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IT’S EASIER TO BUILD UP A CHILD THAN TO REPAIR AN ADULT

I am a warrior.  I am a survivor.  I am many, many things.  Most recently, I found out I have a tumor in my breast that is cancer.  It isn’t my cancer.  I don’t own it.   I didn’t want it.    It is NOT my exit strategy.

It’s Easier to Build Up a Child Than to Repair An Adult

I am also an advocate and activist to PREVENT the abuse of our children, and to help those adults who have experienced abuse and trauma to continue on their healing journey

After learning about the ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study) 4 years ago, I learned that when a child experiences abuse and trauma, that it changes their brains neurologically.  As the child grows (and depending if there are grown-ups in the child’s life who offer a safe, stable and nurturing environment) the after-effects of the abuse and trauma can lead to depression, suicide attempts, criminal behavior, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, and diseases, such as C.O.P.D.,  Cancer, Diabetes, etc.

 

This study, done by Dr. Vincent Felitti and Dr. Bob Alda, in 1998, has gone largely ignored by many.  Everyone knows that child abuse happens, but that is often as far as our knowledge goes.  The ACE Study is important in many ways, including the fact that our country spends around $80 BILLION a year dealing with the after-effects of child abuse.

Let me bring this down to a personal level.  I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.  I continue to work toward healing from this pain.  And yet, when I think I’ve put it all behind me, I find myself feeling like that little girl who didn’t understand what was happening to her, and had no control to stop it.  That is how I feel now, with this new diagnosis.

That brings me to the next chapter of my life.  One where I kick this uninvited guest’s ass, and heal and become stronger, and healthier and more powerful.  I am not a little girl any more.  I am the parent to my own inner child and she is very safe and loved.

Get ready world, because there is nothing like a Two Time Survivor who refuses to remain silent about this global epidemic.  Yes both global epidemics.  Child abuse and Cancer.   Neither one are acceptable.  And together we can put an end to both and continue on our own individual healing journey.

THE PERIOD 0F PURPLE CRYING

What is the Period of PURPLE Crying?

Marilyn Barr, Founder/Former Executive Director, NCSBS

The Period of PURPLE Crying is a new way to help parents understand this time in their baby’s life, which is a normal part of every infant’s development. It is confusing and concerning to be told your baby “has colic” because it sounds like it is an illness or a condition that is abnormal. When the baby is given medication to treat symptoms of colic, it reinforces the idea that there is something wrong with the baby, when in fact, the baby is going through a very normal developmental phase. That is why we prefer to refer to this time as the Period of PURPLE Crying. This is not because the baby turns purple while crying. The acronym is a meaningful and memorable way to describe what parents and their babies are going through.

The Period of PURPLE Crying begins at about 2 weeks of age and continues until about 3-4 months of age. There are other common characteristics of this phase, or period, which are better described by the acronym PURPLE. All babies go through this period. It is during this time that some babies can cry a lot and some far less, but they all go through it.

The acronym PURPLE is used to describe specific characteristics of an infant’s crying during this phase and let parents and caregivers know that what they are experiencing is indeed normal and, although frustrating, is simply a phase in their child’s development that will pass. The word Period is important because it tells parents that it is only temporary and will come to an end.

PURPLE Acronym

Parents, after learning about Period of PURPLE Crying have said, “Finally they have called it something that describes what we are going through. This word colic was hard to get a handle on.”

Imagine all of the other things new parents have yet to hear of or learn about.  These facts can possibly save a child’s life by the simple fact that the parent knows what is going on and that it is not their fault.  Supporting new parents sounds like the neighborly thing to do, don’t you think?

There is truth in the statement that “IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD.”

RANDA FOX

THE ‘UH-OH’ FEELING

The ‘UH OH’ FEELING

Uh Oh Feeling

Uh Oh Feeling

 

I remember a time growing up as a little girl, actually it was most of the time, where I had the  ‘Uh Oh’ feeling – a feeling in my stomach  ….   A feeling like, “I’m in trouble”, or “I have done something wrong”.        I was actually a ‘perfect’ child (in my own mind) up until I turned 14 years old.  The youngest of 4 children, I felt I was spared most of the physical abuse that my siblings received.  There was a story I remember hearing in my family when I was growing up.   Apparently, my dad used a 2′ x 4′ board to discipline my 3 older siblings.   As an adult, I was at a hardware store and looked at a 2′ x 4′ and I couldn’t imagine being hit with one.  So, in reality, it may have been a 1′ x 4′ board – but my heavens, can you imagine being a kid and having your dad ‘spank’ you with a 1′ x 4′ board?   No matter what the size of the board, what can a child learn from being hit like this, except FEAR.  Pure fear.

Luckily I never was hit with ‘the board’.    My dad  hit me twice in my life, and it was with his hand.   Yes – I know – it sounds like I am minimizing my own pain.  And to a certain degree I am.  It’s what I do – or what I used to do.  I felt like what happened to my brother and sisters was always worse than what happened to me.  Growing up as a Navy Brat, the NORM in my family was having my father be away at sea for many months at a time, and then the trepidation of his return.

But the physical abuse was not all that I experienced growing up.   I was also sexually molested as a child.  This is the reality of the ‘Uh Oh Feeling’ – The root cause of my feelings – as if I had done something wrong.  Or that I was wrong, or bad.  I truly didn’t understand.  And even now, at the age of 58, I still can’t quite believe that it happened.   And yet, IT DID.

There was a sitcom back in the 80’s called Webster.  I stumbled across it recently while I was searching for validation of the ‘Uh Oh’ feeling.  Here is a short clip from that TV Sitcom back in 1985.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDU7I_OIfiw

Webster  overhears a substitute teacher’s improper advances toward a student and worries about his own upcoming meeting.

This was 32 years ago.  We have to ask ourselves what has changed?  And yet, I know we haven’t changed enough because there are children every day in every part of the country and world experiencing the ‘UH OH’ feeling.

The time is NOOW to take a stand, find your voice, speak your truth.  We, as survivors, thrivers and even warriors  will no longer remain silent.  We are taking back what was once stolen from us.    We have lived the pain and are healing daily, together.  Talk to another adult, talk to your family, talk to your Church, talk to your friends.

Let’s begin the conversation that child sexual abuse, ALL CHILD ABUSE, is an epidemic that is killing the souls of our children.   No longer can we pretend it doesn’t happen in our community, in our neighborhood, in our family.  Because it does.  And ignoring it will not make it go away.

Child Abuse is not a Social Norm and it is time we found solutions to help create healthier families, healthier communities, healthier organizations.  Because everything is mirrored in itself.  The solution?  Or at least the beginning of the solution:  EDUCATION, COMMUNICATION & COLLABORATION

.

RANDA FOX

IT HAPPENS TO MEN AND BOYS, TOO

As I facilitate Support Groups for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, I am often reminded of the resiliency of the human spirit.  And yet, even through this resiliency, there is still so much pain that has been hidden inside of us for years.  This hidden pain changes EVERY aspect of how we look at life, how we interact with our loved ones and even how we love ourselves.

The negative impact of child abuse on adult mental health has been documented for over 150 years, and, over the last thirty years, in particular, numerous research studies have documented the link between child abuse and mental illness in later life.  Reports on the long-term consequences of child abuse has demonstrated that abused men tend to score significantly higher on measures of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsiveness, dissociation, hostility, low self-esteem, sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunction, impaired relationships and suicide attempts (Briere et al; Fromuth and Burkhart, 1989; Hunter 1991).

In a review of the research on gender differences in emotional development, Brody (1985) noted the consistent finding that boys learn to “neutralize” the expression of most emotions over the course of development. By early childhood and then consistently into adulthood, males are found to be less emotionally expressive than females (Eisenberg, Fabes, Schaller, & Miller, 1989). This “neutralization” of emotional expression can generate an intense conflict when it interacts with the experience of abuse. At the nucleus of almost every episode of abuse are intense feelings of fear and helplessness. Thus, at the precise developmental [stage] when the male child is learning that to be considered appropriately masculine he must suppress all “non-masculine” emotional states, he is overwhelmed by emotional states that are culturally defined as non-masculine. ² (Factors in Cycle of Violence:  Gender Rigidity and Emotional Constriction By David Lisak, Jim Hopper, and Pat Song)

Some of the common symptoms that are experienced by male adult survivors of child abuse are:

  • ANGER
  • BETRAYAL
  • FEAR
  • HELPLESSNESS
  • HOMOSEXUALITY ISSUES
  • ISOLATION AND ALIENATION
  • LEGITIMACY
  • LOSS
  • MASCULINITY ISSUES
  • NEGATIVE CHILDHOOD PEER RELATIONS
  • INABILITY TO TRUST AND CONNECT WITH OTHERS
  • FEELINGS OF INFERIORITY, INSIGNIFICANCE – NEGATIVE FEELINGS ABOUT ONESELF
  • PROBLEMS WITH SEXUALITY
  • SELF BLAME/GUILT
  • SHAME/HUMILIATION

As you can see from this list, there are many emotions that both men and women might feel.  However there are some that are unique to being a man who was sexually abused as a child.  These are issues that our brothers, our sons and the men we love, are forced to deal with.

In the end, each of us has an inner child – a little girl or a little boy – inside of us.  Some of us have integrated this inner child into our psyche, and some of us are not even aware that this child exists.  As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I fervently and with love, open my arms to welcome home this brave family of adults who have been through so much, who have felt that they were the only ones, but have persevered against all odds.  We have, within us, the ability to change the future for our children.  Imagine if the over 42 Million adults who were abused as children found their voice, told their truth.  The predators who have counted on our silence will no longer be able to operate under the veil of secrecy that society has allowed.

We can change the way society deals with child abuse, ALL child abuse.  We are the adults who survived and we have found our voice and we are not afraid.  Together we can prevent the sexual abuse of our children.  Together we can prevent ALL child abuse.  Because we are not alone.

I AM ONE.  WE ARE ONE.

 

Who will cry for the little boy?

who will cry for the little boy?
Lost and all alone.
Who will cry for the little boy?
Abandoned without his own?

Who will cry for the little boy?
He cried himself to sleep.
Who will cry for the little boy?
He never had for keeps.

Who will cry for the little boy?
He walked the burning sand
Who will cry for the little boy?
The boy inside the man.

Who will cry for the little boy?
Who knows well hurt and pain
Who will cry for the little boy?
He died again and again.

Who will cry for the little boy?
A good boy he tried to be
Who will cry for the little boy?
Who cries inside of me

by Antwone Fisher

 

It is time.  It is up to us.

CONTRACT OF LOVE

Contract of Love©

Between You and Your Child

RENEW IT EVERY YEAR

Because I love you and want to protect you from harm, I need to tell you these facts:

  • I recognize that I do not know what is in the minds of others.
  • I understand that I cannot be with you 24 hours a day, every day of your life.
  • I understand that I will never know all that happens in your life.
  • Therefore, I must trust you to tell me if someone harms you.

Out of love, I ask you to enter into this contract with me.

   

I, _____________________________ (Child), give my solemn promise to remember that you love me, no matter what.  I promise to remember, even when I am angry, that you want what is best for me.  I promise to take care of myself, especially in your absence.  I know my health and happiness is vastly important to you.

Because I know these things to be true, I promise to tell you if any person, no matter who that person is . . .

  1. Hits me, kicks me, burns me or hurts my body in any way.
  2. Touches me in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable.
  3. Asks or tells me to touch their body in a way that makes me uncomfortable.
  4. Shows me their private body parts
  5. Threatens me with embarrassment or violence.
  6. Gives me presents.
  7. Asks me to lie.
  8. Wants me to do something I am  not allowed to do.
  9. Tells me to keep something a secret that is bad or makes me uncomfortable.

In return . . .

I, _____________________________ (Adult), give you my solemn promise that, no matter what happens, I will always love you.  I promise to value your health and happiness above all.  And know I will always try to protect you.

I know, in life, bad things may happen to you and may cause you pain.  This is part of life.  But know there is nothing that can happen to you that will ever change my love for you.

Because I know these things to be true, I promise you if you tell me that someone, no matter who that person is, did any of the things listed above I will . . .

  1. Listen.
  2. Believe you.
  3. Love you.
  4. Support you.
  5. Not blame you.
  6. Not be angry with you.
  7. Protect you from further abuse.
  8. Take appropriate action.

Together, on this ______ (Day) of ______________________ (Month) of the year  ________, we, ___________________________ (Adult) and  ___________________________ (Child), agree to trust each other through whatever happens in life.  We promise to fulfill the vows we have made to each other on this day.

Should the day come when one of us should break our vow, then it becomes the duty of the other to remember the great love we hold and . . .

I, ___________________________ (Child) promise to tell as many other people as needed until an adult takes actions to protect me.  This includes calling the police.  It is important for me to do what is needed to do to stop the abuse.  This is my pledge to you.

I, ___________________________ (Adult) promise to take your words to an impartial person in authority and ask for their help and advice.  Then, I promise to follow their advice.  This is my pledge to you.

This is our contract of love.

RENEW IT EVERY YEAR

Copyright © 2008 TellMeadow Publications    All rights reserved.    Published with permission of KarenTellMeadow@yahoo.com

 

Parent and child hands

 

This Contract of Love allows parents to connect with their children,  and for children to connect with their parent, no matter what age,

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

On Apr 9, Jessica said the following:

Hey Randa! I am an alumni of Santa Maria (Jacqueline Street) who was blessed to be a part of your groups on Fridays. I want to share something with you. This afternoon two of my sons, who are 12 and 14, were walking home. My 12 year old came in the house and when I asked where his brother was, he off-handedly told me a man at the store (which is on the way home) approached him saying that he had lost a hundred dollars and if my son found it he would give him half. Not knowing the full scope of the situation, I immediately thought of the “lost pet lure” that predators use on unsuspecting children. I left out of the house, yelling my son’s name, and thank God he was walking in the fence to our yard. Given their age, they were a bit unenthusiastic by my telling them the dangers of people who prey on children and what their tactics are. My son said that the man didn’t ask him to go with him, just if found the money give it to him and he could have half of it. I was skeptical though, and read an article to them from ABC News, and told them the stories of Gacy and Bundy.

And then I was reminded of the Contract of Love that you had given me in one of your groups. I am happy to report that we entered into said contract just a few minutes ago, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for it! Please keep fighting for our children, and the adults like you and I who have suffered at the hands of individuals who caused us harm when we were growing up.

Many thanks, -Jess

happy children running

Please share this Contract of Love because it just might save another child from ever experiencing the trauma and betrayal of sexual abuse.

Imagine children growing up in a world that was free from child sexual abuse.  Oh what a world that will be.

Together we can put an end to the sexual abuse of our children.  Together we can put an end to all child abuse.

 

 

 

 

OUR COUNTRY SPENDS BETWEEN $80 – $120 BILLION A YEAR DEALING WITH THE EFFECTS OF CHILD MALTREATMENT

The question is ‘Can we prevent the sexual abuse of our children?”  YES if we take just a portion of

WHAT OUR COUNTRY SPENDS BETWEEN $80 – $120 BILLION A YEAR DEALING WITH THE EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE

 

Our country spends between $80 – $120 BILLION a  year dealing with the after-effects of child maltreatment.  It seems only logical that we can use some of that money and put it toward preventing the abuse before it actually occurs.

It’s a subject we don’t want to talk about, but the time has come for us to address this very real epidemic of child abuse, and specifically the sexual abuse of our children.  Our children’s future depends on our courage to talk openly and often about child sexual abuse and all child maltreatment.  We need leaders who have the courage who will stand behind this movement  and for survivors to realize they are not alone and to find their voice.

The Child Molestation Prevention Plan

A Fact

Today, at least one out of every four little girls and at least one out of every six little boys are victims of a sexual abuser. That can change. We now have the power to stop the abusers who commit 95 percent of the sex acts against our children. We know who this abuser is, where to find him (or her), which children are most at risk, and how to protect them.

Your Opportunity To Save Children

“The Child Molestation Prevention Plan” explains the basic facts about child sexual abuse and presents a plan to protect children from molestation. In it you will learn:

  • the definitions of child molester and child molestation;
  • the damage caused by child sexual abuse;
  • the characteristics of a child molester;
  • the four general causes of child sexual abuse and the one cause responsible for 95 percent of all acts;
  • how to identify and treat the single greatest cause early – before there is a victim;
  • why The Child Molestation Prevention Plan will work.

The Child Molestation Prevention Plan

1. Tell others the facts. Tell your family and friends:

  • The abusers who commit 95 percent of the sex acts against children are driven by an ongoing sex drive directed toward children.
  • We can identify the development of this disorder early – during the teenage years and even younger.
  • Some people with an ongoing sex drive directed toward children are not yet child molesters because they’ve never acted on their disorder.
  • We can drastically reduce most child sexual abuse by following a three-step plan that’s been proven successful in conquering other public health problems.
    More…
2. Focus on the cause: an ongoing sex drive directed toward children.
  • We can place abusers into four groups separated by what causes them to sexually abuse a child.
  • Of the four general causes of child molestation, the one that leads to the greatest number of victims is the disorder that involves an ongoing sex drive directed toward children.
  • By focusing prevention efforts on the single greatest cause of child sexual abuse, we can protect the greatest number of children in the shortest amount of time.
    More…
3. Act: diagnose early. Use tests, medicines, and sex-specific therapies.
  • An ongoing sex drive directed toward children can be diagnosed by a sex-specific specialist. These specialists use objective tests, medicines, and specialized cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques that directly reduce or extinguish a sex drive directed toward children.
    More…

Child Molestation and Public Health

Is child molestation a public health problem? It qualifies on two counts: damage to health and numbers of victims. Sexually abusing a child endangers that child’s physical and emotional health. And, unfortunately, the number of victimized children is in the millions.

In the history of the world, only one strategy has worked to conquer a public health problem: Focus on the cause.

That’s the Child Molestation Prevention Plan’s Step Two. What health professionals have always done that worked is to first find out what causesthe disease or disorder. Then, they work to devise something – a vaccine, a therapy, a medication, a nutritional change – that will stop that cause.

Child sexual abuse has four broad categories of cause. Here again, we follow a well-known and successful strategy: Save the greatest number of victims in the shortest possible time. To do this, we ask the classic medical question: Which one cause, if we could eliminate it tomorrow, would drastically reduce the number of victims? Here we are lucky, because the cause that leads to 95 percent of the sex acts against our children has already been discovered: an ongoing sex drive directed toward children. If we could stop our older children, the ones who live ordinary lives in ordinary families, from developing this disorder, the number of child victims would plummet.

The Child Molestation Prevention Plan’s Step One – Telling Others the Facts – is equally proven and equally important. Once medical professionals know what causes a disease or disorder, once they single out the major cause, the next question is: How do we get people to do what is needed to rid our country of this problem? How will they learn the facts? How can we convince them to act on the facts? And at what speed?

We know that preventing child sexual abuse will be difficult because it demands that all of us talk about child sexual abuse to friends and relatives who may know none of the facts but may already have their minds set in concrete. Convinced they know all they need to know, they may have decided they don’t want to hear anything about child molestation.

So that is our challenge. Can you learn the important facts presented on these pages and can you tell them to your family, friends, and people in your community? By doing so you will increase public awareness of the solution to child sexual abuse and be part of creating a sexual abuse free environment for all of the children in your family, neighborhood, and community.

Go to 1. Tell others the facts.

Copyright 2016 © Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute, Inc.
All content and works posted on this website are owned and copyrighted by CMRPI. All rights reserved.
Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute 2515 Santa Clara Avenue, Suite 208 Alameda, CA 94501

A MILLION MILES LED ASTRAY

I wrote this poem a year or so ago.
It is for every person who has experienced any kind of child abuse and trauma.
You are not alone.

I call it

A Million Miles Led Astray

I sit here by myself in my home with my puppy content but not.

And my mind is a million miles led astray.   Didn’t say bye, just left.

 

Walking wounded still in pain as we try desperately not to go insane.

Inner child, little girl sweet little boy, you are more brave than if you had gone to war.

 

And you did survive even though you aren’t sure –

you lived it and breathed it and you won’t have to go through that pain anymore.

 

And here we all are, millions and millions of us,

wondering what in the hell just happened and why am I here in this adult body, still filled with fear.

 

If I know nothing else in this crazy world,

I know that those who are survivors are the Strength, not the Pain.

We are the Light, not the Dark. We are the Innocents, playing our harp.

So come on gorgeous angels, dry your tears.

 

We are all finally together just when we thought the end was near.

And now our lives are just beginning because we are setting ourselves free.

We’ve earned it, we deserve it, it is our right to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~ Randa Fox

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.

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

 

 

 

 

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