads this or ever hears me speak to know the following:
(1) You are not alone.
(2) We survivors (or ‘thrivors’) are no longer going to remain silent about our own childhood sexual abuse.
(3) Any person who has molested or has thought about molesting a child, please know that you can no longer act under the veil of secrecy that our silence has provided. And that you also are not alone.
(4) For every family out there – this is real – it is happening – and it isn’t just happening in other people’s neighborhoods. 1 IN 4 girls and 1 IN 6 boys WILL BE sexually molested by their 18th birthday. It affects us all, and it happens in every neighborhood. So please learn the facts. Talk to another adult.. Be a part of the solution.
(5) In our country with 315 million people, well OVER 42 million of us have experienced sexual abuse as children. Yet, how often have you ever heard it being talked about? Not very often.
(6) We have the data, we have the knowledge, and we have our voices. I, for one, will no longer accept things as they are. It is time to shine a light on the reality of the sexual abuse of our children and bring it into the light of day.
(7) This isn’t about blame, or guilt, or shame, or stigma or any other burden that most victims and survivors carry. It was NEVER our burden to carry.
This is about taking control of a situation that has become an epidemic. This is about speaking our truth. This is about bringing this issue into the light of day, so that we can all look at it from a place of honesty and truth. Then we can work toward solutions. If we haven’t examined it, how the heck are we going to put an end to it? If we never allow ourselves to realize it is still happening, then it will never end.
This is about healing…for all of us.
Please join with me and Not On Our Watch America Foundation. Find your voice! Speak your truth, and lay your burden down. It is time NOOW for us to begin taking care of ourselves and our community. Together, I see the day when millions of us are singing and shouting from the mountaintops and rooftops, saying: “NO MORE SILENCE” “STOP SEXUALLY MOLESTING OUR CHILDREN” “STOP ABUSE”
This epidemic stops with my generation. Not the next generation, my generation. I will not give up. I will not remain silent. I will not be afraid. I will speak my truth. I will tell the facts. I will listen to others. I will protect, love and nurture myself. I will send love out into the world every way I can. I will begin this conversation with all whom I come into contact with, every day. I will not stop. I will have compassion. I will do everything within my power to let the world know that our children will not be sexually molested, exploited or abused, not now and not ever again. I will tell everyone I can that abuse of any kind is not acceptable. And I will forgive myself when I fall short of my goals. But I will always get back up and speak my truth.
Together we will end the sexual abuse of children. We will successfully accomplish all of these things and more.
I AM ONE
WE ARE ONE
IT’S OFFICIAL AND IT’S GREAT NEWS
After 4 years of working to create a foundation to raise awareness of the sexual abuse of children, give a voice to the OVER 42 million adults in the U.S. alone who were sexually molested as children, it has become official. I just received a letter from the IRS that they are pleased to inform me that Not On Our Watch America Foundation is officially a non-profit 501 (c) (3).
I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to be able to give money to non-profits who are doing amazing things working toward the prevention of child sexual abuse, creating healthy families, and allowing the healing to begin for so many.
So here is a rare moment that I wanted to share with those I have connected with through social media. Now let the fun begin!
Stop the Silence, founded by Pamela Pine, is one such organization. One of her many projects involves an amazing young man, Matty McVarish, from Scotland. He has committed to walk 10,000 miles across Europe to raise awareness of the sexual abuse of children. I am going to be flying to Slovenia at the end of July to walk with him for 5 days, along with Cody Adams, my videographer. Slovenia to Croatia here we come.
I can hardly wait to see what we are up to next. Tune in, cause it’s gonna be a wild ride. Thank you all who have supported me.
Not On Our Watch America Foundation