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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Helping Parents Educate Their Children about Childhood Sexual Abuse

Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA); Three words no parent ever wants to hear in association with their children. While nowhere near as tragic as hearing its happened to a child of yours or anyone you know, the responsibility of talking with your children about CSA can seem almost as terrifying.

Next to providing counseling for survivors of CSA, one of our greatest endeavors at Together We Heal is helping parents educate their children on how to better protect themselves from sexual predators.

A few months ago I had the good fortune of becoming fellow advocates and friends with a gifted children’s book author named Holly-ann Martin. In addition to the brief bio about Holly-ann, I’m listing three books she wrote that I highly recommend for all parents. Her books address three key issues concerning CSA: Privacy – Protection – Prevention.

Holly-ann is the founder and Managing Director of Safe4Kids. Her experience spans twenty-five years with the Western Australian Department of Education and Training (DET), in a variety of school settings. Her unique approach to child protection education is underpinned by a whole community focus. This focus is centered around providing safer communities for children through engaging school staff, parents and care givers, local police, health workers, Department of Child Protection staff and early years childcare and education workers. Holly-ann’s emphasis centers on developing a language and culture of safety for children and adults alike, improving communication and highlighting and broadening the networks available to children when they are feeling unsafe. The sustained delivery of these programs is the key to creating a positive influence on both individual and community behavior.

It’s NEVER too early to begin educating your children. If you’re a parent, be sure to pick up a copy of each and if you’re not a parent, get copies and give them to your friends that are.

The Parent’s Helping Hand Book (an easy guide for teaching kids protective behaviors)
http://www.safeandhappykids.com.au/product/the-parents-helping-hand-book/

Matilda Learns A Valuable Lesson
http://www.safeandhappykids.com.au/product/matilda-learns-a-valuable-lesson-by-holly-ann-martin/

Hayden-Reece Learns A Valuable Lesson that Private means “Just For You”
http://www.safeandhappykids.com.au/product/hayden-reece-learns-a-valuable-lesson-that-private-means-just-for-you-by-holly-ann-martin/

One update….here are the links for those in the US who want to get the books.

Below are the Amazon links that are more affordable for people in the USA to purchase.

http://www.amazon.com/Matilda-learns-valuable-lesson-Holly-ann/dp/0980529433/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1386038996&sr=8-5&keywords=holly-ann+martin

http://www.amazon.com/Hayden-Reece-learns-valuable-lesson-Private/dp/0980529441/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1386040221&sr=8-3&keywords=holly-ann+martin

http://www.amazon.com/The-Parents-Helping-Hand-Book/dp/0980324092/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386040270&sr=8-1&keywords=holly-ann+martin

Copyright © 2013 Together We Heal


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Southern Baptists, like Catholic Church are protecting Pedophiles.

For sometime now I have felt like a “voice in the wilderness” when it comes to exposing the childhood sexual abuse occurring within the confines of the Southern Baptist Church. Since my abuse happened at the hands of a youth minister at a prominent SBC church in suburban Atlanta, I have received nothing but contempt and distain from those in power within the SBC. This man, who admitted to a pastor and deacon that he sexually abused me just keeps getting moved from church to church…sound familiar? And I am not is only victim. 6 others have come forward telling their own story of abuse. These are just the boys I KNOW about, ages ranging from 9 to 15 at the time the abuse occurred. Only God and Frankie know how many little boys he’s actually molested, abused and raped.

His name is Frankie Wiley and currently acts as the “Praise Leader” at Trinity Baptist Church in Ashburn, GA. All I get from the SBC, is that they “will pray for me”, but no one seems to be willing to act on KNOWN pedophiles using their facilities as a hunting ground for new victims. Even the pastor of Trinity, Rodney Brown, knows the truth and refuses to do anything about it. He actually called me and told me “I was a bad person for causing a split in HIS church.” To which I replied, he is the one giving a known pedophile access to children. And the last time I checked, it’s not HIS church, the church is the body of believers, not the man standing in the pulpit. After which, he has given no reply.

The constant rhetoric I am told is that, “each church is autonomous”. The problem with this fallacy is that if each so-called autonomous church doesn’t pay the SBC a certain amount of money, they are not allowed to send “Messengers” (or delegates if you think of it in political terms) to the national convention to vote on issues and help create the platform with which the SBC uses to have guidelines that “rule” over each church. Sound “autonomous” to you?

It has been clear to me for sometime now, and it looks like others are recognizing that the SBC is no better than the Catholic Church when it comes to covering up the pedophiles hiding under the cloak of ministry. Below you will find an article that shows exactly what I’ve been saying for years.

As we have seen in recent news, no religious organization is immune. Childhood sexual abuse occurs in churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, Boy Scouts, etc. We have got to stand up for these children who aren’t able to speak up for themselves. Help us help these children. Demand the immediate removal of known child molesters like Frankie Wiley.

http://www.abpnews.com/culture/social-issues/item/8413-blog-shines-light-on-abuse-in-sbc#.UXHzHGt5mK2


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The new Pope MUST work to Stop and Prevent Child Abuse within his church

Please read and take to heart…how many more children will you allow to be defiled before you take a stand?


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Together We Heal as Guest Blog On Rachel Grant Coaching – Part 2

Rachel Grant asked us to do a guest blog and our first two weeks are going to be a more thorough discussion of Abuse and Addiction. This is part two. Please go to the link to her site, read and share with us your thoughts. We want to thank Rachel for the opportunity to reach even more survivors and hopefully help them on their journey of healing.

http://rachelgrantcoaching.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-abused-addict-dulling-pain.html

Thank you all for your support of survivors everywhere.

David


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Healing Does Occur – Cale Harbour’s Story

From the FB page of Cale Harbour – He has asked that I post his story and to help “Together We Heal” as it helps others. Please take time to read his story of hope and healing.

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I keep wondering how to start this story. Earlier this year, my good friend David Pittman posted the remarkable story of his struggle being a victim of child sexual abuse. David and I have been good friends for many years and I want to show my support for the work he is doing. This strikes close to me because I too am a victim of this crime and by the same person that abused David. In actuality I was victimized two different times. The first occurrence was an instructor at a summer reading program. The other was a youth minister who started out counseling me to get over the first trauma. The specific details are no longer important. Fortunately, I was not left with severe trauma from these events. However, dealing with the emotions and putting everything into perspective took some time.

David summed up the practices of child predators quite well. They start with small remarks, gestures, comments, or questions. Then some touching and assurances that everything is fine. The interaction slowly progresses and becomes more intimate. This doesn’t happen all at once. It is a detailed, thought out strategy in order to slowly break down the defenses until they can manipulate the child into satisfying their desires.

I never thought about sharing this publically until recently. I was fortunate enough to marry a wonderful woman who served as the support I needed to finish healing and move forward. For me, this part of my life has very little impact on me today. However, in reading not only David Pittman’s story but also all the other responses to his story, it is obvious that this type of personal violation can leave scars and wounds that never truly heal. It is for this reason that I felt like sharing my past as a sign that this can be overcome. There is healing and life can move forward. To anyone who has suffered from this I want to say “Healing does occur”. The Bible tells us in Joel 2:25 that He can make up for the time the ‘Locusts’ have eaten away.

For everyone who reads this, please take a look at David Pittman’s various sites for “Together We Heal”.

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

http://www.causes.com/causes/640477-together-we-heal – Join the TWH Cause

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

This is a group David started to be able to provide counseling and support to survivors who are in need. He can use all the support we can give.


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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