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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Why Do We Only Put Up Traffic Lights After a Tragedy

Impotent Georgia Act Protects Sexual Predators, Baptist & Catholic Churches and the Insurance companies that underwrite their policies.

Usually when my wife and I travel to Atlanta it’s for visiting friends and family. Atlanta is where we grew up, were high-school sweethearts and eventually where we wed. (Even if it did take me over 25 years to muster the courage to ask her to marry me!)

But this week my wife and I will be in Atlanta with an additional purpose. Actually it will be a two-fold mission.

As with almost every Together We Heal event/conference/etc., we will be teaching parents, guardians, and adults of various leadership and authority positions over children, on how to talk with kids about childhood sexual abuse and better identify the grooming methods of sexual predators.

In addition to this, we’re going to have the opportunity to lobby local representatives and their constituents about making a change that would have permanent, positive benefits for all of the children of our home state. We want to help them see how imperative it is that they pass a law eliminating the statute of limitations on all sex crimes against children.

I know, sounds like a no-brainer, right? Tragically, you’d be wrong. When myself and my wife were sexually abused as children, not one single state had such a law on the books. And it’s only been in last few years that states started passing said laws. Sadly, the pressure from “higher powers” had a greater hold on state assemblies than did the courage to do the right thing.

Based on Together We Heal’s non-profit designation, Federal law limits the amount of time we are able to spend lobbying for laws to protect children and assist victims in attaining any measure of justice. Therefore, we quite literally must make the MOST of every second of time we put forth on this type of effort.

So this week, we will be making one such effort at a DeKalb Women’s Meeting with 2 legislators in attendance. It’s our hope, that since we will be speaking to people who live where our abuse occurred, it will resonate with them on a more personal level.

That being said, here is the reason why Georgia needs to eliminate statute of limitation laws regarding sex crimes against children. And by the way, my personal example is just one in millions that have happened. I’m telling you my story so you can know that this happens all too often.

When I FINALLY gathered enough strength to come forward, name the man who sexually abused me as a child; I did what I was told to do, I went to the police because everyone said that’s what you do and certainly they would help me.

I went to DeKalb County Police Headquarters, the original one on Memorial Drive, and spoke with a detective in the Major Felony division (now called Special Victims Unit). After over 2 hours of excruciatingly painful memories being drawn out, vile detail by vile detail, it finally came to an end.

And that’s when she asked me the question she should’ve started off by asking, ”when did this crime take place?”

I told her from 1981-1984. That’s when she said the words that ripped my heart and stomach COMPLETELY out of my body and threw them in the sewer.

Her reply, “Sorry, but we can’t help you. You waited too long to report this crime.”

WHAT!? I WAITED TOO LONG?! How could I have done anything WRONG here?!?!

She said, “it’s not that you did anything wrong, you just didn’t know. There’s a law called statute of limitations. And in Georgia, since you didn’t come forward by the age of 18, the time limit is up and he can no longer be criminally prosecuted for the offense. No matter what he did to you. No matter how many times or for how many years. You’re just too late.”

Tragically the police, even when they genuinely want to help, have no way of doing so because of the laws OUR legislators keep on the books.

Ask yourself this simple question and let logic dictate the answer.

WHY?

Why would OUR representatives allow such laws to protect the perpetrator and further victimize the abused???

Recently a piece of legislation was passed in Georgia called the Hidden Predator Act (HPA). It was spoken of as some amazing Act, enabling any and all previous victims to come forward and get the justice they were for so long denied.

Turns out it was smoke and mirrors to make one Georgia representative appear good, but the bill is toothless and practically worthless. Although literally a couple of survivors have been able to utilize this bill, in a state of over 10 million, the VAST MAJORITY of Georgia victims will receive no such justice. Meanwhile, their perpetrators, and the ones protecting them, will remain happy all the live long day.

Why? Because the Southern Baptist Convention, Georgia Baptist Convention, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Roman Catholic Church and the Georgia Lobby for Insurance made it so. They “persuaded” YOUR representatives to remove all language that would give victims the ability to go after the churches, institutions, schools or companies that had any role in enabling, hiding or protecting the predators. By doing this it eliminated the possibility for almost any survivor to get representation. And with no attorney, no justice. Just all of the predators free and clear, to continue abusing, molesting, raping children and murdering their innocence and souls.

Most victims don’t have the strength to come forward, if they ever do, until their 30’s or 40’s, and by then it’s “too late” with the existing laws.

Sexual predators, Baptist & Catholic leaders, the Chamber and Insurance companies know this statistic, so their bean counters and leaders “convinced” legislators to orchestrate the law to read as it does. With the current language, it protects THEIR INTEREST.

And what, might you ask is their interest.

M-O-N-E-Y, NOT Y-O-U.

If these leaders actually cared about their constituents, parishioners, etc., this would not be the case. So to these “so-called” groups of faith and elected officials I say this…

“For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”

If we work together to do what’s right, protect potential future victims and enable justice for past ones, then we must pass a LAW, not a temporary bill like the one that expires in a little over a year, that does what should’ve been done already.

That’s right, the current HPA expires July 1st 2017, and at that time Georgia goes back to being one of the WORST states in the union for protecting child victims of sexual abuse.

So pass a law that ELIMINATES the statute of limitations on ALL sex crimes against children. And include language that allows for another 2-year window, only this time enable the revival against organizations & institutions and cap the claims at victims aged 53 (18 + 35). Georgia’s current bill allows victims to pursue litigation against the perpetrator only, not the people or organizations that covered it up or assisted them in any way. This is the only way to truly begin to stop this epidemic of abuse, to punish their enablers. If these predators had no protection, they most likely would’ve been caught.

Some very smart folks, who could explain the math about capping the age at 53 much better than I, have set that age for the reasons of how long it takes for most victims to be able to come forward and the age at which the perpetrators would be at that time. This gives the best chance for as many victims as possible to get the Justice that’s been denied them.

And maybe just as important, to expose the predators so that they can’t harm another child. Litigation shines the light and truth on them and that’s what they fear the most. And contrary to what certain church leaders and media members would have you believe, Pedophiles do not “age out” of abusing children.  Fr. John Geoghan in Boston was abusing children in his 80s. The only 2 things that stop them are incarceration and death.

And to the people who inaccurately claim that enabling this 2-year window would inundate the court system with copious amounts of claims. I refer you to Marci A. Hamilton’s website for the facts – If you look at the “Relative Success” document and especially at the chart at the bottom, http://sol-reform.com/data/

you can see (1) the civil revival windows that have been opened against individuals AND institutions have not resulted in an avalanche of claims; (2) there are no false claims that have made it through the system; and (3) Georgia’s window has been relatively ineffective so far because it is only capable of being brought against individual perpetrators and aiders and abettors.

Want to know how many victims in Georgia have been able to file litigation against their abusers?

9

That’s 9 in a state of 10 million with AT LEAST 2 million victims. So far the Baptist & Catholic churches, Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Insurance lobby is winning. And Georgians are losing.

Going back to the question I had you ask yourself, what is the logic in these representative not already passing a law like this. What do THEY have to hide or be afraid of? If nothing, then it should pass unanimously, if not, then please give SERIOUS consideration to replacing your current legislator. Unfortunately, that’s the only language most lawmakers understand. Only when told they won’t be reelected will they actually listen to THEIR constituents.

I wish I could expose my abuser through the courts, but it’s too late for me. And because of this, he has gone on to molest, abuse and rape AT LEAST 7 others. Those are just the ones I know of. God and Frankie Wiley are the only 2 who know how many little boys’ childhood’s he’s murdered.

It’s too late for me, but there are approximately 2 million of your fellow Georgians who need your help. The only way this will happen is if YOU, make a stand, demand your representative pass this law or you vote in someone who will. It’s up to you. What will you do? Please don’t wait until it’s happened to one of your children or grandchildren. I beg of you.

Because I promise you, if you don’t, it WILL happen. The facts are the facts. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys WILL BE sexually abused by the age of 18. The only way this changes is with the ability to prosecute predators. The only way that happens is for the laws to be changed. And the only way that happens is when it matters to you. Will it be before or after it happens to someone you know; someone you love.

Don’t let this be another example of putting up a traffic light AFTER a tragedy has happened. You have the ability to do something now. Will you?

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Together We Heal, Inc.


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Southern Baptists, Catholics, Insurance Lobbyists and The Georgia Chamber of Commerce – SHAME ON YOU ALL!!!

While I had hope that House Bill 17 in Georgia, also known as “The Hidden Predator Act”, would be able to finally give some measure of justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse, the truth is, the bill finally signed into law was practically GUTTED.

These are the follow-up stories that get buried on the 24th back page of the Atlanta-Journal or are posted to the online-only section of a WSB-TV site. And this is why politicians and your local churches are getting away with murder of your children’s future…and souls.

But don’t take my word for it, please read what these two investigative journalists discovered.

Channel 2 investigates ‘Hidden Predator’ act’s challenges
By Terah Boyd and Rachel Stockman.

Sadly and tragically, the bottom line is this. The Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics, Insurance lobbyists and The Georgia Chamber of Commerce chose to put money before children.

Nancy Stanley told Stockman. “Anyone that would put money above children’s lives and these heinous acts that are being done to them, it’s just despicable.” And it is that very thing — Despicable!!!

And one more thing, if you think or believe…”well I don’t have anything to worry about because I don’t send my child to a Baptist or Catholic Church so my kids are safe”…think again…

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys in the U.S., NOT JUST BAPTIST OR CATHOLIC, ALL KIDS, will be sexually abused by the age of 18.

It literally breaks my heart that once again victims of this most heinous crime have been re-victimized by the very organizations and people who are supposed to be there to protect them.

What will it take for folks to finally wake up and realize what is happening to the future generations? How many children’s lives must be ruined before REAL action is taken?

Maybe when it happens to YOUR child or a child YOU KNOW, then maybe you’ll understand why I keep shouting this from the rooftops! But by then you’ll find out, there’s not a damned thing you can do about because you waited too late…

But don’t take my word for it…PLEASE, READ FOR YOURSELF…

 

 

 


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Sexual Predators Hiding In Plain Sight

When I first came forward about being sexually abused by a youth minister at Rehoboth Baptist Church, the church where I grew up, I wrote an article called, “Pedophiles Are Like Serial Killers“.

I titled it that because of what an investigator at the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) told me. She said, “David, I believe pedophiles are like serial killers that leave their victims alive.”

I believed it that day and I do more so with each survivor I meet and with every story I hear.

Georgia Representative, Jason Spencer, has sponsored House Bill 17. It’s called “The Hidden Predator Act” and he said this of it in a recent post:

“Child sexual abuse is a secret crime that murders a child’s soul, and child sexual predators will always live among us. One in four girls will become victims, while one in six boys will suffer the same fate. Child sexual predators are often individuals who are close to the child victim, whereby those close relationships make a predator’s identity difficult to expose in the communities where they live.

Predators could be a close family friend, a pastor, a priest, a coach, a teacher, a doctor or even a parent. Many times, the child who is victimized never reports the crime for fear of not being believed by adults. Other times, child victims are so young that they are unaware of what acts are being done to them and lack the verbal capacity to describe the act, leading many victims to act out harshly or engage in other destructive behaviors as they age.

Typically, it is not until well into adulthood that the survivor of the ordeal has the ability to confront their perpetrators. However, in the state of Georgia, by the time survivors of child sexual abuse are ready to seek justice, they are locked out of the court rooms because of our law’s short civil statute of limitations (SOL).”

What Rep. Spencer described is EXACTLY what happened to me and it continues to happen to countless other victims of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). It took me 26 years to admit the shame, guilt and self-blame I felt about what Frankie Wiley did to me, and I have since learned, there are many others he abused, molested and raped. In 2006, I went to the DeKalb County Police Department to file a report and have charges brought against Frankie. I spent an hour pouring out my soul and crying like a child, to which the detective said…

…”Sorry, it’s too late. You waited too long.”

I waited too long?

What on earth does that mean? How does that make sense? How can a child be held to some legal standards for the crimes of an adult who commits atrocities against them. I felt as if I were being raped all over again.

But it’s a tragic fact in Georgia and MOST EVERY STATE in the USA. They are called Statute of Limitation Laws and instead of protecting the victims, in cases of child sex crimes, they serve only to protect predators.

So right now, in a rare moment in time, YOU have the ability to MAKE HISTORY. And not just in Georgia. If you help this bill get passed into law, it will pave the way for all of the other states to do the same thing, to finally bring justice for victims of the most heinous crime that can be committed against a child.

For those of you who might be reading this blog for the first time I want to assure you of something that regular readers already know – I do NOT deal in hyperbole, so please hear me when I say this cannot be overstated – this bill could be the MOST IMPORTANT BILL EVER in the lives of EVERY Georgian 53 or younger who has suffered from the trauma’s associated with Childhood Sexual Abuse or has a loved one who has.

Rep. Spencer went on to say, “Both criminal prosecution and civil actions are significant ways which validate the survivor and expose the truth to the public. With the recent 2012 criminal justice reform proposals removing the criminal SOL on child sexual abuse cases, coupled with the civil reforms in the Georgia “Hidden Predator Act,” child sexual predators will have a difficult time hiding in Georgia.

As a result, the priority will be to extend real justice to victims instead of enabling monsters to continue to prey on societies most vulnerable. Georgia’s children and families need and deserve the Hidden Predator Act. This reform is a stern warning to child sexual predators: don’t tread on Georgia’s children.”

For more than 30 years Frankie has been allowed to go from church to church, city to city, unencumbered by anything that would prevent him from molesting and raping more little boys. All because of an archaic law championed only by those who seek to hide the monsters in their midst for fear of litigation like the Roman Catholic Church is currently undergoing for protecting pedophiles for decades, even centuries.

Please become OUR champion. Become OUR hero and help us catch those who have killed our childhood, our souls and in too many cases, our lives.

Please help bring these monsters to justice and send a message to predators everywhere by getting the “Hidden Predator Act” passed. Send the message that we will NOT allow them to hide behind outdated laws. Let them know they WILL pay for their crimes.

If you are a resident of Georgia or you know someone who is, go here to find their or your Representative.

http://www.house.ga.gov/Representatives/en-US/HouseMembersList.aspx

By simply taking a few minutes to click on a link and send an email or make a call, you CAN make a difference. Not only in our lives, but untold numbers of those who will be protected in the future by your actions today.

Help us to stop the enabling of monsters who continue to prey on societies most vulnerable. As Rep. Spencer said, “Georgia’s children and families need and deserve the Hidden Predator Act.”

The following article was written by Rachel Stockman and posted on the WSB-TV website.

“More than a dozen victims came out in support of a new Georgia bill which would extend the statute of limitations in civil court for child sexual abuse victims to 35 years.

This would allow victims to file claims against their attackers until they are 53 years old. Current law bars claims that are filed after a victim is 23 years old.

“We are here under this dome- seeking justice in House Bill 17 to extend the statute of limitations on civil statute so the courtroom doors can be open for the survivors of child sexual abuse,” said Angela Williams, a rape victim, and founder of Voice Today, an advocacy group. Williams says it often takes years — even decades, for victims to come forward.

The “Hidden Predator Act” would also open more investigative records, and would add a two-year window for revival of claims for victims.
“These folks are locked out of the courts and justice is absolutely denied,” said Rep. Jason Spencer (R – Woodbine). Spencer is sponsoring HB 17.

“Georgia is one of the five worst states in country: if you are over the age of 23 you are out of luck,” said Marci Hamilton, a professor of the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York City.”

Please, PLEASE, PLEASE, do something most of us never do…Call or Email your local representative and let them know they MUST VOTE YES for House Bill 17. And if necessary, let them know in the language only a few understand, tell them if they don’t vote yes, you’ll elect someone who will.

Think of it this way, if your child, or the child of someone who is close to you were the victim of murder and that child’s perpetrator were allowed to walk free for 20-30 years, then one day the government said to you, “If you want, we can finally bring your child’s murderer to justice.”

What would you do?

This is where we are at. You have the ability to make history and save lives. Please don’t turn a blind eye today, not now when we are so close. Do you want to protect children or continue allowing pedophiles to get away with murder? The future is in our hands.

***UPDATE***

Below are the names of the state representatives who have this bill in their Committee. Please call them and request that they MOVE IT OUT OF COMMITTEE and BRING IT TO THE FLOOR FOR A VOTE OF YES IN ITS ORIGINAL LANGUAGE.

Wendell Willard
R – Sandy Springs
District 51

Barry Fleming
R – Harlem
District 121

Stephen Allison
R – Blairsville
District 8

Beth Beskin
R – Atlanta
District 54

Roger Bruce
D – Atlanta
District 61

Johnnie Caldwell, Jr.
R – Thomaston
District 131

Stacey Evans
D – Smyrna
District 42

Mike Jacobs
R – Brookhaven
District 80

LaDawn Jones
D – Atlanta
District 62

Trey Kelley
R – Cedartown
District 16

Ronnie Mabra
D – Fayetteville
District 63

Larry O`Neal
R – Bonaire
District 146

Mary Margaret Oliver
D – Decatur
District 82

Jay Powell
R – Camilla
District 171

Dale Rutledge
R – McDonough
District 109

Pam Stephenson
D – Decatur
District 90

Andrew J. Welch
R – McDonough
District 110

Tom Weldon
R – Ringgold
District 3

Rich Golick
R – Smyrna
District 40

Joe Wilkinson
R – Atlanta
District 52

Original location of Rachel Stockman’s article:

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/new-bill-being-pushed-victims-child-sex-abuse/nj3dD/#__federated=1

Original location of Rep. Spencer’s article:

http://gapundit.com/2014/12/03/rep-jason-spencer-dont-tread-georgias-children-house-bill-17-georgia-hidden-predator-act/

Copyright © 2015 Together We Heal, Inc.