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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The Other Victims Of Childhood Sexual Abuse

The following is a post a friend of mine wanted to share. She has helped me realize that as survivors of childhood sexual abuse, we are just one set of the victims in this crime. I’m thankful for her sharing with me and pointing out that children, loved-ones and others also suffer the consequences of the abusers actions. Please welcome her writing and the willingness to open up her heart and hurt with us.

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When you’re growing up, you look up to your parents for wisdom and to see how you are supposed to be when you grow up. Parents are the ones you’re with the most and they mold you into who you are today.

Parents aren’t perfect, even though when we are young we think they are. We tend to place them on a pedestal and never recognize the tarnish and wear, or what may be going on inside of them. Let’s face it, our job as children is to have fun and play and try to obey our parents because in our minds, we trust they know what’s good for us.

For me, childhood was probably a little more difficult than an average child. It seemed I could never do right. I couldn’t say the right things or be the right way. Yet, somehow inside me – I still would seek out approval from my mother. Call me a glutton for punishment, stubborn, hard-headed, etc., I’ve been called worse.
My mother and I were two independent, head-strong individuals and we clashed like most teenagers do with their parents, but then there were times when I would be on the receiving end of some pretty hateful comments. It wasn’t until I was older that I came to the realization of what was really going on.

Growing up constantly being told you’d never amount to anything isn’t easy to take, nor is hearing how I’m so pathetic. Thousands upon thousands of children hear this at some point in their life. I’m not saying that I’m that different just that I have scars from the verbal abuse I endured.

So why am I on a victims of CSA website and blog? Simply put, I’m a victim of a victim.

No, I was not sexually abused but I did suffer from the effects of CSA, the effects they had on my mother. Because she chose not face the things that happened to her when she was younger, this played a huge role on how she interacted with others. Her relationships with her family and extended family suffered.

On the outside and in public, she was a stunning, beautiful woman. Very intelligent and determined to become more – do more, no one would have ever thought she was battling with her own doubts. At home, she tended to be disconnected, cold and hard-hearted. I don’t remember a lot of hugs and kisses growing up. I sat back and watched as my friends had seemingly great relationships with their mothers and would envy their mother/daughter connection. It was hard.

Over the years, my attempts to reach out and share the events of my life weren’t received very well. I think the most intimate mother/daughter moments we shared were when I got married or when I had my child. It’s still hard – sometimes I mourn that lost relationship – the memories that could have been but never were.

In my early motherhood days, I found myself reacting to things the way my mother used to – quick to anger and disconnected. I came to realize a cycle was starting and not a healthy one. I realized I was turning into my mother and not in those funny, cute ways we joke about with our friends. This cycle of hatred at the world had begun and I had to do something about it to break the cycle or another innocent child would fall victim to this madness. Another relationship would suffer.

You see, during my late high school years, my mom had confided in me her deep dark secret. She was sexually abused as a child. I never really grasped how deep the pain was, how deeply it effected who she had become. I really don’t think the light bulb of that reality hit me until after I had my own child and knew I had to break the cycle of anger.

For those of you out there afraid to take the steps to get help, please realize, you’re not the only victim. How you react to the travesty of what happened to you can last for generations. I’m asking you to take the steps necessary to begin healing – If you don’t do it for you, do it for those you love, your wife, your husband, your children and even your grandchildren.

If you find yourself in my shoes – please know you aren’t alone. Reach out to Together We Heal or find someone you can talk to. Know you are worthy and don’t believe the words spoken in anger. I know it’s not easy to accept, but you can overcome this and break the cycle.

Please don’t ever forget – To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.

By Michelle Lea Anthony-Hopper

Michelle is not just a friend, she’s also the TWH web designer, webmaster and on the Board of Consultants. Much like she was unaware of my abuse, I was unaware of what she had been through until we started working together on projects for TWH. We are honored to have her as an integral member of the TWH team and family.

Copyright © 2013 Together We Heal


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Is The American Dream Becoming The American Nightmare?

Hellen Keller was once asked, “Is there anything worse than being blind?” She replied, “Yes, the most pathetic person in the world, is someone with sight, but no vision.”

Hellen Keller said this decades ago. And sadly it’s where I believe my country, the United States of America, is at this very moment in time. We have, as a nation, all the abilities and resources known to mankind, and yet all too often we allow our most precious resource and the most vulnerable, to be continually dismissed, neglected, abused and laid to rest without a second thought…our children.

We have the ability to “see”, but have no effective “vision” for protecting our children. Not a single day passes as we read about yet another child being sexually abused. I know because I’m posting these stories on our website. I actually have to limit and keep it to a minimum for fear that people would stop reading. That, and the toll it takes on my psyche.

So why is it that with all of the abilities and resources we have, we fail as a society to protect them? I had a close friend of mine, Patrick Tomlinson, point out something to me I had not considered. He said the following, “In some ways I think the American Dream is a problem – there is an idealization by many Americans of how ‘great’ the country is – this then makes it challenging to raise some of the not so great realities into public focus. Maybe we should talk less about being great, the land of the free, etc., and more about tackling some of the serious issues that plague children’s/people’s lives?”

And then he brought up another point that really struck a chord with me because it’s an issue I had to deal with. He said, “In the writing you’re doing about the problem of religious groups covering up sexual abuse, how much cover up and denial goes on in the USA – it’s huge. If you are a pedophile you may be protected by the law, but not a drug user who might be blotting out the pain of abuse. While some perpetrators remain free, people who have committed drug related offenses often connected to their trauma, end up in prison.” It was as if he hit me over the head. My own abuser walks free to this day and sexually abused many others after me, meanwhile I became addicted to narcotics to cover the pain and ended up incarcerated for possession. But I’ve already shared that story with you and it’s not the focus of today. The point is how we let offenders go, frequently.

Just last week I posted a story about a pastor of a Baptist church in Iowa who confessed and was convicted of raping four teen boys. He was sentenced to 17 years…only to have a judge overturn the sentence to NO JAIL TIME. This is a perfect example of what Patrick was speaking. We are so consumed with consumption and the belief in this “great” nation but we are failing when it comes to protecting our children. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my county and I DO believe it’s one of the best in the world. But if we don’t change our attitudes and treatment of children, we won’t have the bright future we always hoped to have. I know it’s a cliché to say, the children are our future, but it’s the truth. And if we don’t start defending them from these sexual predators and a judicial system that gives protection to the offenders, these same children will remember when they are older and in charge and will say “to hell with you” when it comes our time to be the ones in need. And frankly, the way we are behaving now, we will deserve it.

The issue is straightforward, as is the answer. Right now, the statute of limitation laws on sex crimes against children are so pathetic, they allow pedophiles/sexual predators to commit hundreds of offenses without fear of prosecution. We MUST make it a nationwide law, and quit trying to go state by state. Make it so there are NO statute of limitations on sex crimes against children. While this won’t help past crimes, it will begin to change the outcome of the future and will let victims know they can finally come forward when a crime has been perpetrated against them. Or if we must go state by state, then please help us do something about it. Demand of every congressman in the nation, if they don’t pass the law now, next election you will put someone in office who will. And hold them to it. Don’t say, well my congressman is good and he/she is trying…horse hockey! Hold their feet to the fire, make them get it done, or boot them out of office.

The law in the USA is in marked contrast to that in other countries. For instance in the UK there is no protection of sexual offenders who committed crimes, however long ago. This has been evident with the recent scandals regarding TV celebrities, many of them family entertainers and household names, some even knighted. One such person, who is now over 80 years old is sentenced to prison. The issue should not be how long ago did the crime(s) take place but whether the person is guilty or not. Of course, it takes a degree of bravery as a nation to have laws like this, no doubt in the UK difficulty and embarrassment have also been caused to the establishment who worked with some of these pedophiles. And then there are the potential law suits against institutions such as the BBC. So it could be argued that the powers that be would have a vested interest in limiting the occurrence of these situations – the current statute of limitations works against the victims of childhood sexual abuse who cannot always talk about the crimes perpetrated against them, until many years later. And unfortunately it does protect pedophiles/sexual predators who remain free to commit further crimes.

Today in the USA, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18. That’s ridiculous for this nation, and we as humans to allow this to happen. And we do allow it to happen by not doing enough to prevent it. The responsibility for this cannot be expected to lie solely with Government Policy, Social Work and Child Protection agencies – it is a responsibility for us as citizens, communities and society. Also of our institutions, schools, churches, synagogues, etc., some of whom are protecting these predators and we’re allowing them to do that too. They pay hush-money or deny or cover-up. And because, as Patrick pointed out, we don’t want to think our great nation has that “bad” of a problem, the reality is too painful, so we are tempted to collude and deny.

I’ll quote my friend again, “After all these years, we have the ‘greatest nation on earth’ and some of the most trusted people in society prey on and abuse children and as you have said, worse than that they can be protected by the system and sometimes those in power – this has been evident in religious institutions that have actively attempted to cover up child abuse.

Ask yourself this one question, why? Why do we continue to allow these crimes to happen? One answer is very simple, we don’t think it will happen to our kids. It’s only when someone dies at an intersection do lawmakers put up a traffic light. The same attitude is with childhood sexual abuse (CSA). The only ones you hear saying anything are those who have been abused. Unfortunately, although our numbers are staggeringly high, it’s just too difficult for most to come forward. And because generally the squeaky wheel gets the grease, victims of CSA go without justice because they are afraid to come forward. So it’s up to the rest of our civilized society. We need this great nation to finally step up, live up to its great name and be the voice for the voiceless, lend strength to those without the might and be courageous for those living in fear and shame of the awful crimes perpetrated against them. Please help. We cannot do this on our own. We need you as a nation to quit looking the other way, and be the nation our forefathers intended…one that protects its children.

If the saying is true, “the meaning of life is to give life meaning”, then what does it say about us as a nation of we fail to give our children’s life meaning, or worse, allow theirs to be stolen from them by sexual predators as we sat by and did nothing?

Act now…be the reason our children’s lives have meaning.

Copyright © 2013 Together We Heal


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Pastor Admits “Rape The Gay Away” of Four Teen Boys – Serves NO JAIL TIME

If you want to know why we continue to raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse, and in response to those who seem to think we are crying “chicken little” when it comes to this issue, look no further than this one case. A pastor in Iowa who ADMITTED to raping four teen boys, and has had eight others come forward since, had his sentence reduced from 17 years to NO JAIL TIME.

Our judicial system is broken when it refuses to protect the most vulnerable of our society and if you don’t think it can happen to your children and in your neighborhood then don’t say you weren’t warned when it does. If we won’t stand up now for children like these, then who will when it’s your child, or your neighbors kids?

Please help us to get these judges and lawmakers removed from office and have the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children removed, nationwide.

http://www.inquisitr.com/946459/rape-away-the-gay-pastor-brent-girouex-gets-sentence-reduced/


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2013 Annual Mid-Atlantic Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect

Our partners at the Maryland Children’s Alliance are hosting the 2013 Annual Mid-Atlantic Conference on Child Abuse & Neglect – Please take a moment to read –

http://marylandchildrensalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/midatlantic2013.pdf


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ALL Children Need Protection From Being Sexually Abused

ALL children need our protection from being sexually abused…this includes children incarcerated with adults. Please sign this petition telling Attorney General Holder he needs to take the necessary steps to protect all children. Thank you guys!

http://takeaction.takepart.com/actions/protect-children-rape-adult-jails-and-prisons?goback=%2Egde_1867777_member_271421779#%21


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Decriminalization of Teacher/Student Sexual Activity is NOT the Answer

For those that want to protect children from sexual predators that have jobs as teachers, PLEASE READ!!!

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Please-SHARE—Full-Text-of-Anderson-Letter-to-Editor-re–Karasik-Op-Ed.html?soid=1102872218941&aid=zHmt6GFgbgQ


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Church Of England Makes Child Abuse Apology

As a member of the Episcopal Church here in the United States, and a survivor of CSA at the hands of a clergy member I have only one thing to say…Thank God!!! In the various 12-Step programs you hear all the time, admitting there is a problem is the first step. Well, they have not only admitted to the problem, they are seeking ways to prevent it from happening in the first place. At the bottom of this post you will find two articles that are prime examples of what should take place.

Unlike their Roman Catholic, Jewish Orthodox, and Southern Baptist counterparts, and essentially EVERY other religious group, who choose to remain in denial, deflection and dogma that says defend the institution rather than the children, the Church of England has come to its senses and is no longer protecting these pedophiles priests. They have now taken the lead and done what hopefully all schools, religious organizations and civic groups will do. Quit worrying about how much money it’s going to cost them in litigation and do the right thing! They have made a public statement acknowledging the wrongdoing, the cover-ups and how they will protect children and not the church as an organization.

Even though the abuse that happened to me occurred at another denomination, it told me I made the right choice in selecting this one to continue my spiritual growth. The church I once belonged to, more specifically, the church I had dedicated my life to, the Southern Baptist, have not only ignored my plea’s to remove the man who sexually abused me and at least 7 others that I know of, they have told me in no uncertain terms, its not their problem…each church is independent of one another and them as a convention. All of which are bold-faced lies. If each “independent” church doesn’t send the convention a certain amount of dollars, they are denied representation at the national convention. Does that sound autonomous or independent to you? The RCC and the SBC have shown their administrations true colors time and time again, they don’t really care about the protection of children. They either deny, deny, deny or they want to pay “hush money” for things to just “go away”. And in doing so, they facilitate these pedophiles/sexual predators to keep harming more children. In my opinion that’s condoning, not condemnation.

Which is why I say now I’m so thankful for how the Anglican church is acting. In doing so they are saying to me, we are genuinely sorry and even though we didn’t help protect others in the past, we will do all we can to prevent this from happening in the future. And the bottom line, that’s all I’ve ever wanted. I am not a church or religion “hater”. To the contrary, it’s my faith that has helped me overcome much of the pain caused by these so-called men of the cloth. And it’s because of my faith I want to see things changed WITHIN the church, not have the church TORN DOWN.

I can only hope and pray that others will follow their lead. But if the past actions are any indication of future ones, it doesn’t look good. It appears the only way things change with them is to hit them in the wallet as hard as you can. Which means survivors of CSA brave enough to come forward are forced to relive and retell their nightmares over and over through depositions, trials, etc. And by forcing survivors to do this, these religious leaders are victimizing them all over again.

If you really want to see change within your organization, it’s going to take some effort. You must do as we have been for some time now. Write and call your state and national leaders of whatever group you belong. Demand that they make REAL, LASTING change, not just empty, broken promises as they have done in the past. A quick google search will tell you who you need to contact, and if you’re having difficulty finding them, just email us and we’ll be happy to help.

Please stand with us and demand that your church, your school or any organization that harbors these pedophiles/sexual predators stop denying and start defending the ones they should…the ones they were charged to protect…the children.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23215388

http://goldenageofgaia.com/2013/08/church-of-england-re-examines-paedophile-priests-files-as-archbishop-pulls-out-of-uk-animal-charity-role/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=church-of-england-re-examines-paedophile-priests-files-as-archbishop-pulls-out-of-uk-animal-charity-role&goback=%2Egde_1867777_member_266608787#%21

Copyright © 2013 Together We Heal