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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Does a Sexual Predator Have the Keys to Your Front Door…

…and do you even know?

What if I told you that the people who own the property where you live knowingly hired a convicted sexual predator and they don’t have to tell you?

What if I told you a convicted sex offender has the keys to your front door and you were powerless to know or stop them from having access?

Unbelievably, I may have just described your home if you rent in Florida, and many other homes across the USA.

Even though in Florida, as in most states, sex offenders are prohibited from living within a certain distance from schools, playgrounds and other places where children gather; what they CAN do, is work where your children play and live, without your knowledge. And that’s not the worst of it.

Under Florida law, owners of rental apartments and homes are NOT required to warn you or your family that an employee at the property is a pedophile or sex offender. Children in Florida have been raped by sex offenders who were literally provided the keys to rental units, where the owner knew that the employee was a convicted sex offender. You and your family have the right to make an informed choice of whether to live in housing that employs convicted
sex offenders.

It is because of the irrational and dangerous law as written, that Linda and I ask for your support of “The Florida Sex Offender Rental Notification Act.”

Below you will find a link. Help us to set Florida Law requiring tenants be notified when property owners employ sex offenders.

http://www.saferenting.org/

I would further expound if I felt necessary, but this is pretty darn self-explanatory to myself and Linda. We hope you feel the same.

No matter where you live, PLEASE SIGN and pass along to EVERYONE you know! Then find out what the law says where you live.

http://www.saferenting.org/

Copyright © 2016 Together We Heal, Inc.

 


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Decisions…Decisions…

This week I received a phone call from a grandmother in turmoil. It was evident in her voice just how scared and desperate she was for help.

 Her dilemma was the same I’ve heard, tragically, too many times before. She said, “my son-in-law is sexually abusing my grandchildren but I have no proof, I just KNOW it.”

So I continued the conversation with her as I had done so many times before, by asking questions.

 

I asked, “Have you seen him touch them inappropriately? Have the children told you anything to alert you? Have you spoken to your daughter, their mother? Have you filed a police report?” And on and on we went.

And again, her responses were like ones I’ve heard countless times. “Yes, I’ve seen him touch one child in a way I knew was wrong and he smiled at me while he did it, knowing there was no way I could say anything. He was a cop so he knows people. They’ve stopped letting me see the kids. My daughter doesn’t believe me.”

As we went further, she said the following statement that made me want to cry. She said, “I’m scared that if I do something about this, if I go to the police, who I don’t think will help anyway, that I will lose the relationship with my daughter. I want to have a relationship with her. What do I do??”

 

So I paused…and I answered her question with a question. I asked her what I’ve asked of parents and guardians, churches and parishes, person after person…

 

What is your priority?

 

What is more important to you; the safety of a child, or a “relationship” with your child built on denial and the potential enabling of a sexual predator?

 

Because it’s more likely than not that one day you will have to choose…what is more important to you, what is more sacred to you. If what you believe in your heart of hearts is true, then you can’t have both if your child chooses to stay with and protect the one harming your grandchildren.

 

And let’s say, worst case scenario, you’re wrong. Then what? Will a child who truly loves you hold it against you forever that you were trying to protect their
child? I don’t believe so. And if so, then the relationship has many more
issues than this one.

 

Now, if you just don’t like your son-in-law and this is some sick, perverted way to drive a wedge, then you will be held accountable for that one day. But if not, if your intentions are pure, as are your concerns, then you really only have one choice.

 

Those babies have NO VOICE, NO DEFENSE, NO ONE TO PROTECT THEM. And you MUST be THEIR defender, THEIR voice. If not you, then who???

 

It’s what we all must ask ourselves…IF NOT US, THEN WHO?!?

 

God how I wish someone who had concerns back in 81 or 82 or 84 or 85 or 91 or 92 or, or, OR (and there were PLENTY of them) would’ve had the courage to stand up and say, what the hell is this man doing with these little boys at his house overnight?!?!

 

So that leaves us with these decisions…decisions…

 

…what will you do?

 

 


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How Good Parents miss Childhood Sexual Abuse & 5 Questions to Change That

I was going through my daily activity of reading fellow advocates and survivors posts, articles, etc., when I came across one of our many online connections, Tonya Prince.

When I read Tonya’s article it reminded me of one we published early on. And I’m thankful I came across her’s because I believe we all need constant reminders about this. We cannot talk often enough with our kids about being safer from sexual predators. And it is up to us as parents to let our kids know we have their backs, that we will believe what they tell us, and that they can tell us ANYTHING, no matter what.

What follows is her article, and then some follow-up of ours with a link I believe is extremely important for parents. Thank you for taking time to read today!

— — —
From TonyaGJPrince:

How do good parents miss childhood sexual abuse? It is tragically simple. By not asking the right questions.

One day my son went to a classmate’s home for a Halloween costume party. When I picked him up a few hours later I could tell by the ear to ear grin on his face that he had a great time. As we were about to leave, I was standing at the door with the child’s father and grandmother.

Both adults were giving me a great report about his behavior. Parent relieved. Thank goodness. No issues. No worries.

But as I drove us home I felt uneasy. Something was off. Then it hit me. I swerved into the next parking lot.
I had been here before. Except I was the child.

When parents ask children whether or not they were good in front of children and adults most children feel pressured to say “yes”.

I could recall when I was being abused by a teen relative, my mother would innocently ask me a few questions as we left a relative’s home.

She would ask, “Did you behave? Did you listen? Were you a good girl?”

What mom didn’t know is that the teen who was living there had threatened me before she had arrived. Sometimes he’d even be standing behind her balling up his fists or giving me mean looks.

Asking me those questions, especially in front of a person who was sexually abusing me reinforced in my young mind that I was supposed to do whatever I was told by the person who was watching me while she was gone.

Because I had said, “yes” at the door I didn’t think that I could change my answer later. To do so would mean I would have to explain why I “lied” when she asked me earlier.

So in that parking lot I asked the correct questions.

Perhaps you may want to consider asking these questions the next time that your child is in someone else’s care. I asked my son privately whether or not he enjoyed himself.

1) How did you spend your time?
2) What was your favorite part of the party?
3) What was the least favorite part?
4) Did you feel safe?
5) Was there anything else you wanted to share?

Try to remember to make these questions a consistent habit. Also, it might be helpful to remind your children that they can always add details about what occurred while they were away from you. My mistake that day was a common one for parents. We think as long as we ask questions, we are on top of things.

The truth is, parents have to ask the right questions, at the right time, under the right circumstances.

This article was written by Tonya GJ Prince and was originally published on WeSurviveAbuse.com.

Be sure to follow her on Twitter @TonyaGJPrince

— — —

When we started “Together We Heal, Inc.”, I wrote an article that goes into detail how parents can talk with their kids about childhood sexual abuse. Please take some time to read and PLEASE share with any and all parents you know. It is a straightforward, 7-step, “How To”. One of the things Tonya mentioned we echo with fervor…we MUST be consistent!

https://togetherweheal.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/how-to-talk-with-your-children-about-sexual-abuse-2/

Our mission is simple: Help parents better protect their children from sexual predators & Assist fellow survivors find their own path toward healing.

If you are a survivor in need of assistance or guidance, please reach out. Help is available. If you are a parent and have questions, please ask. That’s why we exist. Below you’ll find mine and my wife’s contact info so depending on who you’d feel more comfortable talking with, we’re both survivors and we’re both here to help.

David Pittman: dpittman@together-we-heal.org
(754) 234-7975

Linda Pittman: lpittman@together-we-heal.org
(772) 985-9056

As we say every day…Together, We Can Truly Heal!
Copyright © 2015 Together We Heal, Inc.


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In-Studio Interview June 4th  “Helping The Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse”

**UPDATE** Tammi and I were warmly welcomed by Geoffrey Riley and the staff at JPR. The recording of the interview is now available at the link below. 
Listen tomorrow “LIVE” on JPR as we give an in-studio interview, along with CAC Executive Director, Tammi Pitzen. The interview starts at 8:30 a.m. PT (That’s 11:30 am ET) for my folks back home so you don’t even have to wake up early 😉

JeffX, THURSDAY 6/4 @ 8:30: David Pittman began writing a blog about being sexually abused as a teenager. The blog caught on, and led to the formation of a non-profit group, Together We Heal

TWH works to help survivors heal, and to help educate the public about child sexual abuse. 

Those are goals shared with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County.  

Both organizations are part of a child abuse symposium this week in Medford. David Pittman and CAC Executive Director Tammi Pitzen join us in the studio.  

http://ijpr.org/post/helping-survivors-child-abuse

Copyright © 2015 Together We Heal, Inc.


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What is Most Personal is Most Universal : The Never-Ending Nightmare.

*** Trigger Warning ***
I felt my wrists being held down. And then my ankles. I was trying with all of my might to get away, but I couldn’t. Then I saw his face hovering over mine and realized he was going to do this again. I screamed and screamed hoping someone would hear me but no matter how hard I kicked and fought and cried out I couldn’t escape and no one came to help me. I began yelling louder and trying to rip away from his grip around my hands and feet. But he was bigger than me so I couldn’t move. I continued screaming, “NO! NO!”…
and then in an instant I was awake, still screaming, “NO!”
Thankfully my wife Linda was there to calm me and let me know it was ok. She spoke in the sweetest voice, “you’re awake now and I’m here, it’s ok my love.”
I was awake, but I felt far from ok at that moment. It’s times like those that make it seem like I’ll never really be “ok”. Even though I believe I am better now than I have been in previous years, its how I feel at times, still. I know that I am on healing path because of the love of my family and friends. But damn it to hell, how I wish the one that caused this could feel the terror he’s caused. Just for a while, I wish Frankie Wiley would feel the terror he caused to that little boy…and to the untold number of other little boys he sodomized and raped.
My faith teaches me there’s a life after this one, and for those like Frankie, what awaits them is what they deserve. But for me, for most of us, it’s simply not bad enough…
As I told a fellow survivor tonight, the reason I write about what I’m experiencing is with the hope that someone else who is feeling the same way will see they are not alone.
As I once heard stated and finally found attributed…
Copyright © 2015 Together We Heal, Inc.


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Support Group for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

We have some exciting news for survivors living in the Treasure Coast area of South Florida. Starting Thursday, April 16th, we will be holding a monthly support group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The treasure coast is made up of North Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian Counties. This includes cities from Sebastian and Vero in the north, through Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Jensen Beach, Stuart, to Jupiter, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, and Riviera in the south. It’s the area marked in red on the map below. The group will meet the 3rd Thursday of every month.

**UPDATE**  OUR NEXT MEETING IS JUNE 18th 

Here in the USA, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.

Tragically over 90% of those abused had this happen at the hands of someone they knew, trusted or loved. Seldom, if ever, do they report this most heinous of crimes against a child.

If this has happened to you or to someone you know, please understand and pass along this simple message…

…you are not alone. They are not alone.

Help is available right here in your neighborhood.

Please contact “Together We Heal”, “Mary’s Shelter of the Treasure Coast” or “SNAP-Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and we will provide the time, date and location.

Working together, survivors of this crime can have a life of dignity and hope. Together, we can truly heal and provide shelter for one another.

Together We Heal

David Pittman – 754-234-7975

Linda Pittman – 772-985-9056

together-we-heal.org

 

Mary’s Shelter of the Treasure Coast

Kim Martin-Gaudet – 772-223-5000

maryssheltertc.org

SNAP

Barb Dorris – 314-503-0003

snapnetwork.org

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Together We Heal, Inc.

 


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The Bristlecone Project

About a year and half ago I began talking with Dr. David Lisak, founding Board member of the The Bristlecone Project, President and a founding member of the 1in6 Board of Directors and a retired Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts.

As Together We Heal began establishing contacts and building a network of partners within the community of childhood sexual abuse survivors, David Lisak’s name kept coming up. In the course of my conversations with advocates from all over the USA, nothing but great things were said about him and the “project” he was working on.

Shortly before Christmas of 2013, David and I were discussing the potential of TWH, 1in6 and The Bristlecone Project working together. David mentioned he would be in Florida the following year and asked if I would be interested in participating. Not only did I say yes, I was honored and humbled to be given the opportunity. I had read the other men’s stories on the website, and in them I heard my own, and that of so many of our fellow brother survivors.

Rather than attempting to describe this amazing project, I prefer to let David Lisak’s words speak for themselves.

1in6’s latest awareness initiative – “Bristlecone: Portraits of Male Survivors

The Vision: A mosaic of photographs and words that portray the reality and hope of men who were sexually abused as children.

The Focus: The present, not the past. Who each man is. What defines him. What is the focus of his life. Each man will be portrayed through a series of photographs, a brief written portrait, and his own voice.

The Purpose: To portray this reality — who we are now, living meaningful and dignified lives — to the many men who may feel isolated and stigmatized by what happened to them. And to portray this reality to whole communities through the Bristlecone web site and public exhibitions, providing positive, hopeful role models of men who have faced their childhood experiences and who learned to live healthier, happier lives.

Unwanted and abusive sexual experiences in childhood affect men across categories defined by race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, religion and other characteristics and traits. We are committed to making the Bristlecone Project inclusive of men from a broad range of identities. For more information about participating in the Bristlecone project, please click here.

As the numbers of participants increase, the web-based Bristlecone exhibition will be tied in with local exhibitions in public venues featuring men from those communities — “Bristlecone Los Angeles,” “Bristlecone Boston,” “Bristlecone New Mexico,” etc
———-

People often ask, “Why Bristlecone?” So on the site, David explains and shares a poem about the tree…

Bristlecone Pine trees survive and thrive in the harsh conditions of the western Rocky Mountains. Despite thin soils, strong winds, freezing temperatures, and limited water, Bristlecones can live for thousands of years, and are among the oldest living organisms on earth.

BRISTLECONE PINE
If wind were wood it might resemble this
fragility and strength, old bark bleeding amber.
Its living parts grow on away from the dead
as we do in our lesser lives. Endurance,
yes, but also a scarred and twisted beauty
we know the way we know our own carved hearts. ©2013 by David Mason

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I feel so honored and humbled having been asked to be a part of this inspiring project. A project I know will continue letting other men out there see, it’s ok to come forward. It’s ok to share the pain you’ve endured. It’s ok, because now you can know you are NOT alone. You have a brotherhood of men who will be there for you, stand beside you in times of need. We truly know how you feel, what you were forced to endure, but now you have all of us to lean on. And as we often say, Together we can heal.

Please take some time to read not just mine, but all of the other men’s stories. They’ve opened up their hearts and in many cases, their wounds, with the desire of helping others. May 2015 be a year where even more men find hope and healing from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.

http://bristleconeproject.org/men/david-pittman/

Copyright © 2014 Together We Heal, Inc.