Together We Heal

Together We Heal is for any who suffer from the trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse. We are here to provide a safe forum for survivors of abuse to share, learn and heal, give direction to those seeking guidance and to expose sexual predators for what they are and their methods of getting into our lives.


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How to Talk with Your Children about Sexual Abuse

I was once given some advice from a person much older and wiser than myself: “If a child is old enough to ask the question, they are old enough to get the truth.” There is, however, a way to present truth in a way that neither scares the child nor impedes their ability to openly communicate with the adult about “delicate” subject matter.

The following is a combined list of different suggestions on ways to talk to your children about sexual abuse. The sources for this information are Together We Heal, The Joyful Heart Foundation, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, FamilyWatchDog.com, The Center for Behavioral Intervention in Beaverton, Oregon, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s: Convicted Sex Offender Web Site, as well as my own personal recommendations based on personal experience.

1) Start Young

Talk openly and often with your children about sexual development, behavior and abuse. Keep in mind that if you discuss sexual development with your children appropriately from a very young age, they will not be embarrassed by the subject matter and will be less vulnerable to the grooming tactics of many child molesters.

Children who do not have their curiosity satisfied do not stop asking, they simply start looking elsewhere for their answers. After all, who do you want educating your children about sex and sexuality…you or their friends and Madison Avenue?!? Starting young is not damaging. Parents believe that somehow it is inappropriate for them to be discussing such things with young children. If a child has a curiosity about something, it does not damage them to know the truth. Truth is never wrong! Truth is never damaging! While they are young is a healthy time for children to know the answers. It is the best time. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is waiting until the teenage years to address issues of sexuality.

Rather than waiting until the time in their lives when you are beginning to lose their time and focus to sports, school, friends, etc…confront the issues now. Make sure you spend the first 12 years of your child’s life laying out a stable framework for your children to build their ideals and morals from. Don’t wait until they are 13 and riddled with urges to start addressing the issue of healthy sexual relationships.

The key to this is what my friend and colleague, Rachel Grant, calls “normalizing” the conversation. What we mean by that is, for example, a “normal” talk with your child would be, “how was practice today, or do you need any help with your homework?” So just as normally as you bring up those topics, so also ask them, “has anyone made you feel uncomfortable at school or church today?” “Has anyone approached you or touched you in a way that made you feel upset?” The more normal you make the conversation, the more likely they are to open up to you and talk about it.

Instill concepts when they are young. Confronting the tough issues and morals you would like your children to be instilled with begins at birth, and that includes sexuality.

2) Use Proper Terminology

Use proper names or semi-proper names for body parts (penis and vagina), and phrases like: private parts are “private and special”. Research shows that children who know the proper words for their body parts are less likely to be sexually abused than children who are not. Teaching a child that body parts are so embarrassing and shameful to talk about that they need silly nicknames makes it much more likely that a child will not tell you if someone touches them inappropriately. When a child knows the proper names, it puts a predator on notice that there is an atmosphere of openness and dialogue in a home and that if they harm your child, it is more likely to be discovered and disclosed.

3) Practice

Take the time to rehearse with your spouse/partner or any adult that will give you a truthful critique and be patient. This is not the time to rush through or skim over the parts that make you feel uncomfortable. Just imagine that if you have a difficult time talking with the adult, what will it be like when you talk with your child? Gather resources from organizations such as Together We Heal, SNAP, Stop It Now, RAINN, Survivors Chat, MaleSurvivor, etc., and make notes or an outline. Do whatever makes it easiest for you to remember the topics and keep yourself on point. Throughout the talk, your child will be asking questions that will take you in various directions so it is essential that once you answer the question you get back on track. Also consider that you may not be able to address all questions at once. Be honest with your child if they ask you a question that you do not have the answer. Tell them the truth. Let them know that you need to find the answer and let them know later.

4) No Secrets and No Private time with Adults/Children

Teach your child not to keep secrets and that no one should ask your child to keep a secret from you. Teach your child that there are happy surprises which we are going to tell people about soon (like birthday presents or the ending to a story your brother is reading), but that we don’t have secrets that we’re not allowed to tell and we don’t keep secrets that make us feel sad or worried.

Avoid one child‐one adult situations. 90% of all child sexual abuse occurs in situations where there is only one adult and one child present. When a child is going to have one on one time with an adult, attempt to schedule that time in observable places (like parks and restaurants). Ask your child about how things went when they were alone with an adult, child or relative. Listen for specific details and watch your child’s mood.

5) Create a “Safety Team” or “Safety Network”

Help your child create a list of their trusted adults. Give your child a copy of their list. Make sure their support “network” peoples’ phone numbers are by the telephone with and in a place that your child has easy access to. Once you and your child have made a list, let all the people on your child’s list know that they are part of this emergency network. Let them know your child has your permission to contact them and ask them if they are comfortable with this responsibility.

Let your child know that you will not be upset if they go to anyone on this list when they are scared or confused. It is very common for children to feel that they cannot speak to their parents in spite of a parent’s attempt to ease this fear. The majority of children who report sexual abuse do not report it to their parents. Sexual predators often tell their victims that what is happening is the victims’ fault; that they will get in trouble, that they will be taken away or that their parents will stop loving them and will hate them. Molesters who are related to the child also scare them into silence by telling them that no one else will take care of them if they go to jail. It is very important to talk with your children and reassure them of your unconditional love and remind them of all the people who care about them. When you take away an offender’s ability to keep his victim silent, you take away his/her power.

6) Explain How Your Child is Helping

Avoid scary details. Use language that is honest and age appropriate. Explain that no one should touch a child on the parts of their body that are covered by their bathing suit. Also let your child know that there are exceptions to this situation such as mommy or daddy helping a young child bathe, diaper changes or a doctor examining a child with their parent present.

When discussing sexual abuse with younger children, refer to sexual predators as adults with “touching problems.” These people can make “secret touching” look accidental (such as tickling or wrestling) and they should still tell you even if they think (or were told) it was an accident. This is a way for a young child to understand that an adult has an inappropriate behavior without giving your child nightmares or age-inappropriate details about what the “touching” might entail.

Tell your children that people who have touching problems need special help so they don’t continue to have problems or get into trouble. Don’t describe it as a sickness and don’t say that “bad” people do this, as most of the time the “bad” person is someone who seems good or is known to the child. Do not use words like pedophile, predator or pervert; but rather, refer to “touching problems” instead as this gives the child the ability to judge and tell you about the behavior without the understandable confusion that arises when the perpetrator is someone they love or care about.

Finally – And this step might be the most important…

7) Create a form letter that explains how you have discussed with your child/children about the issue of childhood sexual abuse and list the people in their safety network. Give a copy to each adult in your child’s life and on the list.

By notifying all of the adults in your child’s life (family, friends, teachers, coaches, and parents of your child’s friends), you have in effect warned most potential predators in your child’s life that they will be caught should they target your child for abuse or inappropriate behavior. Sex offenders generally target children where the risk of getting caught is sufficiently low. By doing this, you are telling any would-be offender that your child is prepared and as parents you are involved. If you find it challenging to create your own form letter, we have provided two templates here on the website. Please feel free to print them out to use.

You may either go to the webpage that has both forms – or you can click and download the forms from here:

  1. Form Letter 1 with Contact Numbers
  2. Form Letter 2 without Contact Number

My hope is that you will take these tips and begin the dialogue with your child/children. Remember to do this also…talk WITH your child, not AT your child. Together we can work to give your children the BEST possibility of NOT being a statistic. (1 in 6 boys and 1 in 3 girls are molested and/or sexually abused/raped by the age of 18).

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.

dpittman@together-we-heal.org

Copyright © 2013 Together We Heal


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Pedophiles are like Serial Killers – My Story by David Pittman

My name is David Pittman – For 30 years I’ve been keeping a secret that almost killed me. From the time I was 12 until I was 15, I was sexually abused by my youth minister at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker, GA. His name is Frankie Wiley, full name Franklin Andrew Wiley. Due to the pathetic statute of limitation laws in Georgia and almost every state in the USA, he walks free. And up until recently he was serving as an associate minister at Trinity Baptist Church in Ashburn, Ga. While he no longer holds an “official” position at the church, he still has access to little boys because the pastor of the church defends him. I have been told they grew up together so he’s allowing this confessed child molester continued access to potential victims of sexual abuse.

In 2006, I found Frankie serving as youth minister at Jodeco Road Baptist Church, where Jerry Light was the Pastor. I contacted Pastor Light, told him my story and he and the Chairman of Deacons, after doing their due diligence about my story, confronted Frankie. Frankie admitted to both men that he had sexually abused me. They fired him on the spot. He then went back to get help from a family at a previous church in Flowery Branch, Ga. When they were made aware of the circumstances, they too told him to leave. He returned to his hometown and got a job with the school as a substitute teacher and when I told the superintendent, Ray Jordan, he fired him. I continue to track his activity with children and if you look at his Facebook or MySpace pages they are filled with preteens and teenagers as he has a whole new world of potential victims.

There is an important update I need to give you as the reader. I first posted this article in October of 2012, but as of March 12th, 2014, a total of 7 men have come forward, from three different churches, whose ages ranged from 9 to 15, that Frankie raped, molested or sexually assaulted in some way prior to, during or after the time he was sexually abusing me. Their names are Cale Harbour, Christopher Elrod, and sadly one is now deceased, Andy Harrell. Andy gave me permission to use his name prior to is death in 2012. Unfortunately 3 others are not in an emotional place of healing and told me “they just can’t talk about it right now” and I know how they feel. It’s how myself, Cale and Christopher felt for many years. But they reached out to me because they thought all this time they were the only ones and needed to talk to someone who understood what they had been through.

It’s important that you know how Frankie and other sexual predators like him operate. He invites 2-3 boys over to his house for sleepovers. He keeps 1 or 2 in another room and has the other boy stay with him in his bed. This is where the molestation, abuse and rape takes place. Or he will tell you that several boys are staying over and when you arrive, you are the only one…trapped.

These vultures go after others like me who came from a family of divorce or worse. They take advantage of the vulnerability; a young boy simply wanting attention from a male role model. This is their “play”, also known as “grooming” and how it eventually leads to the abuse. God only knows how many there actually are-which is why I am writing this. The National Crime Statistics say “an uncaught child molester has approximately 117 victims.” And one young man I mentioned, can no longer speak at all-he died in June 2012. According to what he told me, because of the shame and guilt from being molested by Frankie Wiley, he took drugs to numb the pain, the drugs lowered his ability to make proper decisions, and in the end it cost him his life. It seems clear to me that the blood of his death is on the hands of Frankie Wiley.

Since the state of GA has a pathetic statute of limitations on child rape, I am unable to bring him to justice. I called Mr. Kenneth Keene at the Georgia Baptist Convention to inform him of this pedophile using his church as a haven for hunting. His response was to pray for me and say “sorry but each church acts separately and there is nothing we can do.” After two conversations, I wanted to tell him that Frankie had moved churches, but he wouldn’t take my calls or emails. It appears the Southern Baptist Convention, as an organization, is following in the footsteps of the Roman Catholic Church. It prefers to deny and cover-up rather than own up to the evil within. It knows the moment it admits to what is actually happening, it’s potentially opened up to lawsuits, and it seems the Southern Baptist Convention would rather have more children abused, molested and raped, than admit wrongdoing, take these pedophiles out of its churches and possibly pay money to the victims.

But don’t take just my word for it, an organization has found countless leaders within the Baptist Church who know of instances of abuse and choose to do nothing. Mr. Keene is listed among them.

“The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke

http://stopbaptistpredators.org/blind_baptist_leaders.html

How many other adults out there have suffered this atrocity and are unable to bring their abusers to justice due to the insufficient laws held by almost every state in the land? Sexual predators know this and count on it. They count on us not saying anything until it is legally too late. The reason being, most survivors of abuse aren’t capable of acknowledging what happened to them until, on average, we are in our 30’s and 40’s. The statute of limitations in almost every state runs out between the ages of 18 to 23. It’s simple math for sexual predators and the organizations that protect them.

When Dr. Light contacted the pastor of Trinity Baptist, Rodney Brown, with verification that Frankie Wiley admitted to sexually molesting/abusing me, all he said he would do was to bring it to the church. While Frankie is no longer “on staff”, he is still active with the youth. What they fail to understand is these predators NEVER stop until they are caught and incarcerated or deceased. The deacons and leadership at Trinity are either ignorant or being negligent or both in failing to protect the children within their care. When I sent an email to the parents of Trinity Baptist, after the pastor failed to tell them, he called me and said I was a bad person. Pastor Rodney Brown said I caused a split in “HIS” church. To which I replied, “pastor, first of all, it’s not YOUR church. The “church” is the people who make up the body of Christ, not the person standing in the pulpit. And who is the bad person here? Me, for letting the parents of Trinity know about an admitted child molester with access to their children, or you, who CHOSE to keep it secret until you were FORCED to admit what I told them was the truth? And hearing that the church split tells me that half of the people there didn’t agree with you in allowing this sexual predator to continue to be around their children.” Below you will find a link to Trinity Baptist Church where they proudly list Frankie as their worship leader. Is this the type of church you want to send your little boys and feel safe about doing it?

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ga/county/turner/trinity.html

And to any of the aforementioned people who would deny anything I have spelled out in this letter. I challenge them to submit to a lie-detector test. I am more than willing to do so and testify under oath. Myself, Cale and Christopher have the one thing they don’t…the truth.

I wonder how many parents of the children Jerry Sandusky molested wished they had this kind of information. How many little boys would still have their innocence? How many little boys would have been protected? To me, this pastor is WORSE than the pedophile. A pedophile is sick and won’t stop until incarcerated or deceased. Rodney Brown, like the administrators at Penn State, or the church leaders in the RCC, CHOSE to protect the monster in their midst.

We have started a non-profit, 501(c)(3), charitable organization and advocacy group that will help others like me who were robbed of their innocence and struggle every day with a way to stay alive. We provide guidance at no charge to those in need, educate parents on how to better protect their children and lead a monthly support group for survivors of CSA. Below are the various ways you can learn more about the support we provide survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

together-we-heal.org – Visit our website
@together_weheal – Follow us on Twitter

http://www.facebook.com/Togetherwehealorg – “Like” us on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/groups/togetherweheal – Join the TWH Facebook group

Please share this information to everyone you know. The reason why I ask this is because survivors of molestation and abuse might not speak out…but they will read in private if they see helpful sites like these posted on your wall. You may never know who you are helping, but believe me you will. I know because it took me almost 30 years to finally acknowledge and address what happened and that allowed me to begin the process of healing. I simply don’t want any other survivors to feel like I did for so long – alone.

My childhood voice was strangled by the rope of molestation. My assailant is free (for now), but with your help other victims will have the courage to come forward in time to incarcerate these predators. Most survivors have a similar feeling; one of feeling trapped—having to relive the crime that keeps them silent, it even costs some of them their lives. Too many have committed suicide because they did not have the tools to handle the trauma, others (including myself) turned to drugs and alcohol to numb their pain (many times ending in an overdose). And even more who are never able to have any kind of life. No loving relationships, no lasting friendships, no children to show true parental love – all due to the pain caused by the crime of abuse, molestation and rape.

I was told by a GBI investigator in 2006 something that has stuck with me to this day…”a pedophile is like a serial killer that leaves his victims alive.”

I believe that most accurately describes a pedophile/sexual predator. It’s truth articulated.

Frankie served as a music and/or youth minister at the following churches from the mid to late 70’s to 2011 – if you or anyone you know has concerns or questions, please contact me.

Pinecrest Baptist Church, Cordele, Ga.
Rehoboth Baptist, Tucker, Ga.
Second Avenue Baptist, Rome, Ga.
A Baptist church in Flowery Branch, Ga.
Jodeco Road Baptist, Stockbridge, Ga.
Trinity Baptist, Ashburn, Ga.

He also worked as a substitute teacher at the local school system in Ashburn, Ga., sometime around 2009-2011.

If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused by Frankie Wiley or by anyone, please reach out to someone, things are different now, you WILL be believed, you are NOT alone. Please, reach out…there are people you can trust now.

9/25/2013 – An Update on the Pedophile/Sexual Predator, Frankie Wiley…

There is now an even more recent update that validates everything we thought, and reaffirms all we knew. I am posting what ANOTHER victim of his sent to me below:

At one time I thought I was the only person Frankie Wiley sexually molested while I was in the youth group at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker, Ga. I have since learned that there were more before me, at Rehoboth, and several after at other churches. Today I have learned this goes back long before RBC. And this also exposes another lie Frankie has told in his attempt to justify his pedophile and sexual predatory actions. He told me the reason he molested and raped me was because he was raped in seminary. Not that it’s any type of rationale, just the reason he gave. It turns out, he’s been molesting little boys for a long time before that. Below is a comment posted to the TWH website from a victim of Frankie’s that happened long before Rehoboth and seminary and the cover-up that’s been going on to protect him. This folks, is why we do what we do. To this day, Frankie has access to little boys and we have to expose him for what he is to try to protect them from going through what an untold number of little boys already have. Please call Trinity Baptist Church in Ashburn, Ga and demand they remove Frankie’s access to children before another falls victim.

The victims story follows…and read how to this day he feels responsible for what Frankie did to him. That’s the control these predators have over children…

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I just wanted to let you know that I too encountered Frankie Wiley in my youth, growing up in Ashburn GA. It was pretty well-known in the ’70s that he was molesting kids. I know of several other boys besides myself during that time. I see you also mention Rodney Brown, and if that is the old Pastor Brown’s son from Sycamore, then he knew about Frankie back then too. I think Rodney was about Frankie’s age, or maybe a few years older, and he and his brother Eddie both knew about Frankie, heck just about everyone in town did. Back then people just called him queer and other names and kind of turned their back, perhaps most not really knowing that he was actually molesting young boys in the church. But all the kids knew. This is when Frankie was in his 20s and he was always involved in leading some kind of youth group. He particularly liked to organize campouts for boys. You get the idea.

At the time when I ended all contact with Frankie, despite his efforts to contact me, I believe he was the Minister of Music at a church in Cordele, GA. That doesn’t seem to be on your list. This would have been somewhere around 1975 or 76. Seems like he was also involved in a church musical group called Maranatha out of Cordele too.

From time to time over the years I’ve looked online to see if he ever got caught or punished, and this website (together-we-heal.org) is the first time I ever found anything mentioning him. Apparently he still goes UNPUNISHED and UNREFORMED. In my case this was nearly 40 years ago, so that would make him in his mid-60’s now I think. And he’s probably done the same stuff for 40 years. Even though there were at least 3 incidents I recall, I’ve lived a pretty normal life and been able to cope, I think. I’m sure the scars have caused me some problems, but I’ve never talked about it and never told anyone that I was molested as a child, much less publicly accused Frankie. I’m probably not interested in coming forward now either, after all these years. But after finding this site I had to at least post a note. I’ve put in an email address that will actually reach me, it’s real but anonymized.

If I can provide any information that will help your cause then I’ll consider it, but I’ll probably not make my own identity public. I don’t really want to open up that old wound again, and don’t really want to admit to people who know me that this happened. Yes I was a child, but I feel like I somehow allowed it to happen too, being at a very susceptible age. So I remain ashamed to this day.

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Notice how this latest victim coming forward feels responsible for what Frankie did to him? This is why we must protect the children that are currently in harm’s way. Even after being sexually abused, the victim often times feels as though it was something they did to allow it to happen. The ONLY one to blame here is Frankie Wiley! Frankie is the sexual predator. This child did NOTHING to deserve this. Help us to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse, educate families on keeping children safer and identifying and prosecuting predators like Wiley.

Copyright © 2013 Together We Heal